Test Drive Unlimited 2 – Review

Title   Test Drive Unlimited 2
Developer  Eden Games
Publisher  Atari
Platform  Xbox 360, Windows PC, Playstation 3
Genre  Driving Simulator, Motor Racing, Role-playing Game
Release Date  11th February 2011

Way back in 2006, one of the first major racing franchises to come into the then “next gen” of the Xbox 360 was Test Drive. Around seemingly forever as a series, Test Drive Unlimited was the ninth entry in the franchise, and had a lot of new ideas that at the time seemed revolutionary. Even today, almost five years on, the game is unique in its genre in many respects which, considering the rampant feature plagiarism in gaming generally and in the racing genre specifically, seems incredible.

I was a big fan of Test Drive Unlimited. I’ve made no secret of that ever since the long-awaited sequel was first announced last year, taking every opportunity to get excited and to mention the upcoming sequel, convinced that what Eden Games had achieved with their last effort could only be expanded upon, especially with the abnormally long interval between games.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 starts out with something that was missing from the previous game; a storyline. Your character is a valet for a fancy hotel on the island of Ibiza, who in the space of about two minutes manages to get fired from his or her position and immediately offered the chance to take part in his/her dream job of racing in the fictional “Solar Crown”; a televised tournament between the best drivers on the island. One of them just put himself in hospital, and you’re his last-gasp replacement. It sounds unlikely and it is, especially since the woman who insisted you be fired from the hotel for being a useless valet is the same woman to recruit you for the tournament. Oh, and she’s also the presenter of the TV show, and one of the racers too, whose father is the hotel owner you worked for, the tournament’s sponsor, the show’s producer, and also one of the racers. To call the story improbable is a bit of an understatement, and ultimately it serves as an irritant and a distraction from the main point of the game; driving very quickly around sunny islands in unattainably expensive cars.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 is a sandbox driving game that allows you to drive all over full sized representations of Ibiza and the Hawaiian island of Oahu. You buy your own cars, you buy houses to keep your cars at when you’re not driving them, and you enter competitions and do errands in order to fund this expensive petrol-head lifestyle. Competitions, and also cars, are divided into eleven different classes; seven of which are of the asphalt racing category, and two each of classic motors and off-road vehicles. Motorcycles, which were in the previous game, are nowhere to be seen. There are also now driving schools dotted around the game world where you acquire licenses for each class, allowing you to enter competitions at that level; you can buy any car of any class at any time however, irrespective of your licenses, provided you have the cash and a space in one of your garages. This is fairly incongruous, as you’d imagine that the licenses are a legal requirement within the setting of the game world, but instead seem there to force you to play several tutorials throughout the game, and again, serve as little more than an irritant.

Once you’ve got the right type of vehicle and the relevant license, competitions are presented as regional heats, each composed of six or more smaller events. These in turn lead to regional finals. There is a decent mix of event types, from the standard races and time trials to more unconventional speed trap courses (race around from speed trap to speed trap as fast as you can and try to get the highest average speed – an unlikely reminder of the original intention of speed cameras before they were turned to simply generating money), eliminator courses, and head to head duels. Each competition awards money for a podium place in an event, and a significantly larger prize fund for winning the overall competition. Unfortunately, whilst individual events can be raced over to acquire extra cash, you can only win the competition prize once.

In addition to competitions, your character can take on freelance driving work. This is a good way of making money, so long as you can stand the people you’re working for, all of whom Eden seems to have gone out of their way to make as thoroughly obnoxious and hateful as possible. Jobs range from delivering someone’s supercar to a garage for servicing, to acting as a glorified taxi service for lost supermodels, impatient businessmen and carsick prostitutes, to going joyriding with some drunken knobhead who thinks that riding passenger whilst you race aimlessly and recklessly around at top speed is a grand way to spend the day.

