A dumping ground for things i think are cool :)
In my opinion, Test Drive Unlimited 2 is the best racing game. It just does so much right and there's really not all too much that has even come close to it. I've never gotten far in the game up until now, so anything past Ibiza is going to be more or less blind. Speaking of, I have decided to split this rant up into Ibiza and Hawaii, a rant for each half of the game, mainly in interest of time as TDU2 is a rather long game. The Hawaii section of this review also might be considerably shorter, likely touching on the second maps quirks, difficulty and handling of really fast cars. For the time being however, it's time to rant about the first section of the game.
TDU2 starts you off in a dream where you're at a party, doing party things. At this point you chose your character out of 6 presets and then drive a Ferrari around for a little bit. After this you get woken up and then, in a very strange turn of events, are just randomly invited to a TV show named “Solar Crown”. Solar Crown is the main motivation for this game's story, as every race series you do is for the show. However, despite how this setup may sound, Test Drive thankfully avoids the tropes of many other festival racers and actually has a decent sense of progression. The cars that you start off with are classic sports cars, a far cry from what you'll be driving during the later stages of the game. From there you race with off-road cars and lastly sports cars. To qualify for race series, you need to complete a variety of licence tests for each class and “rating” of car. As of Ibiza, these tests are nothing to worry about due to how easy they end up being. That said, the way of doing these licences makes the campaign feel really linear, as everything is unlocked in such a specific order. While you can theoretically buy supercars at the start of the game, what fun would it be if you had nothing to race it against? The races themselves range from generic circuit/point-to-point races, to speed trap challenges. There are about 5 or so types of races which may not sound like enough but, I've found that it is varied enough to not be boring. Also as of Ibiza, these races are somewhat easy. What car you chose doesn't matter too much at this point (with one glaring exception) so it's easy going.
Handling in TDU2 is universally known to be… not very good. It's true but, that said, it's not the worst handling model ever either. It takes some time to get used to for sure. Personally, the only complaint that I had with the way cars drive is the fact that if you lose traction, trying to counter-steer to regain control just causes the car to snap to whatever direction you steer towards, which makes losing control impossible to recover from without completely spinning out. Everything else about the model is just OK. Cars mostly go how one would expect them to go.
Test Drive Unlimited's map(s) are undoubtedly it's selling point. Ibiza is massive but also surprisingly distinct. There's a lot of road to cover, with only a fraction of it being covered through normal races. While in free roam, there are car wrecks to collect which, if you collect enough, nab you a cool car (not unlike The Crew). There are also a variety of side missions to do, about 100 of them in fact! They're not much to write home about but, it's a nice distraction and a good reason to see more sights. Overall, the map of Ibiza is pretty good.
There's not much else to note at this point. At this point, my only major gripe is the sound track. There are two radio stations which play two different genres. Hariba radio plays electronic and Road Rock plays, well, rock. There's not too many songs for each station and some of the songs aren't too good. Road Rock especially gets on my nerves. The in-game meta advertising for the station is an absolute joke. Who in their right mind would ever consider “Eat, Sleep, Drink, Think” by Motormark (whoever the hell they are…) to be music to headbang too, let alone anything close to death metal! Stupid tangent aside, the music is hit or miss so it might be a good idea to just load up spotify and go from there.
And that pretty much covers the Ibiza portion of this rant. As stated before, the second half of this rant is likely to be a lot shorter and going to come out a bit later (when I actually finish the game lmao). I'm too early in the game to properly give a recommendation but, the average going price on ebay appears to be over $18 aud. It's rather pricey, especially considering everything else that I've ranted about on this site but, it appears to be worth the asking price.