Test Drive Unlimited 2 First Look

This racing sequel includes some of the greatest pleasures in life: a beautiful island paradise, breathtaking sunsets, luxurious beach homes, and sexy cars.

The original Test Drive Unlimited was a massive, open, online racing game that let you cruise around the magnificent island of O'ahu and challenge other players at a whim through its seamless online integration. The goal of the game was to earn money to purchase the most luxurious (and expensive) cars in the world, and the sequel's premise pretty much follows the same idea. However, this time, the game has a new narrative and you start off on the gorgeous Mediterranean island of Ibiza. We sat in on an hour-long demo of Test Drive Unlimited 2 with senior producer Nour Polloni, who went over several new features as we drooled over the sweet cars that will likely only exist for us in a virtual world.

Polloni began the presentation by highlighting some of the key features of Test Drive Unlimited 2. You can now progress through the game through four different means: competition, social, discovery or collection. The social aspect of the game seems to be a huge focus this time around. Like other massive online games, you can now form a club (similar to a guild or clan), as well as work with others to earn money and build up your reputation. By being active in a club and making friends, you'll increase your social level, which will also go toward raising your global progression. Taking on challenges or creating them will increase your competition level. Now, you'll also be rewarded for wandering off the beaten path, as well as exploring every nook and cranny of the 380-square-km. island. Like a treasure hunt, if you come across car wrecks, you can salvage them and build your own car that won't be available to a dealer anywhere. It looks like regardless of what you decide to do with your time, you'll earn some kind of reward and be continuously working toward your raising your level.

To enhance your experience of admiring or shopping for a car, you can wander around garages, lobbies, and dealerships with your customizable avatar. Instead of navigating through menus, you can now sit and chat with friends in a car at the dealership as you debate the vehicle's features or pick the colors from the car manufacturer's catalog. The shimmer of metallic paint was noticeable as we walked around a bright blue Audi TT RS and were told that the definition in the modeling had been increased. For example, you can see all the minute details, from more refined lines down to the texture of the leather and the stitching within the car. For now, we're only able to reveal the cars that will be in the game, including: Gumpert Apollo Sport, Dodge Viper SRT10, Dodge Charger SRT8, Aston Martin DBS, Ford Mustang GT, Koenigsegg CCXR Edition, and the Audi TT RS Roadster. There were several other high-end cars that we got a chance to look at, but the developers are saving that information for another time.

Based on community feedback, the developers added a day-night cycle so that you can cruise around at night or sit back in your convertible and watch the sunrise from the coast. The cycle takes two-and-a-half hours, so that if you play at the same time every day, you'll be experiencing a different time of day in the game. The developers drove the TT out along the deserted but sandy beach while the waves lapped calmly along the shore and just sat back to admire the golden glow of the sky as the sun dipped beneath the horizon. Now, if only all of this were real. Snapping us back to reality, we zoomed out to view the island from a satellite view and saw that the surrounding sea has been reworked. You can now see the coral reefs and sea depth, as well as the varied landscape that exists on Ibiza. The weather can also change, so it's one thing to be cruising with the top down on a sunny day; it'll be a little more difficult having to navigate through a thunderstorm. Now that vehicle damage has been added, it'll cost money to fix the cosmetic wounds, so tearing across the fields in your Gumpert Apollo may not be such a good idea.

Earn rewards for just cruisin'.

There is 930 km. of road, and 310 km. of it are off-road trails that are indicated by yellow lines when you zoom out of your map, which could take you about 20 hours if you wanted to drive over all of it. We were told that there will be 4x4 cars to handle this kind of terrain, so if you want to go wild with the drifting and skidding, you'll earn money for showing off your skills--just try not to hit anything. Minor damage will show in the form of scratches and can reach a point where the body parts loosen up. All of this is just for looks however, so it won't affect your driving (just your wallet). Dirt will get on your car if you spend a lot of time in the backcountry, but you can always wait for the weather to change to get a free car wash.

Launching an instant challenge is faster now, and there are dozens of multiplayer challenges that we saw on the map, but we weren't given any details about them. You can still create your own challenge with the editor, choose the type of race that you want, mark off your start/finish line, and then drive the challenge to give it a reference time to beat. Your challenge is posted to the gambling hall where other players can pay the fee you set and try to earn your reward. Other online players will drop in or drop out of your game, and you can filter the kinds of drivers you want to see. For example, you can choose just to have your friends or Aston Martin owners. Your avatar isn't the only thing that represents your personality online. To show how tacky you can really be, you can swing by the sticker and car paint shop to customize your vehicle by slapping on as many decals or layers of paint as you like.

Join a club and get access to exclusive cars like the Apollo.

To give players a sense of community, you can create or join a racing club where everyone will band together to try to build the reputation of that club and earn money (or donate) for upgrades. The president is responsible for managing the club, but responsibilities can be assigned to other members. You can challenge other clubs, as well as take on internal challenges between members. While you wait on the street for your competitors to show up, you can walk around and chat with your opponents in the virtual lobby instead of waiting on a menu screen. There are three upgrades to a club, which will give you and up to 32 members access to exclusive cars (like the Gumbert), as well as swanky club houses. Only one member can drive the club-exclusive car at any given time, so if you see one on the road, you'll know that the member is part of a club that has earned one of its upgrades. You can only be a part of one club at a time, so pick wisely.

