previews\ Jan 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Test Drive Unlimited 2 Multiplayer


With Test Drive Unlimited 2's release date just around the corner, I was able to hop online to check out the various competitive and even co-operative modes that aim to set themselves apart from other racers. Since the game focuses not only on its massive open world, containing both Hawaii and Ibiza with a combined total of 3,200 kilometers of open road, but also its many social aspects of bringing car enthusiasts together, Atari classifies the game as an MOOR, or Massively Open Online Racer, and I was able to get a taste of how this social aspect is worked into the main game.

The lobby area before each race or event showcases your cars and opponents' cars, at which point you're able to check the statistics of each car and racer, or even get inside the cars and check out the interior. For my first quick fix, I jumped into a standard race which meant getting through each checkpoint and reaching the finish line first. The next mode we jumped into was called the Speed Match in which the goal was to maintain a given speed without stopping. The faster you go, the more points you accumulate in the set time limit, and I've found that the best way is to find a straightaway and keep to it as long as you can. The best part is that there is no set track, so you're able to go a different way from your opponents, assuming you know a better route that doesn't include many turns.

Speed Trap is also a non linear track that scatters radars across the map and the goal is to go through each one at the highest speed. The challenge is to effectively plan your route so you can maximize your speed, and also hit the most amount of speed traps. This one definitely ranked high on the fun meter as chaos ensued when everyone went their own way and occasionally crossed paths at intersections only to crash into each other.

By now, competitive modes in racing games are standard, but TDU2 offers two co-operative modes that challenge drivers to work together to achieve high scores. The first mode is Follow the Leader which makes one player the leader and the other followers. The leader has a marked out course to reach the next checkpoint while the followers' only indication of where to go is by following the leader. At every checkpoint a new leader is appointed at random until all checkpoints are passed. Communication is key in this mode as the leader has to indicate when sharp turns are coming to signal the others to slow down and prepare to avoid any accidents as you're trying to pass the finish line as a team with the lowest time possible.

The other co-op mode is called Keep your Distance, which starts off all players in a line and the goal is to not drive too close to the car ahead of you but also don't get too far. In our case, we weren't allowed to get within 15 yards but be no more than 55 yards away. You score points by covering as much ground as you can within a given time. Both of these modes can be tracked in online leaderboards which will give them the competitive edge while preserving the need to be co-operative to get the highest scores.

Lastly I was able to join a Club, which is the equivalent to an MMO guild. As a club member, you get access to the exclusive clubhouse. You're able to meet and set up races, track others members progress, as well as donate money to upgrade the club which will expand the size, allow more members to join and enable the use of exclusive cars.

TDU2 is shaping up to be a great multiplayer experience with its online component functioning like a full-fledged MMO, without the monthly fees. Now that you got a glimpse at the upcoming modes, which ones are you looking forward to the most?

About The Author
Mike Splechta GameZone's review copy hoarding D-bag extraordinaire! Follow me @MichaelSplechta
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