Yes, I’m back playing Test Drive Unlimited 2 (TDU2) as a way of weaning myself off LEGO Star Wars III. Or something. Actually it’s become my zone-out game lately.
I’ve been working my way through the various hitchhiker missions, and finding them a lot of fun, and some challenge. And then there are the “Tail” missions, where you have to pick up a guy who thinks his girlfriend is cheating on him.
You have to tail the girlfriend’s car, staying far enough back that she’s not suspicious, but not so far back that you lose her. They’re not difficult, but they are frustrating and irritating. The first problem is that it doesn’t seem to matter what car they’re using, they’re able to accelerate away in a rather incongruous fashion, meaning it’s far too easy to ‘lose’ them. The second problem is that you can ‘lose’ them, even when you can still see the actual car – that leads to incredible frustration. Conversely, the third problem is that it’s often hard to track the vehicle’s distance visually, with the icon being your only aid.
How they should have ‘tuned’ the Tail mission.
The first, most obvious thing to me, is they should have not had the target vehicle being able to accelerate so well unless it was appropriate to the vehicle. It didn’t seem to matter what vehicle they had, I managed to ‘lose’ them occasionally due to them screaming away.
Beyond that, I think the ‘chase icon’ above the target vehicle could have been used to far greater effect. When you’re at the ‘right’ distance, the icon is green. Should you stray too close, or lag too far behind it goes yellow, then red (and your passenger whines). The real problem here is that the yellow transition is too fast. Regardless of whether you’re going too fast, or too slow, you’ll barely see that yellow before you get the red icon. Widening the ‘band’ of yellow, I think, would make it easier. That way you can see it slowly change to yellow and get more warning to hit the anchors, or the accelerator.
Lastly, losing them shouldn’t be possible if you can see them. This usually happens on a long straight. You can see them in the distance, but you lose them. I think the answer here is to define ‘losing’ differently depending on whether they’re in a straight line from you, or one (or more) corners away from you. You’re less likely to still be able to see them if they’ve gone round a corner or two.
Still, for all the issues I’ve mentioned, these aren’t that hard. A fast car is essential; since I did these fairly late, because I was avoiding them, I used the Nissan GT-R.
Focus more on the mini-map than on the car you’re following. It’s sometimes difficult to track the distance of the girlfriend’s car if the road is winding, or there’s a lot of traffic in the way. An easier method, though it does mean you need to keep one eye on the map and the other on the road, is to use the map. The girlfriend’s car is represented by a circle, your car by an arrow. When the tip of the arrow is just touching the circle, then you’re at a good distance. If the arrow begins to disappear under the circle, then you need to hit the brakes, or risk getting too close. Obviously the further away from the arrow the circle is, the more likely you are to lose your quarry.
Using these two tips I was able to complete all the Tail missions easily, with no restarts (or whiny complaints from my passenger).