the most important aspect of a multiplayer world is its
immersion. If the details aren’t there, then the world will
never captivate you the way most successful online worlds do. Test Drive Unlimited 2
is immersion in a box.
This car is out of my pay grade.
I was walked through a 30 minute hands on impression today with Atari,
and they’ve mastered the art of immersion in their upcoming
MOOR (Massively Open Online Racing) game. While certainly picking up on
the spirit of the first Test Drive Unlimited
the world in which players will be gaming is wide open. There are a few
First, the game now supports first person view in avatar mode. While
this may not seem like a big deal, the immersion of this simple
mechanic is incredible. We started the demo in a car show room. Beside
me was another member of the press playing at another console. I turned
to his avatar and began waving. We then walked around the show room
floor, checking out the cool cars available for purchase. From the
Aston Marton DBS to the Pagani Zonda Cinque, there were some pretty
impressive cars. And they’re all fully and completely up to
Just check out that detail.
I wanted a closer look at the Zonda, so I approached the car, and I was
told by Atari to go ahead and open the door. I did so, and stepped in.
Now, keep in mind this was all done in first person view, and the
experience was persistent. I sat down in the leather seats and turned
my head around to check out the interior of the car. It was as close to
the real thing as I’m likely to see. The other press member
beside me decided to check it out too, so I watched as he approached
the car and got in the seat next to me. The experience was nothing
short of wonderfully captivating.
This sort of socializing and exploring/examining can happen in the race
world too. Ready to race against your buds? Well, get out of your cars
at the starting line, and check out each other’s cars. Hell,
get into your frend’s car to check it out if you like.
The cars, of course, can be customized as well. Paint jobs are as
accurate as buying the real thing as they’re only available
in their proper factory colors. Some have multiple colors available,
but they’ll cost more, as they would in the real world.
The racing aspect of the game offers what one would expect from the Test Drive
franchise. There are various modes of play, and you can progress your
character based on your playstyle. You won’t ever need to
play the types of races you don’t enjoy, and you can
customize your character accordingly.
The experience, as a whole, is as immersive as it gets. From the
stunning accuracy of the cars to the simple act of walking around the
showroom floor, this is as real as it gets. The game will also be
“always live.” That is to say, the content updates
and are automatic, and the transition between offline and online
content is seamless.
Best of all, there are no monthly subscription fees and no online
store. The game is scheduled for release September 21, 2010 for Xbox
360, Playstation 3 and Windows.