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Hit the gas!
The original Test Drive racing simulator spawned almost uncountable sequels and updates over the years, with some variation in quality but maintaining a general sense of decency. This 2002 take on the franchise is very much a middle ranking effort which, despite the flashier graphics, does little to revitalize things. As usual with the series, the focus is on driving around numerous pretty landscapes at high speed, enjoying the feel of the open road and the imaginary wind rushing through your hair. This time around, there are four areas to explore, namely San Francisco, Tokyo, London and Monaco and compared to previous installments, there's a greater sense of freedom as the areas are designed to open world, which can be driven around largely at will. Whichever area you're in, there's plenty of races to get stuck into as well as multiple, branching routes which helps to add some interest to things. There's also the addition of a sort of story mode, again in an effort to help make the game stand out and while the tale of an independent street race trying to move up the ranks of the circuit is intriguing, it all basically boils down to more of the same stuff. The visuals are definitely a high point of the game, and the tracks are both well designed and very pretty to behold, with lots of detail to admire as you whip past at high speed. The racing itself is largely enjoyable, with plenty of ridiculous chases and races to enjoy, including some cool jumps, but there's something strangely lacking about the whole which prevents it from being a classic. Jump in by all means and have a blast, but expect to feel slightly hollow afterwards.
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