You! Stop right there! Yes, you. You know who you are. Came to look at Euro Truck Simulator 2 for a laugh, and now just about to toddle off and update your Facebook or something. Well, you just hold your horses.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "geeky". You're thinking "sad". You're thinking you may have left that pizza in the oven a tad too long, but I digress.....
Euro Truck Simulator is a genuinely good game, by the standards of any game. Take me for example, I have an eclectic mix of titles - in the last three days I have played XCOM- Enemy Unknown, Battlefield 3, X3: Reunion, The Sims 3 and Portal. Yes, I'm unemployed, but this doesn't detract from my point, which goes thusly; I have played all those games, and Euro Truck Simulator stands up to them. In fact, it's even commanded the lion's share of my time, so at the least it deserves a goodly amount of fair consideration. To business!!
For the slower reader, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is a game which simulates the driving of trucks around Europe. For this reason alone, it is best perhaps to imagine this as a driving simulator, a very good one, but it actually packs a good game mechanic behind it. You start off as Jimmy Tenbellies, or whatever you decide to name your prospective trucker, and you're given a small garage and access to a small number of contract jobs. Initially, you have to use the equipment of others, which pays less overall but carries less financial risk as all petrol, repairs and other associated costs stay with the employer. So, you ferry their cargo back and forth, earning some money, admiring the rather good graphical engine, and generally "earning your bellies" as a truck driver. After each job, you'll earn experience points (XP) and use it to boost your earnings with various types of cargo, from heavy machinery to explosives, milk to toxic gas.....and all goes to increase your earning potential.
Time passes, you stop hitting railings and piddly lesser vehicles, and you have some money to buy yourself a truck! Here's where the game expands. As you explore you will find truck dealerships you can then visit later to browse nice new, shiny trucks. These come with a variety of upgrades, attachments, bells and whistles for those with the cash and inclination. Once you obtain your fine chunk of mobile metal, the business management side of the game kicks in, with your onus switching to job selection, driver hire, business upgrades.....it's a fully fledged simulator!
There are obvious foibles. Driver AI is (mostly funny) erratic occasionally, and I have experienced the odd crash to desktop and blue screen of death issue, but by and large this is a game that will grip you, with a few provisos. Obviously it helps if you're into trucks, but it isn't mandatory. If you're looking for a title that is strategic, with character progression, business simulation and a good, solid, extremely playable gameplay element, then this could be that "something different" you're after. Hell, it'll even throw in an in-game .MP3 player and real time internet radio streaming function, just for realism.
In short, dismissing this game at face value would be a crime. I am learning to appreciate simulators like this (Railworks 3 is also great) as good games in their own right, and they deserve attention equal to mainstream titles. In my view it's worth a shot and more, it'll leave you pleasantly suprised, I think.