All of the “clients” in the game are unbearably infuriating. The businessmen scream at you to go faster and how they just CAN’T miss their meeting (they can, and often do, when I decide to park a street away from the end point and watch the remaining time run down in a fit of pique). Endlessly. The moment they get in the car they start shouting FASTER! at you before you even get the chance to start the car’s ignition. Should you slow to avoid a collision, they berate you to go faster again, but if you do and crash in the process then they bitch about that too. The lost supermodels expect you to take them miles and miles to their homes, in return for very small compensation and a lifeless rictus grin, reducing you to a kind of overpriced taxi service. And they start screaming full on in your ears if you so much as leave the road. The hookers (and I only assume that they are prostitutes from their being on street corners and wearing clothing and make up that would give Julia Roberts pause) are even more fun insofar as if you drive too fast, bump something, or just touch your brakes ever they start projectile vomiting inside your two million dollar Bugatti Veyron. As for the adrenaline junkies and speed freaks… they say they want you to give them an exciting time, but you try crashing and see them jump out of your car in a hurry. Lying bastards.

The best of a bad bunch are the ones who want you to deliver their cars for “servicing”. These are simply rude to you by continuing to talk on their mobile phones whilst waving you off dismissively. When you reach your objective they call you somehow, at exactly that moment, to say simply “thank you” and then hang up. Where the delivery jobs get weird however is that you’re meant to be taking these vehicles for repairs and yet the delivery point is almost always out in the middle of nowhere at the side of an abandoned B road. I’ve formulated my own theory about this; you probably don’t want to get too pissy about how they treat you because they’re probably members of the Albanian mafia, and you’re moving their stolen cars around for them prior to their being shipped out of the country. Short of being psychic, they know precisely when you arrive seemingly in the middle of nowhere because a large bald man with a sniper rifle is watching you from behind a tree.

Somehow Eden Games have managed to create an entire game world populated with vacuous, banal, witless, charmless, disgusting and worthless avatars of humanity. I can’t tell if they’re actually promoting this kind of lifestyle, or forcing a puritanically moral point down the player’s throat with all the subtlety of Clare Balding making hints about your dental situation. If ever there was a stronger argument for the wholesale slaughter of an entire generation of rich and pointless yuppie bastards, Test Drive Unlimited 2 would be an extremely close second. The only character who is remotely relatable in the game is the hotel owning, tournament sponsoring, middle-aged racer who fired you from your job at the start. His arguments with his daughter and the other racers about how they’re pointless leeches who can only call themselves racers because their daddies bought them expensive sports cars were almost identical to my own thoughts by this point in the game. Unfortunately, this guy is presented ostensibly as the game’s villain. Being evil occasionally seems to come with certain benefits though, as aside from overbearing arrogance the guy has fewer irredeemable qualities than literally anyone else in the game.

The problems run deeper than the story and the characters. The handling of almost every car in the game is horrendous, going from twitchy and over-sensitive one moment to feeling like you’re driving in a world that uses treacle for air the next. Every car too feels just as fast as every other car, regardless of whether you’re in a 1960s vintage Jaguar or a state-of-the-art Mercedes McLaren SLR. Which is far too fast to be driven safely. The best car in the game, and I really do mean the best car in the entire game, is one of the three presented to you right at the start as the most basic vehicles; the Lancia Delta. It corners sharper than anything else, it manages 130 miles an hour after some tuning, and it isn’t impossible to drive in quite the same way everything else is. It’s even alright on dirt tracks. You can use it for the entire game apart from the category specific competitions outside of its class. And should you decide not to, you’re making a massive mistake.

The much touted inclusion of player vehicle damage in this game (one of the more odd features of the original Test Drive Unlimited was that other cars could be smashed up, but not your own because of the terms of the licensing agreement with the various car manufacturers), is completely bunk, because whilst it is possible to make your car look like it just took part in a hundred lap demolition derby, it has zero effect on how the car performs. It’s entirely cosmetic. You can roll your car onto its roof and slide down a mountain and into the sea, and it won’t do a damned thing except knock your front and rear bumper off and make a mess of the paintwork. You won’t so much as crack the windscreen or lose a wing mirror, and the car will happily drive away at full speed without so much as stubbornly taking an extra second to start the engine.

