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Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends is a racing video game developed by Slightly Mad Studios and published by Atari. It is the tenth main Test Drive game and the first in the series to be developed by Slightly Mad. It is a departure from the open world sandbox-gaming style seen on past Unlimited games, and returns to arcade racing just as left in Test Drive 6, also resembling the Test Drive Le Mans spin-off.

Development for the game began shortly after the release of Shift 2: Unleashed, using the same engine to showcase "convincent physics models" and a "one of a kind experience for all driving enthusiasts", with the gameplay being, as described by the developers, a balance between simulation and arcade racing.

Over 50 different Ferrari vehicles are available to drive, and each has full realistic interior and exterior models, as well as damage effects. The game was set to be released in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the first Ferrari ever built, the Ferrari 125 S of 1947.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Ferrari Racing Legends was planned to resemble past Test Drive games including Test Drive II through Test Drive 6, although with racing taking place in closed circuits and inspired by other Slightly Mad Studios' developed games such as the Need for Speed: Shift series, on which the game bases its dynamic models and damage effects. Rather than concentrate solely on Ferrari’s road cars, the game covers several race series including Formula One, rally and GT racing.

Campaign

Main article: Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends/Campaign

The campaign mode guides the player through the history of Ferrari cars, similar to what Electronic Arts did with the Porsche brand in the fifth installment in the Need for Speed racing game series, Porsche Unleashed. Players complete missions such as racing, time trials and test runs whilst following the story of the protagonist and the racing team's colleagues through the years. Playing through the campaign unlocks cars and courses for quick race modes and multiplayer.

This mode spans three eras in Ferrari’s history. Players are not restricted to play straight through history, having the option to start the career in any era.

  • Gold Era - 1947 to 1973
  • Silver Era - 1974 to 1990
  • Modern Era - 1990 to 2011

Multiplayer

The game features online multiplayer featuring up to 8-player interactions. Additional vehicles and courses are unlocked for multiplayer upon playing the campaign.

Vehicles

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Main article: Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends/Vehicles

A total of over fifty vehicles are available to play, featuring models from every decade, starting with the 125 S and 166 Inter from the 1940s, through to the 458 Italia from 2009.

Eleven of those fifty models are single-seater cars, including the Ferrari F2008; twelve are sport cars, including the FXX; and twenty-seven are GT cars, including the famous 348 Spider and the 575M Maranello.

Suzy Wallace - producer at Slightly Mad Studios - in an interview with Jeff Gedgaud from Yahoo! stated that "we worked closely with Ferrari in making sure that the models of the car[s] were accurate. That involved getting CAD data and blueprints for the cars, as well as technical information and specs for the cars." She (Wallace) also mentions that car customisation would not be available on the game, as "Ferrari doesn't allow us," further explaining that "they [Ferrari] feel that each car comes out of the factory perfectly balanced."[1]

Courses

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Main article: Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends/Courses

Thirty six courses are featured in the game, with some also being featured in a number of historical configurations, such as the Silverstone Circuit which can be experienced in three different ways - 1959, 1975, and 2009 layouts. The game also features closed tracks such as Rouen, along with the fictitious tracks of Misty Loch.

Achievements

Main article: Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends/Achievements and Trophies

Development

Slightly Mad Studios started development on Ferrari Racing Legends just after finishing Shift 2: Unleashed, using the same engine developed by them in their previous project.

Peter Banks, a marketing director for Atari, said in an interview “This was probably the hardest part of the process”. “We tried to strike a balance. Classic and modern, well-known and more obscure. Basically, our producers and the folks at Ferrari just sat down with the vehicle list and pulled out their favorite cars, as well as some that we felt hadn’t been fully explored in the genre to date.[2]

Jim Wilson, CEO of Atari, stated that “Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends is a landmark chapter of the iconic Test Drive saga,[...], Ferrari has been an essential partner throughout the history of the Test Drive franchise, and the opportunity to celebrate the unrivaled Ferrari Racing Team and the legendary Ferrari brand promises a one of a kind experience for all driving enthusiasts.”.[3]

Alain Falc, CEO of BigBen Interactive, commented that "We're really excited in distributing this 20th Test Drive title with such a great brand featured in the game as Ferrari. The history of the brand is well represented in this simulation with more than 50 mythic vehicles, 36 tracks and with more than 100 different events to achieve. Slightly Mad Studios has done a really good job on the development and all gamers will be quite surprised with this beautiful title. A praise to Ferrari and the Test Drive license."[4]

Reception

Critics positively commented the depiction of the cars, including the physics model, as well for the game possibly pleasing enthusiasts, specially Ferrari fans. They criticised the visuals, the punishing career mode with very unbalanced difficulty, as well as lack of variety especially in the first hours. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 61.08% and 61/100 and the PlayStation 3 version 59.75% and 61/100.

Media

References

Test Drive Series
Mainline Entries Test Drive · The Duel: Test Drive II · Test Drive III: The Passion · Test Drive 4 · Test Drive 5 · Test Drive 6 · Test Drive: Overdrive · Test Drive Unlimited · Test Drive Unlimited 2 · Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends · Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown
Off-Road Series Test Drive Off-Road · Test Drive Off-Road 2 · Test Drive Off-Road 3 · Test Drive Off-Road Wide Open
Other Games Test Drive Le Mans (1999) · Test Drive Le Mans (2000) · Test Drive Cycles · Test Drive 2001 · Test Drive: Eve of Destruction
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