After years and years of anticipation, we finally locked eyes on Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown gameplay yesterday during Nacon's TDU Connect presentation. While the game didn't quite shout 'next-gen racer' during its gameplay debut (we're hoping it'll be nice and polished up for 2024), it did look very Test Drive Unlimited of old, and that excites me a lot given how much I personally loved the series on Xbox 360.
The first game in particular was incredibly impressive at the time of release. In 2006, racing fans were treated to a huge open world affair that took place on an impressively large rendition of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. In fact, TDU 1 was probably the first truly open world racing game many Xbox players would have experienced at the time, given that Need for Speed's locales were always limited and the likes of Forza hadn't gone open world yet.
It wasn't just the sheer scale of Test Drive Unlimited that impressed either; the variety of content within its open world was a huge plus point too. This series has never been solely about racing - collecting cars, accumulating houses, visiting casinos, taking part in GTA-like delivery/escort missions are huge parts of the experience as well. Back in the day I used to be obsessed with getting perfect scores on those expensive car deliveries in TDU 1!