The whole point of the game is to go from rags to riches, and in order to be able to collect all 208 cars, you need to have the space the house them. There are 100 different homes you can possess and many have breathtaking vistas or even a yacht. You can customize the furniture and tiling in your home, as well as invite friends over at any given moment. To see the stats and achievements of other players, each individual has a MyLife profile where you can take a photo of you avatar, as well as filter the achievements you want shown on your profile.

One of the last things we were shown was one of the game's cooperative modes. You can have a friend jump in a car with you and give you directions to his or her house. Your friend can bring up icons to direct you or be your GPS through voice chat. This allows the other player to just take the passenger seat and cruise around with you. We ended our demo by heading over to another player's yacht--the most expensive house you can buy--where we promptly changed into our bathing suits and jumped into the Jacuzzi. Details were vague, but we were told there were advantages to owning such a place and that it would offer "activities."

Explore the beautiful island of Ibiza, or just park and bask in the sun.

There was a lot that was shown in the course of an hour, as well as plenty of other features that have yet to be revealed, and we'd like to play the game for ourselves to see how everything handles. The game looks great so far and was running fairly smoothly for the most part. Another important aspect of the game has to do with the airport; as you progress through the game, you'll eventually gain access to the Ibiza airport. From there, you can then take a plane (and your car) to O'ahu and drive around that island all over again. The graphics have been redone and another 600 km. of asphalt, as well as off-road trails, have been added. There will also be new missions and side missions, so those who spent a lot of time with the first game should have enough reason to head back. Polloni stressed that Eden Games is paying close attention to the community feedback and there are already plans to have downloadable content. Motorcycles won't be available on day one, but they are something the developers intend to include.

The next time we'll see Test Drive Unlimited 2 will be at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, so be sure to stay tuned for more information as soon as it becomes available. The game is scheduled to be released this fall on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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116 comments
circus2050
circus2050

bikes are gone,only two radio channels and the way the car reacts in an impact with the environment is not that good.The rest is great

wpbsmoka
wpbsmoka

They better have motorcycles right away like the last one... I use to roll in a motorcycle club, we'd all go stuntin downtown lol it was tight

Golevka
Golevka

Aside from Uncharted, TDU is my favourite series this gen.

nolubez
nolubez

Any word on car upgrades? Are they actually going to allow real car part upgrades and tuning? Or are we again stuck with a 3 tier upgrade system with no tuning? I wish we could just take Forza's car/upgrade system and meld it with the real world experience of TDU. :( Maybe someday.

guile_charlie
guile_charlie

@ vongroove. Thank you so much for your insightful and very (Very) logical advise to all us gamers, here. Now I realize instead of spending 50 bucks on a game that I can have fun with for hours on end offline or even with thousands of other gamers online, I should basically bankrupt myself by taking a vacation I have no time for to buy cars I can't afford whatsoever! Thanks for letting me know that having a full-time job with fully-paid vision, dental and medical and going to school when I can is really not a life at all JUST because I happen to also play video games online. I should have realized that years ago!

vongroove
vongroove

Right! now you go ONLINE to meet up with people? Why not go to Ibiza and meet up with real people? Offline I can understand as you can drive exotic cars but online? join a car club and follow them around ffs... get out and get a life!!!

IceQBkid
IceQBkid

For those of u wandering in TDU1 u CAN actually have ur own music in the game as a radio station in mp3 format as well. Im pretty sure they're gonna do that in TDU2 as well

Magnator
Magnator

I love racing games where you can just drive by and enjoy the view like this and NFS Underground 2. I wish they'll make an end-user editor for new maps creation. Imagine hundreds of maps to download. Unlimited driving fun! :) @renkram nice idea. I usually mute music, alt+tab and turn it on my winamp player.

micmalpdf
micmalpdf

On Test Drive I could play songs I wanted by loading them into Windows Media Player and running that in the background. As for the new game there's a golden opportunity for connecting the game to Apple's iTunes store for your own personal in car audio system. I'm thinking Ministry of Sound would be great.

renknram
renknram

If only you could upload your mp3 tracks onto the car audio system, and cruise to your own grooves.

Jae69G
Jae69G

The first was real fun,just driving around bumping into new players then taking off together having a right laugh,cant wait for this one.

01-cannon-mpc
01-cannon-mpc

Omg this game is a must have. We get to party, drive, hang out and race on Ibiza AND Hawai! Thats so cool.

Liam_Eibach
Liam_Eibach

@JeffreyCor, I agree. I just hope the online experience is better then Midnight Club: Las Angeles. With that aside, I am extremely excited for this release.

Lov3IsPAiN
Lov3IsPAiN

TDU is great . Can't wait for this one .

haxeru
haxeru

Well, awesome racing game... My favorite "Free Styler Driver"

Brennios
Brennios

This looks awsome I have the first one and I liked it. But not really a customizable car game..