The game world is scattered seemingly at random with various locations that you’ll need to visit before you’re through; car dealerships, tuning shops, estate agents, purchasable properties, and the airport that allows you to travel between the two islands once you meet the requirements. There are also locations that really don’t matter much; clothes shops, hairdressers, plastic surgery clinics, and re-spray shops. Oh, and car washes. For $1,500 you can clean your car. Why? Every time you enter a shop or one of your houses, any damage or dirt on your car magically disappears. Little elves, or perhaps pixies, would appear to whisk your car away and give it a full going over until it gleams like it never left the showroom forecourt, and they do it so fast that you can walk in and out of a shop immediately and your car is restored. So the inclusion of car washes, with a frankly ludicrous price tag, is so anachronistic that simply thinking about it as I write this makes my head want to explode and spray my monitor with gore and ichor.

More to the point however, you have to explore to locate all of these shops. The islands in the game are modelled after detailed satellite images of the real world islands, and presented in a 1:1 size ratio, but you’re expected to trawl thousands of miles of tarmac and even dirt track to find places that are vital to your completion of the game. The same was true of the first game, but at least then you got a fold-out road atlas with the location of every significant building on it included in the game’s case. In this game, you don’t get a map, and you have not just the one island but two. I spent about two whole days meticulously mapping the island for myself, road by road. This is not hyperbole. It is however a tale I shall be forced to relate to a mental health practitioner at some point in the future when I am institutionalised for trying to wage war against the world’s supply of wealthy Westernised under 30s. How anybody else is supposed to cope, because I know for a fact that not everyone has my more obsessive compulsively logical approach to such obstacles, I have not a clue.

Speaking of road mapping, if you were as big a fan of the first game as I was and spent as much time playing it and driving around for the sheer pleasure of it as I did, you’ll have virtually memorised large chunks of Oahu, the Hawaiian island that featured in the game and which reappears in this game.  This is a problem. Because the two versions of Oahu may be the same shape and share the same topographical features like mountains and so on, but there the similarity ends. In a shocking lack of continuity, nearly all of the roads are different. Supposedly there are changes to update the island due to the time difference between the games, but this seems to suggest that every road and every building on a 40 mile square island is demolished and rebuilt to a totally different plan at least every five years. How they accomplish this with everything seemingly whole and complete with no sign of road works or construction going on, I don’t know, but they might want to share their secret with the rest of the planet as they’re clearly the Gods of civil engineering, whose pantheon is redesigned and made over just because they will it any time they get bored of altering Hawaii’s road network. We Brits need never again be stuck in gridlocked traffic jams watching fat skinheads in fluorescent jackets drinking tea, if only they would share their mighty knowledge.

TDU2 sees the return of the MOOR concept from Test Drive Unlimited. This is a perpetually online game world where all of the people playing the game show up in each other’s game and are able to interact, in theory. It was optional in Test Drive Unlimited, but the only way around it in Unlimited 2 is to pull your network cable out of your console, or on the Xbox, cancel your Gold Live account. And you may well want to opt out. The games servers are frequently overloaded (the game was unplayable for the first week of its release as a result), and the game will not load if it detects an internet connection and can’t connect to the server. There is no time-out, no error messages, no option to play offline… in fact, the first few times it happened, I was convinced my game was freezing on me and that my save file had corrupted or something. It turns the game into quite literally the world’s most expensive screen saver, until you either finally connect, or rage quit, or yank your network cable out. The night of the game’s UK release I was waiting for six hours to connect before I finally fell asleep reading a book and trying to ignore my ever mounting rage, and when I woke up it still hadn’t managed to get onto the server. I finally managed to connect at 6am, presumably when everyone in America got sick of trying to play it and went to bed, and just before the rest of Europe woke up and began the process of hammering the bloody thing all over again.

I’d love to talk about the online features in depth, but those times I have connected to the game, I’ve ran smack into other obstacles. The cops and robbers mode where players nearby to someone who’s crashed a few times too many are recruited to stop them has locked my console up. The sheer epic nature of the lag renders racing impossible, and even makes just driving around trying to play by yourself incredibly difficult. And I’d love to talk here about the Club feature, but that operates on another server again to the main one and at time of writing that is still entirely offline, eleven full days after the US release and nine days since the European and UK release.

