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[25/6/20] Test Drive Unlimited 2 - Hawaii

I can finally die happy. I have finally completed Test Drive Unlimited 2. If you haven't read my previous rant, please do as this is mainly just about the game during the second half, which is set in Hawaii.

To recap, the first half of TDU2 was pretty good. Handling was ok, the map was pretty good, difficulty was a bit on the easier side and the soundtrack wasn't so ok. For the most part, many of the more general observations still hold true, mainly the limited music selection because it's not as if the music selection changes or anything. However, there are a few things i want to touch on that weren't much of an issue during Ibiza.

The map of Hawaii is rather different from Ibiza, with Hawaii having infinitely more hills and bumps in comparison to the first map. This usually wouldn't be a problem but to put it bluntly, the game's physics blow. In any other game, a jump would usually be a good bit of fun that may or may not slow you down a bit if you do it wrong. In Test Drive Unlimited 2, these jumps become a major source of frustration. No matter how perfectly you enter the jump, what speed you're going or how good the landing is, 9 times out of 10 getting air will result in you slowing down to a halt, likely on your roof. Jumps in this game just feel so janky and cars just randomly flip and roll for no apparent reason. The fact that a rear engine car rolls foward makes no sense. The fact that a perfectly executed jump results in your car barrel rolling about 20 times before landing on the roof makes no sense. With how varied the map's elevation is, these jumps quickly become the bane of your existance.

During the second half of the game, you eventually get to drive the REALLY fast cars. For the most part, vehicle handling isn't to terrible either. Much like the start of the game, it takes some time to get used to but it's not the worst thing on earth. Trying to recover from a loss of traction is still difficult and the more powerful engines only make the issue worse.

At this point of the game, the difficulty lifts from somewhat easy to anywhere between kind of difficult to actually infuriating. Opponent AI still isn't too bright so you can get some easy overtakes. Traffic AI however... The locals of Hawaii must be suicidal because the ammount of pointless lane changes and cars just deciding to stop in the middle of the road is astounding. If you're going with the traffic, cars tend to turn into the lane you're currently in without fail. If you're going agaisnt traffic, cars just randomly decide to sweve and stop, thus taking up every lane on the road. This ruins races and time trials frequently. On the topic of events, the small pool of race types wears thin and certain types become a burden. Eliminator races are the most boring thing in the game by far. The AI decides to go baby mode and become piss easy in these events so it's just driving in circles for 7 whole laps. Time trials also become annoying but not for the same reason as eliminator races. Near the end of the game, the times you have to beat become increadibly tight and without any sort of ghost to visualise how fast you should be going or where you're losing time, eventually making the game feel like an even more sadistic version of trackmania but without an instant reset. There's not too much to note otherwise.

The sense of progression in Test Drive Unlimited 2 is outstanding. At the end of the game, you have more money that you could ever know what to do with, meaning you can go on a spending spree buying multiple supercars. Going from rags to riches is a fun experience.

Now that I've completed the entire game, I can confidently say that for the $18-25 AUD this game goes for on ebay is absolutley worth it. It's a good game even despite it's glaring flaws. Buy it. Please. It's good.