TEST DRIVE UNLIMITED IS AS INTERESTING AS FORZA HORIZON
But Forza Horizon is a better game.
In 2021, while Need For Speed has become forgettable, we racing enthusiasts are excited for Forza Horizon 5, which takes place in Mexico. Just watching the trailer has whetted our appetite to drive either the Mercedes-Benz AMG One through the town or the new Ford Bronco across the Mexican desert.
While Forza had dominated the headline in the racing scene, another racing game was also announced, Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown. And, I’m just as excited for this game as Forza Horizon 5 because it took me back to when I played the first Test Drive Unlimited in 2006.
Look, I did play the entire Forza Horizon series since its inception in 2012 and I enjoyed all of them including the DLCs (Hot Wheels and Lego DLCs are my favourites). It’s just that the racing events are similar across the entire series, except it takes place in beautiful/weird locations. That would not be the case if you have bought all of the DLCs.
Forza and Hot Wheels. Talk about a perfect combination
This is why I have a soft spot for Test Drive Unlimited. Part of the well-established Test Drive franchise, TDU allowed me to relive my fantasy of becoming a rich playboy, dressed in my three-piece suit before joyriding around a tropical island in my supercar or owning multiple luxury homes (which you could do in Forza Horizon 4) that housed my vast collection of modern and classic wheels. Of course, car customization is limited and tuning is not as robust as what you get in Forza, but I much prefer the cars appearing in their standard form as opposed to looking like a disgusting reject for the Fast and The Furious movies.
Besides the usual racing events and challenges, Test Drive has missions where you can either earn money or shopping coupons, either as a chauffeur for fashion models or delivering a supercar/package to its destination without causing any damage.
However, the game was not perfect. Mediocre driving controls and looking at the environment was sterile and lifeless compared to the upbeat, jovial festival atmosphere you get in Forza Horizon. But for its time, I think Test Drive Unlimited gave a different approach to unleash your inner petrolhead. Sadly, its 2011 sequel was a disappointment and was broken beyond repair. It’s interesting that a year later, the first Forza Horizon game was launched and it became a runaway success ever since, while Test Drive has faded into obscurity until its current revival.
A McLaren in Lego form. Have a guess what model it's based on?
Despite my concerns, I still love Forza Horizon. It always amazed me with every new entry and they don’t mind taking a weird route when releasing new content (remember the Lego and Hot Wheels DLCs?). I know I’ll be one of the firsts to buy Forza Horizon 5 when it comes out on November 9th because I’m confident that the game will live up to my expectations.
However, after the terrible Test Drive Unlimited 2, my expectations for Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown are much lower than Forza Horizon 5. Partly because there is little information about the game at the time of writing this post (other than it is taking place in Hong Kong). With a 2022 release date, I’m sure we will know more about it once information becomes available.
For now, Forza is still the champion.