On to how the game looks. Well, at times it’s very pleasing to look at. Unfortunately, you need to stop your car so that the game engine can load everything before you’ve already sped past it. The draw distance in Test Drive Unlimited 2 is horrendous. Trees, buildings and other vehicles pop out of nowhere right in front of your eyes for all of a micro fraction of a second, and then you’ve either already driven beyond them or collided into them because of the nature of their ambush. I’ve played betas of games that are less broken than this supposed retail release. Fine, the cars look stunning and exactly like the real ones do, but that’s the bare minimum of what you expect from any car game in this day and age. It would only be worth commenting on the cars if they didn’t look right, such is the bar of quality across the racing genre as a whole in terms of photo-realistic vehicle graphics. And again, you’re only guaranteed this if you’re not moving. At speed, something goes wrong with the damage models of the other cars in the game, so that you see all manner of odd glitches, from the bumpers moving independently of the rest of the vehicle to the entire surface of the cars bodies oscillating in such a way as if they were designed to weed out the epileptics of the world because the shadow texture rendering and lighting has gone nuts.

Another jarring visual issue is the design of the characters in the game. They look like Eden copied the look of The Sims, then decided to take the piss out of The Sims, by subtly distorting them in such a way as to make them seem grotesquely cartoonish and surrealistically absurd. These are characters in a game which has photo-realistic vehicles and scenery (when it loads), and which makes avatar customisation a big deal with the clothes shops and the hair stylists and plastic surgeons. It’s a bad design choice. End of.

The sound of the game is complete crap too. Cars all sound the same and nothing like they do in real life. The voice acting only adds to the incurably vile nature of the characters, alternating between just bland and bloody atrocious. And despite Ibiza and Hawaii being 7,942.71 miles distant from each other (precisely so; I Googled it) the game seems to think that both islands would share the same two local radio stations that play the same dozen or so God-awful songs. I turned the radio off by default pretty bloody quickly, and played music from my iPod instead.

  • If you can think of one, let me know.
  • Horrible characters who fill you with loathing against all of humanity.
  • Car handling that would be unacceptable if you were Ben Hur and racing in a chariot.
  • Car damage that is entirely disassociated from the way your car drives.
  • No motorbikes this time out.
  • Pointless tutorials throughout the entire solo campaign.
  • A story that is so ridiculous that a 6 year old might have come up with it.
  • A racing game whose graphics engine doesn’t cope if you go above 30 miles an hour.
  • Connection issues too legion to count.
  • Console locking glitches.
  • Horrendous lag and disruptive asshats online getting in your way even when you’re trying to play by yourself.
  • Some features don’t work and have never worked because the servers are down with no end in sight.
  • Absolutely no continuity between the Hawaii of this game and the Hawaii of Test Drive Unlimited.
  • DLC is broken, including the preorder bonuses some retailers were offering.
  • Constant nagging about your next story objective if you try and drive around a bit and do your own thing.
  • It’s morphed me in less than a fortnight into an almost Daily Mail reader state of bile and hate warped rage, more incandescent fury than man.

If you hadn’t caught on already, I loathe this game. I detest it. I absolutely can find nothing good to say about it. That’s no bias. It’s that the game is just utterly broken, and poorly designed, and thoroughly crap. I looked for balance. I really did. I wanted to find something, anything, to recommend in this game. Because I loved Test Drive Unlimited. And I waited so long for this game, and I got so excited for its arrival. That only makes it even worse. I could accept if this game was simply bad. But what tips me over the edge is the knowledge that this game should have been the best racing game in years. Its predecessor was light-years ahead of its time, despite one or two minor issues. And all of that potential and promise has led precisely nowhere. Despite five years interval and, incredibly, the games previously intended release at the end of last year being put off for “polishing”. Where this turd was polished I can’t tell, but I shudder to think of how it was prior to that. I strongly suspect that this game will kill the franchise.

If I ever meet anyone from Atari or Eden Games who was in any way responsible for this game, I’m going to slap them. And then I’m going to sue them for damages to cover the cost of my psychiatry fees, to cure the mental damage this game has caused me in the last ten days of playing it.

Don’t buy it. And if you know someone who has, get them help. Before they kill someone. Or maybe you should just stay away... there’s probably nothing that can save them now.

