I am a huge fan of racing games and it was in 1989 that I first got my real taste of racing action thanks to a game called Test Drive from Accolade software on the Commodore Amiga. The idea of Test Drive was simple. You picked a sportscar from the list of cars on offer (from the likes of Lotus and Lamborghini) then you simply had to reach the gas station at the end of each stage whilst avoiding other drivers and the police.
Offering better graphics Test Drive 2 was improved but it only allowed for two cars. After that I never got a chance to play Test Drive 3 as it was never released on the Amiga. It was not until Test Drive 4 was released on the Playstation that I realised how much the series had changed. For one the series had been given a major graphical overhaul. You will get licensed soundtrack although it was the opening song of Test Drive 6 (Genius by the awesome Pitchshifter). It still sticks with me to this day and made me a lifelong Pitchshifter fan.
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When Test Drive Unlimited was first released back in 2007 my PC could not run it. In fact my PC still cannot run it but I did manage to finally get to play the PS2 version last year which I found very impressive. Since then though I have acquired a PSP and I decided to see if Test Drive Unlimited was just as good as I remembered it was except now it was on the PSP. One thing that I immediately noticed was that it takes less time to load on the PSP than it ever did on the PS2 which is a good thing in my opinion.
With it being a PSP version though there are trade-offs. For example the graphics are not that much better than the PS2 version and the game is also lacking the dashboard view of the 360 and PC versions respectively. Apart from that there seems to be nothing really missing from the PSP version of this popular driving MOOR (Massively Open Online Racing) racing title.
But what was it that made Test Drive Unlimited so special in the first place? Maybe it was the accurate rendering of Oahu which is an island in Hawaii if anyone was wondering. You really get a sense that you are racing on a living, breathing island and this amplified even more by having you buy a house to live in, a car to drive and gaining invitations to racing clubs, and all this takes place before the game has really began.
About PSP Test Drive
For me the Test Drive series always has had one main rival since it was released on the Playstation and EA was the Need for Speed series. Even now, with Test Drive Unlimited, I cannot help but feel that somewhere someone at EA is watching this game and taking notes. The idea of TDU (Test Drive Unlimited) is still nearly the same as the original I played twenty years ago.
You pick a car and you must race to earn money or points and then with these points you buy better cars whilst avoiding the police at all costs. TDU has changed a little and gives you a handy GPS system with which you can navigate the island. You simply access the in-game map and then set your destination as a target and then the game will guide you there just like a real GPS system.
As with any GPS system in real life this one is definitely not perfect. It seems to enjoy nothing better than guiding you to your location in the most nefarious way possible. In other words the GPS system won’t bat an eyelid about asking you to race in the wrong direction. As with most GPS trackers on the market today the voice for the one in TDU gets annoying fast although it is realistic.
Challenges About PSP Games
Targets are events that take place all over the island and range from simple races to time. It attacks and even special challenges such as evading speed traps. Thankfully the game does not make you feel like you have to aimlessly drive around until you find something. There is always a conveniently located event near you which you can access using the in-game map and filters. When you start a race you can choose the difficulty you want and the easiest you. It means the less points you get overall if you manage to win. You can also get points driving dangerously, similar to what Burnout offers.
This means that you can also get points, both whilst racing and otherwise, for slipstreaming an opponent and drifting. The more points you get (which equals respect) the quicker the big dogs. You can come and knock at your door in terms of racing clubs. As you can imagine with a game like this most of the cars. It will be customised to a great extent and there is something addictive about pulling into a realtor. To buy a house or a Ford garage to look at a new car, just like in real life.
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Online mode is what this game excels at and allows you to race against other players in a bid to win their car. You and your friends can also create your own racing clubs. You can compete with others located around the island. I personally stuck to the single player mode and found that whilst TDU offers a solid racing experience on four wheels. I found the inclusion of motorbikes from manufacturers such as Ducati as something as an afterthought, like in Project Gotham Racing 3.
It is still great fun to race around the island on a superbike but I would personally prefer a Lamborghini. Sadly the game features no realistic damage model at all and the cars, both whilst driving normally, or in a race, can be used as barriers like in Gran Turismo. If you hit cars too many times whilst driving to a destination however then you notify the police who will start to chase you.
What I do find satisfying though is the superb track design. Seeing as you are racing on a real island you can expect to have some nice tracks but some of the tracks in TDU are an absolute pleasure to drive and really give you the feeling of being there and this is something that games like Need for Speed have yet to equal. In terms of sound effects and music it all seems to be a bit generic although it is nice to be able to switch radio stations as you play and the music does seem to actually suit the game which is nice seeing as most racing games nowadays are lazy and use licensed music which TDU does not do.
Controls Of PSP Games
Controls for each car actually do seem to differ from manufacturer to model which I was pleased to see. I actually thought that all the cars would handle the same regardless but they don’t. One thing the game does though, like with Gran Turismo, is grade the performance of each car. This means that you cannot enter a grade. A car into a race which only allows grade E cars and vice versa. In doing this it means that the player actually has to take a bit of time accumulating money. They can buy the higher rated car but it is worth it . It all adds up to create the solid package that TDU on the PSP really is.
Overall I have to say that I really do enjoy Test Drive Unlimited for the PSP. It is both addictive and rewarding and it great fun to play whilst passing the time on a long journey. As with most games I have reviewed though recently the battery life. PSP seems to suffer a little whilst playing this so always make sure you save regularly. This does not detract from the overall gameplay. However, TDU is one game that once you start playing it really is quite hard to stop. If you love racing games then you need to play this and even if you were not a fan of the older. Test Drive games it is definitely Test Drive Unlimited that can change your mind. I highly recommend this.