It has recently been announced that the license for Test Drive has been sold to Bigben Interactive, so what does this mean to the future of the franchise? First things first, what is Test Drive and why is it so important? Well, Test Drive series is nothing too important, there were a number of installments that featured pure arcade racing through cities and other locations; you were supposed to earn money and buy new cars and win and earn and buy new cars and keep doing that until you defeated the game. This became a bit more interesting with the introduction of Test Drive Unlimited. It introduced the concept of free-roam in the racing series. You could buy cars, drive them and do all sorts of things you would normally do, like turning on the blinkers, rolling down the windows and dropping the top on a convertible. It was an absolute treat for car lovers, and to some extent for bike lovers too. Then came along Test Drive Unlimited 2, and brought with it many features new to the racing genre.
Basically, Forza Horizon 3 is what TDU2 could always have been, almost. TDU2 in fact a plethora of features that Forza can only dream of having. First of all, the game featured no invisible walls, if you could see it, you could go there, even if it was a cliff far off in the background, or a rock in the middle of the desert. There were various environments to play in too, you could be driving along the coastline, through villages, drive in cities, drive through deserts, drive in hills, drive in the middle of some forest and even get lost while wandering. It featured proper day and night cycles, and also had weather changes, the skies would change from clear to partly cloudy to overcast, and then there would be rain. The driving physics would change with the terrain too. Off-road, tarmac and wet tarmac handling were uniquely defined.
Driving environments sure were exciting, however what added to the charm of this game was the sheer number of cars it offered to drive. You could be driving anything, from the Alfa Romeo MiTO to the Bugatti Veyron 16.4. The rags to riches story, and being able to afford larger homes with better cars with progression made the game very satisfactory and fulfilling. You start off as a valet for another participant, and by the end of the game, you are way richer than them, and you even beat them at their own sport.
You could buy new cars, tune them, paint them and even wash them, all at different spots in the map. Speaking of the map, there wasn’t one map in the game, but two. You could either be driving drunk in Ibiza, or be speeding along the roads of Hawaii. Coming back to cars, you had to find new showrooms in the map in order to able to buy new cars, if you could afford them, this made the driving factor even important.
Sadly, what brought down this game was its lost multiplayer capability and the huge number of bugs. The game had clubs, and also a casino, and airports, and yachts, and fashion specific showrooms, plastic surgeons, barbers, tuners, used car showrooms, brand specific car showrooms, category specific driving schools, it had everything. Rather than being a car, you were actually driving one. And this something that a lot of racing games of even nowadays miss, focus has been taken off driving and exploration almost completely. Even if Test Drive Unlimited 3 is just a remake of TDU2, then there should be no issues whatsoever. What would be the key to TDU3 is a good multiplayer experience, and that is it.
Considering that Bigben Interactive is the creator of games like the WRC6, we can assume that the solo play aspects are in safe hands, however, what comes to be of multiplayer is something that can only be found out when the time comes. What do you think of the TDU2? Are you excited for TDU3? Let me know in the comments.