This is a broken, terrible, horrible mess, which should never have seen the light of day. I have never been so disappointed or so angry at a game in my life.

Last five articles by Samuel



  1. Edward Edward says:

    This was a dangerous one for me to read. Between laughing at the hilarious imagery you were conjuring up to feeling angry at what they’d done to the game (and to a lesser extent you, I guess ;)) to genuinely feeling bad for you that you ended up being so disappointed and let down by something you’d been waiting for for so long.

    If it helps, this review is a polar opposite to the game, and I think it might actually top the Reach one.
    But there we have it, a game so bad it managed to break you.

  2. Victor Victor says:

    I…, wow. The vitriol. The hatred. The disappointment. The missed opportunity. The game that I will buy next.
    (Or not)

  3. Licks says:

    Dude this review is hilarious – great review.

  4. Ste says:

    What a let down. I had heard this game was broken but I didn’t realise just how broken. How this made it through quality control is beyond me. So does anybody know if this is a story of Atari pushing Eden to release the game or is it simply a case of Eden just being shit? Would be interesting to know.

  5. Richie rich says:

    Review of the year. Fact.

    “To call the story improbable is a bit of an understatement, and ultimately it serves as an irritant” – classic.

  6. Lorna Lorna says:

    Fantastic review. Seldom have I read such an awesome pros/cons list. The loathing and sheer hatred for the game is utterly absorbing and, in a macabre way, I can’t help feeling glad that you had to suffer that all of us might avoid a similar fate ;) Now, I love a game with a story, but this one? I’d be inclined to agree about the six year old – it sounds bloody awful and as for the enforced online stupidity, that is just gobsmacking. How the hell did this make it into the shops? Nice Clare Balding ref btw ;)

  7. Mr McGash says:

    I feel for you mate, as i myself felt exactly the same way..
    Tho it wasn’t a game i wanted, i only picked it up due to Bulletstorm n Two worlds2 being pushed back and wanted to play something with my mates for a bit to pass the time…

    Not a chance. Even the Casino was borked beyond comprehension. I hear, and see quite a few friends in there, that at least that part of it is fixed, but still no club, or a way to get with your friends.
    I couldn’t believe it got passed in the condition it was released in, this is the first time i’m feeling sorry for Americans in that they had to put up with it for longer than us.
    It shouldn’t happen, and something should be done, a sanction or something against the devs and publishers. Microsoft Should, but doubt they will.. and the compensation that Atari/Eden has thought to give out..?
    Free dlc, 2 new cars… in the form of Wrecks, that you have to go out and find.. so that could be anywhere from 6 to 12 separate Wrecks to drive around and find first before getting the car.. i think people, myself included, have had enough of doing the only thing you could do, Drive Around…. they should be shot in all honesty.. bring back Bizzare Creations!!

  8. Adam Adam says:

    Someone, somewhere, approved this idea.

    Someone, somewhere, laughed their arse off for getting paid to do it.

    My hat is at least off to the Project Lead on this one ;)

    Bravo Preach, you did not suffer in vain. Without eh punishment we wouldn’t have gotten this review.


  9. Samuel Samuel says:

    Thanks everyone. It was quite the ordeal sticking with this game for ten days to do the review properly. I expect the medal to be pinned onto my straight jacket, please.

    The sad thing is, I played the original Test Drive Unlimited again for the first time in a while last night, and it is showing its age. It isn’t HD, the Xbox 360 wasn’t capable of proper HD at all and had no HDMI port when the game was made of course, but it’s also that certain things have moved on. The cars are not photo-realistic and the landscapes are somewhat blurry and the colours are washed out. I had a look at the in-game stats and I’ve racked up 130 hours on that save game, and it’s my second save game, so I spent a hell of a lot of time with the game. More than any other non-RPG or strategy game since the mid 90s and my obsessive period with Microsoft Combat Flight Sim and TIE Fighter. But I couldn’t stick with it last night because the tiny things were starting to niggle at me. We’ve been spoilt with the Forza Motorsports and Burnout Paradise and Hot Pursuit, which their lavish graphics and realistic physics.

