Friday, March 17, 2006

Is Test Drive Unlimited one more of the bunch?

The Test Drive series has been around for a long long time. During that time, we have seen unbelievable titles such as Test Drive Le-mans for the Dreamcast, as well as V-Rally, also for the Dreamcast. Other than that, well well, the Test Drive series has been pretty average to downright ugly.

The new Test Drive, Test Drive Unlimited is the next one in line. Could this be another great test drive, or just another test drive?

The title is to be released for PS2, PSP, PC and the Xbox 360. I'd say the most effort will be put into the PC and 360 versions, with the other versions being the watered down ports. Something like Ghost Recon AW, which is awesome on 360 and awful on Xbox.

Unlimited is being developed by Eden Studios which is a studio owned by Infogramed if I'm correct, who are these guys?

They are the ones who developed the great V-Rally for the Dreamcast and then the pretty good V-Rally 2, and 3. So it's safe to say the game is in good hands. They know how to handle a driving game, and can come up with something special. And since they are with Infogrames, the devs for Le-mans for the Dreamcast, we just can't complain. So there's a lot of expertise there. I have to say they have "deved" some really bad driving games too, but it seems to me that when they put lots of resources into a driving game, they create some AAA material.

So I guess the question is, are they really serious about this game? It looks like it, but we'll have to wait.

The concept of driving through an entire island and finding challengers as you drive, owning homes, the types of cars to own (Lamborghini, Zonda, etc), it is definetely intriguing, I don't know how any driving game fan could say otherwise.

Gamespot just posted three new gameplay videos and some things I didn't like. You can watch them here:

I was somewhat dissapointed with:

*Graphics: For those of us who own PGR3, to be impressed with a driving game, that driving game has to do something very good. Unfortunately, the only thing I can think of Unlimited does better than PGR3 is the fact that you can race around a huge island. Other than that, nothing is done better graphics wise. It is a well known fact car models use very little amount of polygons when compared to PGR3, and it shows. The number is 10K for Unlimited and 100K for PGR3 from what I remember, but don't quote me on that.

And the devs have done a nice job at using those polygons, but there's only so much you can do with that. The in-car camera shows this perfectly, whereas PGR3 is using a lot of polygons for the interior, Unlimited is using mostly flat textures with the help of things like bump mapping and normal mapping so they look 3d, it obviously is not the same thing.

Test Drive

The difference may not seem to be that big from screens, but it only takes downloading of some videos to notice the huge difference.

*Sound: The fact that the lamborghini sounded like your fake test drive car sent shivers through my body.

*The phsysics: This was the real bummer for me. In video number three the lamborghini drives too.....too fake? And I don't have a problem with arcade style driving/physics, the problem is that it looks too cheap! Burnout cars move nicely regardless of the extreme arcade style. This game is obviously not going for that extreme aracade, it's going for something along the lines of PGR3, but judging from "video 3" at that gamespot link I gave, the cars don't drive as good as I'd like to. No, maybe they drive well, but the way they move makes it look cheap. The Lambo was going extremely fast and then it stops in just a second. That made me turn my head right and left thinking, "what have they done with the game?"

*The roar of the engine muted when whoever was playing looked back from the in-car camera. That can easily be solved during development I know, but I don't see the reason why they would mute the engine while looking back in the first place.

I hope that once playing it that will become second terms, but it could be done much better, that I know.

I was delighted by:

*The way you can buy a car. You go to the dealer, buy the car, take the keys, drive the car.

*The fair customization of the car. You can change the exterior color of the car, but what I liked was that you can also change the color of the interior! Very nice.

*The race, I can imagine myself playing through that island for a long time. The roads are curvy but there are a lot of nice straightaways as well. I hope they can mix it up enough so it doesn't become boring.

*The sense of speed was great, good use of blur and of course, speed.

And those are my thoughts on the game so far. I'm hoping they can pull it off right, otherwise they won't get my $60!!! It's looking good, but it definitely needs some tweaking as of right now. That may be why the game is not released right?

-Thanks for reading.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

u suck, bad preview lol failure / 10

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeh tht review sux i love pgr3 but its the same old game with better graphics which is not the most important thing in games to me the reason i play games is for FUN and this game looks FUN

3:50 PM  

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