I’m quite a big fan of racing games, but recently, I don’t honestly feel there’s been all that much to get excited about. While the likes of Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport and Project Gotham Racing are all pretty good games, there’s just something about doing laps of a circuit that I don’t find all that exciting.

I remember when The Need for Speed first came out, I thought it was fantastic. To me, fast cars mean driving on roads, with traffic and cops to contend with – before I ever owned a PC, I used to love playing Test Drive 2 on my friend’s Dad’s machine. Of course, in both of those games, you were only ever really driving in a straight line, but the illusion of being free to drive on public roads worked nevertheless.

Unfortunately, both the Test Drive and Need for Speed series went off the boil, and produced some sub-standard (in the case of the former) and gimmicky (in the case of the latter) sequels and follow-ups that never quite recaptured the feeling of their respective high points.

Recently though, I’ve been playing the latest TD game, Test Drive Unlimited – and it’s quite good, too. Of course, my PC couldn’t possibly handle the Windows version, so my PS2 has to come creaking into action. The developers have actually done a pretty good job in squeezing it onto Sony’s aging console – and although they’ve had to cut some corners, it looks pretty good and runs smoothly. The PC version looks even better, though.

Anyway, you’re given the freedom of Hawaii to drive around and pretty much do as you please. To progress, you obviously need to start getting involved in races and earning money to upgrade your car, but if you don’t want to do that, you can just, well, drive. It’s like GTA without the guns and a more realistic driving model, or Midtown Madness with wide-open spaces…