    What I might do is get Test Drive Unlimited for the PC, it’s bound to look better than the 360 version and the game is still very, very good, so if I can find a way around it’s looking blurry and dull on the 360 on a full HD TV, I will.

    @Vic – Even you wouldn’t play TDU2. The achievements in the game would require you to spend hundreds of hours grinding in the game, and you’d be left a husk of a man half way through. So am I suggesting that Hannah Montana is actually a better game? I think I must be… never would have predicted that a few months ago.

    @Ste – I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that. Though the game was actually put back, and the release delayed for polishing… so fuck knows how this game was released in this state.

    @Lorna – Clare Balding references no extra charge.

    @Scabby – I blathered a bit writing this as to whether I would comment on the Casino DLC, and ultimately decided that it was a rant too far, which would easily run another thousand words or so. Since it’s not a part of the core game, I overlooked it, except to mention that the DLC was broken in my cons list. Not just the Casino either, the car DLC is totally broken.

    @Adam – Someone, somewhere, better hope I never meet them and find out they were responsible. That Project Lead is living on borrowed time.

    @Everyone else – Again, thanks for the kind comments.

  10. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I could go on a ranting spree, tearing into the developers for producing such a broken game or turn on the publishers for allowing it to get past their quality control protocol… but I don’t see the point. It’s shameful that such a thing exists when we’ve (mostly) gone from a one man operation to a huge team of specially trained individuals but it may also be that these huge teams are causing more problems than they solve. Who knows.

    Either way… shocking.

  11. Samuel Samuel says:

    @Mark – I have a hard time reconciling the fact that this was made by the same developer as the previous game. That team has proved it can make a very good racing game, so it makes it all the more bizarre and infuriating. The only thing I can think of is if they fired the entire original development team, and replaced them with lobotomised monkeys.

    Btw, I reviewed this on the Xbox 360. The Playstation 3 and PC versions are said to be even more fucked up, after looking through the official forums and talking to other fans of the franchise I know.

  12. Lee says:

    I share in your pain, I too was looking forward to this but not being able to even make it as far as pulling the RT to accelerate for the best part of two days wore thin on me fast. To be fair it’s a good idea it just didn’t work… again

  13. Samuel Samuel says:

    It really struck home how borked it was when I managed to connect finally somehow and you messaged me Lee, asking if I could invite you into my game to try and sneak you onto the server somehow. Because the only way for you to play your game was if I helped you infiltrate it when it wasn’t looking, like a ninja or something. And even that didn’t work.

    I should really be thanking you anyway, it was your review of the game as though it were a screensaver on your blog that made me realise the only way I could get through this without exploding into a red mist was by tempering my fury with humour. Originally this was just “TEST DRIVE UNLIMITED 2 MAKES ME SO FUCKING MAD, GRARGH!” over and over for eight pages. Heh.

  14. Matt says:

    What stands out to me is that you’ve put a lot of time and passion into this review. What also stands out is that you are not jesting in the slightest. It is clear that you are being brutally honest in your assessment of the game.

    So, if it is to be taken as a serious review, I have to say that it’s not a very good one as it reeks of someone who has an agenda based on personal disappointment. It’s fine that you’re disappointed and can’t enjoy the driving, racing and exploration aspects of this game as I do. It’s rather sad too (and I’m not being inflammatory as in “you’re a sad person”, I honestly think it’s sad that someone who lapped up the original game can’t find a similar amount of enjoyment in the sequel like I do). But then you don’t just state your disappointment, you completely berate the developers and want to “slap anyone involved with the development of the game”.

    Your summation states that there aren’t any positives to write about, but in the detail of your review you comment that the “cars look stunning and exactly like the real ones do”. Was this really a serious review I ask myself? You can’t tell me you were seriously at a loss as to why there was no map included for the two islands and why you were forced to meticulously map the island yourself? A key aspect of this game is the exploration (hence “unlimited” in the title of the game), yet you only use the word “explore” once to introduce a paragraph which is effectively a complaint about the missing maps and the need to do the exploration yourself. That whole paragraph was in jest, right?

