A Closer Look at Test Drive Unlimited 2

Off-road, anyone?

Off-road, anyone?

During our visit to Atari at E3 today, we got a chance to peek under the hood of Test Drive Unlimited 2, the upcoming open world racing title from Eden Studios. The original Test Drive Unlimited was a resounding success, and still garners regular gamers nearly four years after its release in September of 2006.

Eden really didn’t want to mess with a good formula on this one, so what they did was improve on nearly everything in the game, as well as make it much larger. The game is centered on the brand-new island of Ibiza, which contains over two thousand miles of roads for you to explore. If you grow tired of the scenery on Ibiza, you can head over to the airport and fly to Oahu, the site of the original game. Don’t expect things to be exactly the same as they were in the first game, though. Eden has added over 370 miles of road to Oahu as well, so there’s plenty of new stuff to check out there.

Massively Open Online Racing makes its return as well, allowing you to level up your character in many different ways. You can gain experience through exploring, social events, and a variety of other ways. Not only that, but you can socialize in out-of-car modes that allow you to check out all the customization that your friends have done to their cars.

Speaking of customization, you’ll be able to customize your car, within limits. When you first purchase your car, you’ll be able to choose from any option that the manufacturer offers on the car, including multiple colors, wheels, interiors, and more. Once you head back to re-customize, you’ll be able to expand on your color selection, but you’ll be limited to colors only. Major customization isn’t included, although you can slap stickers all over the outside of your ride.

Several new gameplay modes are included as well. We got a chance to try our hand at Follow the Leader, an interesting choice indeed. One player is designated the leader, and all the other players have their GPS and checkpoint navigation disabled. The leader, however, can see where the next checkpoint lies. Everyone follows the leader, and once the checkpoint is reached, a new random player becomes the leader.

Follow the Leader is one of the new co-op modes in TDU2. You can also expect championship modes, racing schools, duels and cups, as well as a brand-new off-road focused mode. Off-road is now a major part of the game, including a whole new class of vehicles and miles of off-road tracks.

Home ownership is also returning, allowing you to own and customize a home. You can purchase furniture, decorations, and more to make your home your own.

You can expect really nice weather effects, which were on display in our demo. The lightning storm was particularly impressive. The game also features an active day/night cycle, motion blur, and active car damage. Don’t expect to smash your ride up too much, as Eden did tell us that the manufacturers they’re working with are not fond of seeing their babies all bashed to bits.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 looks really great so far, and the online features included in it look to be situated to have people playing this game as rabidly as they did the first one. You can look for Test Drive Unlimited 2 in stores on September 21, 2010.

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