Things were looking bleak for UK players looking forward to Test Drive Ferrari Racing Legends. Already plagued by delays, its belated release last month in every territory other than the UK successfully scorned fans, and the publisher's suspicious silence on the matter didn't exactly help.
We were therefore starting to accept the possibility that Test Drive: Ferrari was never destined for us Brits. Imagine my surprise, then, over what I found when casually lurking on the PSN store this week. Initially I thought my eyes were deceiving me, but stealthily tucked away within the latest releases was a 2.3GB digital download for Test Drive: Ferrari.
In line with the overall marketing of Test Drive Ferrari, this unexpected release was never officially announced, so it caught me completely off guard.
Interestingly, UK Xbox 360 users have still been left out as Test Drive: Ferrari isn't available to download on XBLA. There's also still no word whether or not we will ever see an official boxed copy in the UK either, so for now this could be the only way to enjoy an official UK copy.
At £39.99, it isn't exactly cheap when you consider that the US version currently retails for nearly half that. If you want to own a physical disc version, there are alternatives however.
After hunting around, we found that UK-based online retailer Coolshop are currently offering Test Drive Ferrari at the best price. At the time of writing, the PS3 version is available in stock for £31.50 and the Xbox 360 version is slightly more expensive at £36.95 – both come with free delivery, too. Unlike many other sources, you're also getting a European PAL copy as opposed to the US version.
We'll probably never know exactly why Test Drive Ferrari was effectively banned from the UK, although either distribution or Ferrari licensing issues still seem the most likely cause. Indeed, it seems that there could be some sort of bizarre Ferrari licsensing issue in the UK judging from previous problems – Ferrari: The Race Experience was only released on the PSN, and Outrun Online Arcade was mysteriously pulled from sale.
Nevertheless, at least UK players finally have viable alternative methods to obtain the game after such a colossal marketing disaster. Whether it was worth the arduous wait and hassle is another matter, though.