    I see a hell of a lot of other players online and active on the official forums stating that they find the game a lot of fun, so please don’t reply back to say that I’m alone in my views and thus need psychiatric help.

  15. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I think he’s more likely to reply and say that you’re entitled to your own opinion of the game but that this was his. Neither are wrong; yours is based on your own experience and his is based on his. At the end of the day, he still took time to write over 3000 words, so his experience of the game clearly annoyed him. There will always be those that disagree though; my review of Two Worlds II was very positive and the result of this was it being torn to shreds when it was reposted elsewhere, saying that the reviewer clearly had no idea what made a good game, and one person even said that I had “no right” to review it. Outstanding response from an open minded community. I think people forget that sites like this are all about opinion and not pandering to the studios because we’re not relying on them paying us for advertising so we can keep our writers in fancy apartments with shiny cars… we just write what we feel. It’s not about writing what we think people will agree with.

  16. Matt says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m fine with the opinion, but then it got messy and personal for some reason. How about “I detest this game so much because Eden Games ruined the sequel and the Test Drive legacy. I can’t forgive them for that.” Eden had the creative license and freedom to do whatever they wanted to with the franchise and Samuel despised the direction Eden went and that fueled the hatred in his review. He could have stated that in a couple of paragraphs because I lose interest in the writing when I know ever paragraph begins with the premise “what feature can I bash next”. Unless it’s dry sarcasm…

  17. Lorna Lorna says:

    I think that what is disappointing is that a review can be labelled ‘not very good’ just because it flies in the face of your own enjoyment if the game. While there may well be others who have found no issue with it, there are clearly a great many people who have and for seemingly good reason – this doesn’t make them wrong, nor any negative assessment of it, as much as some people may be irked by that. Surely it is more fair and correct to be honest? Samuel covered every aspect of the game in his usualy detailed way; rather than offering up a simple hatchet job, which, in all honesty, he’d be forgiven for doing if he personally found it that objectionable (and a crushing letdown on a personal level), he simply detailed his issues.

    As for the wanting to slap the developers, I believe this was merely an attempt at humour in order to try and diffuse what he knew was a negative review. I applaud him for justifying his feelings rather than slapping a 2 out of 10 on a lazy 500 words and waiting for the backlash. Ultimately he didn’t enjoy it, whereas you did; It takes all sorts. I’m still flabberghasted that more people didn’t enjoy Mirror’s Edge, but it just comes down to taste and individual opinion which is what we’re about.

  18. Lorna Lorna says:

    Bollocks. Ninjaed.

    *edit* His view of the game (when he could actually get on to play it, which was pretty horrendous by all accounts) was not a good one, of course this will carry through the review if he finds that most of the features are broken, nonsensical, etc. He is a very fair reviewer and this was a highly anticipated title for him – I can feel how let down he was. Yep, he didn’t like the direction, but he more than gave it a fair crack – if there had been features he enjoyed, then he would have said so – we don’t encourage writers to gleefully tear things to shreds for the sake of it because it is disrespectful and childish, nor do we want Sterling clones. If he genuinely felt that he had issue with various features, then he was free to write about them, which he did :)

  19. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    @Matt – Can’t really comment on that I’m afraid; I don’t know how much humour was injected after disdain took over. In my opinion though, anyone who threatens to cause physical harm to a developer for bringing out a game is hopefully exaggerating for comedic effect. Personally speaking, I read most of this review with my sizeable tongue planted firmly in my cheek… and I expected others to do the same. I don’t really go in for driving games myself, I’m more of an RPG or Strategy follower, so I’ll never be able to comment on the validity of the opinions and/or sarcasm put forward in the review. I still enjoyed reading his vitriolic slant though, made for a pleasant departure from the usual review. Whether it was genuine hatred or not, I suppose we’ll find out when he drops by today.

