Five Features Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown Needs to Succeed | traction

It has been over 10 years since the last Test Drive Unlimited game was released. Test Drive Unlimited 2 (TDU 2) was released back in 2011 with Way, Way, 2006 original Test Drive Unlimited (TDU).

With so much time between releases, what does Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown need to do to stand out and thrive in 2023?

The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in Test Drive Unlimited 2 – a pre-order bonus

I was a huge fan of the Test Drive Unlimited series when they were first released. I remember staying up and going to my local GameStop to wait outside until midnight to get my hard copy of the game. Yes, it was released so long ago you still had to go to a store to pick it up.

I also pre-ordered the game, which meant I got access to the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, which was the game’s flagship.

Trial Drive Unlimited and 2 Xbox 360The two “originals” were created by a different development team than the upcoming Solar Crown

When it was announced that the series was returning, I was incredibly excited. While the series was ahead of its time back then, other games have since caught up and offer many of the same features.

Here’s what we think KT Racing needs to add to stay true to the original while improving on a winning formula.

A lifelike map

Now, if you look back at the first Test Drive Unlimited games, they might not look great by current graphics standards. Additionally, games like Forza Horizon and The Crew feature large open worlds that players will spend hours exploring.

But it’s not until you go back and play the original TDU and TDU 2 that you begin to understand the scale of the map those games had.

The original TDU map was 1,545 km², with the sequel being even larger at 2,116.6 km². Those are some gargantuan numbers, but how does that compare to current games?

Try the 2 unlimited cardA big card is cool, but a characterful card extends the lifespan

Well, Forza Horizon 4, released in 2018, had a map size of just 72 km². That means TDU’s map was 21.5 times larger than Forza Horizon 4’s map, while TDU 2’s map was 30 times larger!

Even better, in the second TDU you could then go to the game’s airport and fly back to the original game’s map and drive around. So you have two big tickets in one game. For a game released primarily for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2011, that’s mighty impressive.

That’s not to say those environments were perfect. Because the maps are so large, it can sometimes feel like a chore to drive to certain areas and unlock the entire map. It was difficult to discover all the streets and although it wasn’t an official event it felt like a challenge of its own. You’d know if you’ve explored a particular road as it turns blue as soon as you start driving – something the Forza Horizon games are inspired by when the routes turn from gray to white.

Try the Solar Crown Unlimited Gas StationThe hustle and bustle is not present in the Solar Crown stills, at least so far

When you started exploring, when you published the world yourself, it felt pretty empty. While AI-controlled cars roamed the streets, there weren’t many of them, and when you encountered one, they drove slowly – it felt like they were an afterthought.

That’s one thing Solar Crown needs to address. Players are no longer drawn to an open world just because it’s big. The world itself needs to have challenges, find items, and most importantly, it needs to feel alive and not like I’m the only one driving in it.

Having a large open world is fine, but having the ability to explore and keep players busy for hours is what the world needs to achieve and it needs to have a unique character.

Interactive traders

This ties in with the way of life in the world. A distinctive element of the Test Drive Unlimited series was visiting dealerships to buy cars. You couldn’t just go to an in-game store/menu and buy it digitally.

What made it more realistic was the fact that certain car brands had different dealerships. You couldn’t go to a Honda dealership and buy a Maserati. No, if you really wanted that trident, you drove to a Maserati-specific outlet.

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown dealerTraders will return in Solar Crown – but how they work is still unclear

Once you arrived at the dealership, you got out of your car and entered the dealership where you would find the cars that you could buy in the showroom. You were free to roam around the dealership and if you weren’t sure what to buy you could take it for a test drive, get ready!

This is something we feel needs to be in Solar Crown and thankfully her return has been confirmed. We haven’t seen them in action yet though, and it sounds like most (aside from Ferrari and Lamborghini) will feature a mix of vehicle brands. How you interact and move around with other online players will be a key feature.

Test Drive Unlimited Alfa Romeo Dealership within the PS2 versionTest Drive Unlimited Alfa Romeo Dealership within the PS2 version

Being able to freely walk through dealerships and choose which car you would buy is still unique to the series. I should be able to drive to a brand specific dealership, hop out of my car, go through the doors and walk over to each car and buy it. It won’t be enough that it just feels separate and not like a free-room experience. This is one of the most important aspects that you have to get absolutely accurate.

The return of the houses

From the looks of it, while dealers and workshops were confirmed for Solar Crown, homes were also a big part of the former title’s appeal.

Before buying a new car in previous games, you had to make sure you had enough inventory space around the house to store it.

Try Unlimited 2 Home

Depending on its size, each house offered more or less garage space. If you bought a mega villa, you can store more cars than if you bought a small two-story villa. Throughout the story, you earned money that you could use to buy houses and cars.

In TDU 2, houses have been taken to another level by allowing players to customize the interior of their houses. Fancy a change in furniture color or floor material? you could do that Think of F1 Life from F1 22 but more immersive.

Try Drive Unlimited 2 Home GarageYour house in TDU 2 stored cars, but not much else

Houses were freely accessible, as were merchants. While they didn’t offer much more than storage, the ability to walk around was still a great addition. As soon as you were about to leave, you headed to your garage where your cars were stored and got in for a ride.

We want them to return, but also do more than just storage. This could be used to invite friends over to play, sleep through the night if you don’t want to drive in the dark, or even manage player stats. Getting houses to actually be used in the game will go a long way in keeping players occupied when they’re not driving.

A licensing system

Do you want to get into a Bugatti Chiron and drive off right away? Well, that wasn’t the case in previous games. The earlier games had a licensing system that required you to pass various driving tests in order to drive faster cars.

Pagani Test Drive Unlimited 2Do you want the Pagani? you deserve it

While the driving test can likely be revamped, we think the return of a revamped driver’s license system will still be a nice addition while also helping story progression. We are here to earn the best vehicles or unlock the toughest challenges.

A strong selection of cars and bikes

This is probably the most important element.

We hope Solar Crown has a wide range of cars. A game like this is buggy from the get-go unless there is a substantial body of cars to work towards.

Triumph Speed ​​​​Triple in the Drive Unlimited testThe older TDu games feature motorcycles – and the KT engine is used for both RiMS and TT Isle of Man, so this could be possible for Solar Crown

TDU 2 offered over 75 cars ranging from sports cars to supercars and hypercars. So far we have received some information about cars that will be included in the new game, but we assume that there must be a lot more to meet our requirements.

It would also be a bonus if the development team added the ability to race motorcycles as well. TDU 2 had this, and while not as fun as the supercars, the option added variety, plus the KT Engine Solar Crown had previously been used on cars (see WRC) and bikes (see TT Isle of Man or RiMS Racing ).

No pressure…

We could move on to other things like vehicle customization and the casino, but we’ll have to end this article at some point or we’d both be here forever…

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown has some big shoes to fill for a series that’s been gone for over a decade. Meanwhile, titles like Forza Horizon 5 and Need for Speed ​​Unbound have filled the gap, and The Crew Motorfest is slated for release later that year.

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown Audi beachSolar Crown looks and sounds promising so far, but Forza Horizon, The Crew, and Need for Speed ​​have pushed the game forward since the last TDU

The original games were special and if they follow the general concept of these, KT Racing and Nacon should be fine. That’s not to say we just want redesigned versions of the two originals, though. We still want new features to be brought to the game while improving the mechanics of the original.

What do you think you have to add to Solar Crown? Let us know in the comments below.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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