Test Drive: Unlimited 2
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Test Drive Unlimited 2 is a racing game designed to be played online with other players, complete with open voice communication. The game world is a massive area in which players can encounter other human drivers and wager virtual money on impromptu races. Events are often unsanctioned, and illegal street races take place in public areas, though no people are ever shown being hurt -- not even the drivers themselves, who can continue racing as though nothing has happened even after the worst crashes.
What's it about?
An open-world driving game set on the tropical islands of Ibiza and Hawaii, TEST DRIVE UNLIMITED 2 allows players to enter impromptu races against anyone they happen to run across in the game’s world. They can bet on the outcomes of these races to earn virtual cash that can be used to purchase clothes, furnishings, car modifications, and other items. A story mode exists as well, with players working through a series of licenses and championships that help them earn prestige. As players continue to race and explore, they work toward levelling up by meeting objectives in four categories: competitions; collection of game items such as vehicles, homes, and haircuts; discovery of new areas on the map; and socializing, which can involve making friends, creating challenges for others to try, and joining clubs.
Is it any good?
If nothing else, Test Drive Unlimited 2 is an ambitious game. There are hundreds of square miles to explore, dozens of hours worth of single-player competitions, loads of items to collect and objectives to complete, and nearly limitless challenges to be both created and found while playing online. But the enormity of the game’s world also causes some problems. By focusing on scope, the game’s developers seem to have neglected important details. Environments are in turns bland, empty, and repetitive, never sparkling with the vibrancy and near-photo realism of other recent racing games -- save perhaps during inclement weather, when we get to see some lovely effects. Plus, motoring through the empty tropical wilderness for long minutes can become tedious. Perhaps most importantly, the car handling never feels quite right, regardless of whether you play with driving assists on or off. Vehicles just seem to lack weight, floating around the road. Test Drive Unlimited 2 stands apart from the crowd, but not always for the better.
Online interaction: Players encounter other humans frequently in the game’s persistent online world. Players can chat with one another if voice communication is enabled, creating the potential for kids to be exposed to unsuitable subjects of discussion and share personal information. Common Sense Media does not recommend open online play for pre-teens.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the dangers of driving at high speeds. The drivers in this game never get hurt. What do you think would happen if you crashed into another car driving 100 miles per hour in the real world?
Families can also discuss the difference between sanctioned, legal races on closed circuits and street races set in public spaces. Why do you think drivers would want to engage in such a dangerous activity?
A recent study looked at whether players who take risks in racing games are more likely to take risks in real life driving. What do you think?