    With regards to the “I can’t forgive them for that” aspect though, I can totally empathise with him on that score. My gran took me to see Star Wars when it first hit cinema screens and I fell in love with it almost immediately. I had the figures, had the jigsaws, comics, and even a C3PO costume (which I ended up turning into a Luke Skywalker costume by only wearing the top but the other way around… you’d get me if you saw it) and, even though Jedi was a bit lame and clearly leaning towards merchandising over substance, I still really enjoyed it. When Lucas messed with them for the Special Edition sets, I was a tad hacked off because they were genuinely fine as they were and it really didn’t add anything to the story or the enjoyment thereof. When he announced that he was making another trilogy, I had mixed feelings… I wanted to watch a new Star Wars movie but I knew that they probably wouldn’t be as good as the originals. What he ended up churning out (or spewing out, in my opinion) were three terrible movies that should never have been made. I loved the original trilogy so much that I can’t forgive Lucas for that, so if Samuel enjoyed the Test Drive franchise as much as I did Star Wars, then I get his reasoning behind that. The only redeeming quality of George Lucas, for me, is that he looks like an Ewok.

  20. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I should point out that I’d never want to slap George Lucas, no matter how much I despise what he did to Star Wars, because A) it’s his right as the creator and B) he created Star Wars god dammit.

  21. Samuel Samuel says:

    When I write a review, any review, I’m well aware that it isn’t the final arbiter that decides whether a game is definitively good or bad. Someone somewhere will disagree with me. And that’s fine, I can only write about my own experiences. Some people will have another perspective.

    I would try to justify myself with the fact that the humour is clearly exaggerated, or so I thought anyway, but you might get the wrong idea and think then that my review isn’t a serious appraisal of the game. It is. I endeavoured to temper the tone of this review however with some humour. I don’t like writing one sided reviews. I always do my best to see the game from all angles, and pass comment on good and bad equally. This game defied that, insofar as after 10 days of playing it I could still find nothing about it that serves as a genuine selling point. You comment on my saying the cars look stunning. Well, if you’d read on you’d also see me say that they only look stunning when they’re not moving, and that the models are frequently glitched at speed. Also, that photo-realism in cars isn’t enough when every racing game released now has that.

    You’re entitled to your opinion. I won’t bother arguing the toss with you, because ultimately we’ve both already made up our minds. And whilst I am slightly miffed at the accusations of not taking this seriously and being unfair and not having written a good review, because I don’t believe that to be the case, I can let it go. Because this is the internet, and I’d have to be an idiot to assume that anything I put up in public won’t be disagreed with by someone. I’m happy with what I wrote, I see no need to apologise for it, and I think my work on the site as a whole stands up for itself, and shows that I am not in the business of doing hatchet jobs OR giving developers hand-jobs. This was my appraisal of the game, and the only bias involved was my trying to justify the game somehow because of my love of the original. Ultimately I couldn’t. If you have found a way to enjoy it, then more power to you.

  22. Matt says:

    Ok fair enough. Someone linked to your review from another site, not that I couldn’t have stumbled across it from a Google search, so I’m not familiar with your work. You’ve explained the way you write now so I have a better understanding. Therefore I take back my comments about the merits of your review. Sorry if I offended. I guess I was swayed by the comments of others and your responses back to them which highlighted to me that some people won’t even give the game a chance based on one review from someone who loved the first game.

  23. Jason says:

    My opinion can probably be described as a “hatchet job”. TDU2 is fucking shite, end of. TDU1 was great. It was about great handling cars. The wheel ffb worked very well. The cars handling felt good. TDU2… car handling is crap, steering wheel controls are shit… whereas the TDU1 was silky smooth… TDU2 is g;itchy and stuttering…. Fuck.. even the game is not about cars any more its some shitty story which you are FORCED to play act… utter crap… EDEN.. not ATARI fucked it up….

  24. Cincinnati says:

    John 3:17

  25. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Mark 4:41

  26. grubors957 says:

    I was really disappointed by TDU2. Firstly, it was extremely restrictive. The idea of having to qualify for licenses or not being able to access the entire game straight from the on-set is a little incoherent with the TDU spirit, if you ask me. If it’s a game about roaming freely without constraints, why put constraints?
    The graphics during the “lifestyle” segments are not much better than the previous TDU either, and the user interface to walk around is clunky. There wasn’t any need for GTA-style gaming, it just feels tacked on.
    Regardless, I’m happy to finally drive a 458 Italia on something other than a closed GT5 track.

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