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The World of Test Drive Unlimited 2

The franchise continues to blur the line between online and off, and this latest installment continues to further its open world racing experience.

The numbers behind Test Drive Unlimited 2 are impressive, but the 600 challenges, two huge islands (including the new one, Ibiza), and loads of cars aren't the whole story. This sequel is impressive because it lets you lose on the world: Whether that means letting you buy over 100 houses and furnish them, or creating your own races for your friends to race with you on the fly.

An overarching social component is a major tenant of the series, and now that you can get out of your car, you can talk with people via chat, typing, or emote icons. TD 2 will have some features that will let you keep your friends together when you're out in the world, and one of them is the ability to form clubs.

Once you hook up with your friends, whether that's by finding them by driving around or taking a gander at the map and seeing where they are among the hundreds of challenges, getting into a race is easy. You can challenge them to a spontaneous race in which the CPU will spawn the checkpoints ahead of you, or you can create one on your own and blast the invite to any friends nearby in the world.

One of the cool new race types we played at Atari's booth was a co-op follow-the-leader race where only one racer in the pack knows where the next checkpoint is. Everyone's job is to try and stick together to get all the cars there as fast as possible. Once everyone crosses the checkpoint, another random car is chosen as the leader, and everyone has to follow that person to another checkpoint. When you add on voice chat, it's a pretty cool way to blaze around TD 2's islands.

You can buy over 100 properties in the game, complete with garages, and you can also furnish them yourself

Test Drive Unlimited 2 now features a full night-to-day cycle, and flashing your lights at someone initiates the race

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