Test Drive Preview
The Test Drive series fires up on the PlayStation 2.
Infogrames recently stopped by to give us a look at the PlayStation 2 version of the latest entry in the Test Drive series. Simply called Test Drive, the game is being developed by The Pitbull Syndicate and aims to reinvigorate the Test Drive series with a graphical face-lift and tweaked gameplay. The early build of the game we played was coming along nicely, featuring solid graphics and handling.
You'll initially find four main modes the game: quick race, single race, multiplayer, and story. Quick race and single race throw you into the action for a few laps and let you familiarize yourself with any of the game's open tracks. Multiplayer is a two-player split-screen race that lets you and a friend find out who the best driver is on any available track. Story mode is the game's single-player game, and it pits you against other characters in an underground racing league. Playing through story mode will allow you to unlock cars and tracks in the game. You'll find a wide range of cars in the game, including sports cars such as the Dodge Viper GTS, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Jaguar XK-R, Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, Lotus Esprit V8, and Nissan Skyline and muscle cars such as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Plymouth 'Cuda, and Dodge '69 Charger. The game's various tracks will be set throughout London, San Francisco, Monaco, and Tokyo. In addition to unlocking tracks and cars, you'll be able to unlock additional racing modes, such as cop chase.
Graphically, the game is making the most out of the PlayStation 2 hardware. Pitbull's custom graphics engine, which was written in Assembly, is designed to churn out a solid amount of eye candy. The game's huge environments will be filled with traffic and pedestrians, and they'll feature multiple paths, providing you with the freedom to find your own way to the finish. Weather effects such as fog and rain will be present, as will environment mapping on your car. The frame rate in the early build we played wasn't entirely stable yet--it varied between 30 and 60 frames per second, but it hovered in the 60 range for long stretches, which gave us hope that the final build will be solid in that respect. The control in the game was still being tuned but was fairly responsive. The open-ended routes through the levels offered a lot to explore as we made our way to the finish. An onscreen meter warned of nearby police and allowed us to avoid them most of the time.
So far, Test Drive is looking good. Pitbull seems like it has solid handle on the PS2 hardware. It will be interesting to see the game take shape as its March release approaches. Look for more on the game soon.
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