JeffreyCor
JeffreyCor

Test Drive was always great, but don't need another MMO. Should make good games again like they used to and not depend on MP to make a game work.

payback_56
payback_56

This game will prob. make it out before GT5 does! lol 2 Test drive unlimted games, 2 Forza games, and who knows how many Need for speed games, while ps3 owners have been waiting for GT5...lol

Ruslan2993
Ruslan2993

Test drive unlimited is (IMHO) really the best arcade online racing game ever. Lets see what new will be in this part

Carton_of_milk
Carton_of_milk

The first one is one of my favorite game of all time, no less *and as a rule i don't even like driving games), and this looks like this one will be improving things in all the right spots so i'm definitely excited. AND OHAHU IS BACK TOO. Awesome.

spectrethered
spectrethered

I am really excited about this game!!! I loved the first one for just the option of cruising the whole island if I want to. Damn makes me want to go back and play the first again!

amidomaru
amidomaru

When i see title TEST DRIVE, it reminds me of TEST DRIVE 5 on ps1, which i enjoyed very much

M4ajid
M4ajid

I loved the first one and if this works well with Eyefinity it would be a deal breaker and the best racer on the market imo

Wam11
Wam11

wow i hope u can customize ur avatar like crazy! and the part where you can go to ur friends house is pretty sweet. im very excited to burst my TDU cherry with this game! the club thing sounds pretty sweet too. very kool

BallisstiXXX
BallisstiXXX

What most people don't seem to notice is that Tdu's influence on open world gamepay has rubed off on a wide scale. Just look at Midnight Club Los Angeles, if you played Tdu you would notice the similarities instantly! This is true for many other recent racers out there that came out after Tdu. I can't wait to see what kind of new features this will bring to the genre.

gohoanq
gohoanq

MAN I want this game NOWWWWWW o_o i LOVED the first game.. this one sounds 10x better in every way lol

xtremeflem2day
xtremeflem2day

The description below the article said "This racing sequel includes some of the greatest pleasures in life: a beautiful island paradise, breathtaking sunsets, luxurious beach homes, and sexy cars." For the "The greatest pleasures in life" they forgot video games and sex.

mechberg
mechberg

Probably my most anticipated game of 2010 right here.

sirbargearse
sirbargearse

This was just a cruisey, cool and challenging game to play. But it wasn't the fact it had a whole freakin' island to race on that made it such a cool game but it was the online aspect. The multiplayer mode in this was simply awesome. You felt like you were racing in a cool community and as far as I'm concerned... if they can even come even somewhat close to the original in the online mode again then... I'M IN!

PredatorRules
PredatorRules

long cruises with friends online on huge Island is the best!

patriotsnake171
patriotsnake171

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

reinventurexit
reinventurexit

I can't wait to get this game! these extra non race elements as DeadManRollin said are what the gamers need. IMO it counters the tediousness and repetitiveness of racing games.

paganarh
paganarh

Really loved the first game. I have never played a car game so long as I did TDU. Here's hoping that second is even better :)

reinventurexit
reinventurexit

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

mightEone
mightEone

The first game was $40 and you guys act like it was horrible. You spend more money going out to eat or at the theater than that! For $40 it def was a good game. Me and friends would get in our high performance cars and just cruise the island and drift off eachother going 240 lol. Good times, good times. Will keep my eye on this little game. I do hope they spruce up the driving. Not so much straight but when you came to a curve you either get lucky and drift or slide off the cliff. And what was up with traffic suddenly swurving over in front of you? I'm talking about traffic going the other way. Man, vans and all kinds of cars would spontanously swurve into me I'm like wtf. haha

DeadManRollin
DeadManRollin

Seems like the developer is adding more "non-race" elements than than the game needs. They should emphasize more on the core game. Interesting concept, though. Social networking, the sims and car races at the same time!

junor69
junor69

1st one was lots of fun this one looks even batter

arbdeezak
arbdeezak

The interviewee reminds me of a telemarketer. Doesn't seem to have much of a concept about the core game, just wants to regurgitate features.

violian
violian

I never liked the 1st one. The racing mechanics were just off - way too arcade-like and it felt like the cars were "floating" on the road. But it was a nice game to kinda just play-around and explore the nice island. I'll probably eventually get part 2 when it drops to $30 because I'm not serious about buying it, just as Test Drive isn't a seriously developed game.

gamer082009
gamer082009

I played a little bit of Part 1 and thought it was a good game. Hopefully TD2 will take the series further.

suspenser
suspenser

Hopefully it's less of a fashion dress-up barbie game and more of a racer this time around.. The first game did absolutely nothing for me.

NicAgent
NicAgent

Make it a racing simulator or at least something close to it... and I'll consider pre-ordering.

neil108
neil108

I liked the first test drive unlimited. It was a good game, but it certainly didn't feel like an MMO at all. The original game was kind of glitchy and laggy as well. Is there going to be a beta that will start i'd definitely test it out :)