21 February 2011

Test Drove me doolally 2...

Test Drive Unlimited 2 is a game i *really* want to love... It's a game i already like, despite my pure hatred of its mechanics, where there are rich vistas you can skirt along as you thump towards the horizon in a car of your favourite make with a half-decent sound track blaring over the speakers. It's just a shame that their "from scratch" driving model just doesn't work.

I mean, seriously! How many super cars do you know that will uncontrollably spin off the road at speeds of less than 60 mph because you nudged the wheel slightly? Sure, there are super cars like that which exist in the real world.... but would a Subaru Impreza spring to mind in this scenario? Not to me it wouldn't. This car, this beast that is pretty much designed for road-holding both on tarmac and in the rough should be more than up to the task of sticking on a wide road with minimal bends.... but it can't - or at least not without some serious handling from the driver.

It's incredibly frustrating then, to drive the cars in this game in any of the races and time trials where, in comparison to the one-off missions that pop up around the map from time to time, the bar is set so high.
Even worse is how the AI and you interact. That is to say, if you bump into the AI you go flying.... if the AI bumps into you, you also go flying! Just watching the AI during and after some of these interactions makes me question the weightiness of my car and of the sanity of the developers. The AI appears to be able to right their car with the minimum of ease from a spin or fishtail without travelling great distances.... Compare this to myself where i've travelled 20-50 m off the road before i've managed to bring my heap of steaming shit to a stop (if some physical barrier hasn't already done this for me). It feels (though it's not) impossible to make the AI crash in such a way as to actually set them appreciably back in a race.

The sad thing is that this so-called driving model was built from the ground up to accommodate the all-terrain mentality of this sequel when it appears as if no lessons, or even ideas, were learnt from the first game.

Sadly, the in-game radio stations are a bit limited and you are unable to create your own or play your own playlist within the game from your library of games..... when in the first you were perfectly able to do so.

Finally, what really irks me is the whole licence system. In the original you started off with modest cars and learnt the driving model through cars that weren't so fast as to be uncontrollable. You had restrictions on certain races but you could do one at any time. Now, they've taken away those races and events and made them random and instead require you to achieve licences to be able to partake in championship races. They also start you off in the "classic" car side of things... which unforunately is not conducive to learning the controls when, in theory, you're driving cars that take more effort to drive (not that the 'difficulty' indicator would have you believe it!).

What they should have done was do something similar to the original - have you work your way up from the lower class cars but also provide you with fixed events that you are able to enter in an amateur manner, allowing you to win money and also hone your skills.

There's also a lot of complaining about the broken multiplayer side of things, but since i don't use MP, i'll not mention those!

Unfortunately, TDU2 is a game that could have been a classic.... instead it's relegated to the sideline because of its rather blatant flaws.

14 February 2011

Podcast! The Easy Button Episode 15

Hey everybody! Here's a new show to brighten your week! We're back to the usual format this week with some talk of the recent(ish) news, games we've been playing and even a topic! We talk about our comfort games.... so download or listen in your browser and maybe send us some of your comfort games to our email below.

The Easy Button Episode 15

If you want to contact us please feel free to email us with comments, shout-outs, suggestions or questions at: the.easiestbutton AT gmail.com