Monday, August 14, 2006

Sneak Peek: Test Driver Unlimited

What kind of gaming guy would I be if I had some inside info and didn't share it? Since I recently received a couple of games before their release date, I had some time to try them out and see if they'll be worth buying.

Today I'll cover a Beta test Atari's "Test Drive Unlimited". On Wednesday I'll discuss a final PS2 version "Madden '07".

Test Drive Unlimited - I received the Beta from Atari almost 2 weeks ago but haven't had time to play it because my son was hogging my PS2 with "Guitar Hero". But once I finally got to it, I was totally impressed.

I don't usually get into racing games, I get tired of driving the same courses over and over. The great thing about "TDU" is that its much more open ended than a regular racer. You can just drive around (the game is set on the Hawaiian island of Oahu) and challenge drivers whenever you want. There are check points you have to reach but how you get there is totally up to you. When you reach a certain level in the game, you can even create your own challenges.

Without giving too much away (I will have to review this game eventually after all) the game looks good and the controls feel pretty smooth. The cars handle more arcadey than sim. "TDU" is more "Need for Speed" than "Gran Turismo", which is a good thing for a non-gearhead like myself.

The auto selection is pretty deep with at least 125 licensed vehicles to choose from (Mercedes, Shelby, Aston Martin, Saleen and Jaguar are just a few) and there are motorcycles as well. The huge island (more than 1,000 miles to drive) will keep you from seeing the same sites too frequently.

While its hard to make a recommendation from just a Beta test, I'd have to say the game looks pretty good so far. If the ambitious online mode truly comes through, this game will have a lot to offer even the most casual racing fan.

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