Test Drive 6 (PC) Review
Presentation/Graphics : 63
Once out on the track (or the streets, whichever the case may be), TD6 is a real mixed bag. While the colors may be a little on the drab side, they still look very nice. The detail in the background is not as extensive as NFS4, but what is there looks good. That's where the good stuff ends and the problems begin.
Once again, the cars in TD6 just don't look right. Mainly due to the overly bright colors, TD6 screams "Console port!" at the top of its lungs. I suppose that shouldn't be a surprise, since that's what it is. I do remember the cars in previous releases in the series looking better, though, so it's all a little strange. Don't get me wrong--there are spots where TD6 looks fantastic. The problem is, those spots are pretty few, and the rest seems pretty uninspired.
There are some issues that show up every now and then, such as some clipping problems and the fact that the tires aren't touching the ground, that show a lack of attention to detail. The lack of any in-car view kills any believability for me as well.
The worst offense, though, is the horrible stuttering and low frame rates. Even with a decent mid-range system like mine, it becomes intolerable unless you turn the detail or resolution down. I've heard reports from people with brand-new high-end systems having the same problems, and just can't understand how something that looks so ordinary can require so much horsepower to run.
Presentation/Audio : 55
TD6 has one thing going for it in this department--a pretty terrific soundtrack. There are several choices of music, mostly from well-known bands, and a neat Fear Factory video on the CD. If the music were in CD audio format, I might recommend purchasing TD6 for that reason, but it isn't. Even in that case, $40 is a lot to pay for a few good songs, so save your money.
Interface/Options : 65
Gameplay : 32
There are several different race modes in TD6, ranging from practice races to the career mode (in which you have to win races to buy parts to win races--we all know the drill), and yes, there is a cop chase mode. One good addition to the career mode is the ability to wager an amount, thus providing a chance to increase your winnings when you need a few bucks. Single race and tournament races round out the package.
There is a nice selection of fairly well-done tracks, based on real world locations. London, Ireland, Egypt, and Cape Hatteras are a few of them, and they do a decent job of representing their namesakes. Each is filled with recognizable landmarks, shortcuts, and interactive objects, such as boxes, carts, and barricades. The tracks are not as good as those in NFS4, but are still pretty good.
The collection of cars is pretty impressive, too, with a nice mix of vintage muscle cars (like the Shelby Cobra and Plymouth 'Cuda) and modern-day screamers (the Viper and Nissan Skyline GTR, among others). There are some unexpected vehicles included, like the Lotus Elise and Ford F-150 Lightning--nice to see the lesser-known cars represented. Don't, however, go into TD6 expecting a realistic experience with these cars. They all pretty much feel the same, with some difference in top speed and slight differences in grip. Any car at any track will yield similar times, so car selection is purely based in preference.
That all sounds pretty good, right? So why the low score? There are two major problems that make TD6 a lot less fun than it could be (in addition to the funky physics). The control and the AI. Using my ACT Labs Force RS, TD6 is all but uncontrollable, far too sensitive to wheel movement. I don't recall turning the wheel more that 15-20 degrees at any time, and even a small movement can send the car veering wildly. There is no sensitivity adjustment, or this could be overlooked. The problem seems to be worse with some cars, but it's bad with all of them.
The AI in TD6 leaves a lot to be desired, too--it seems they expend all of their energy either trying to run into you or run into other objects. There's really no impression that real people are driving the other cars, and since there's no damage modeled, most races are a series of wrecks, with the one who wrecks least winning. This title would have been considered pretty good, were it released 2 or 3 years ago. With all the competition out there today it's not near the top--other titles just offer more, and deliver it better.
Replay Value : 58
Overall : 52