Top critical review
11 people found this helpful
on 2 July 2014
I read all the comments on here and I admit to having been nervous about the large number of bad reviews; knowing that I can be impatient with games (any software come to that) which is not intuitively straight forward to pick up, my instincts were that laying out dosh on this little piece of entertainment might be a waste. The many complaints about the tedium of setting up the train was a major put-off. Nonetheless I was keen to give it a try and when a friend asked me what I might like for a present I suggested this.
At least then it won’t be my money wasted! It really can’t be that bad, I thought to myself. I enjoy Train Simulator and I’d really love to drive the underground, so I’ll go for it.
I should have trusted my first instincts. This game stinks!
The real problem with this game is the interface. I could just about cope with having to set the train up – switching on the tail lights, then moving to the front of the train and setting up the other lights, heating, ventilation, etc. After all one presumes that is what you would have to do in the real world. But the difficulty is that this isn’t the real world and finding a way of interacting with this virtual version in such a way that this setting-up process does not become tedious to the point of distraction is a major challenge. It is a challenge that this game wholly fails to meet. So painful is the process that you just end up thinking: you know what, I just cannot be bothered.
Using a combination of the mouse and the keyboard you have to interact with this virtual world moving around the platform, entering the cabs, moving from the front to the back of the train, opening and closing cab doors, startng the train, throwing various switches and then finally getting to move. The problem is that interaction is extremely poor. The mouse movements were impossibly imprecise and once in the game my mouse did not behave at all like it does in windows. Settling on a switch, or the doors, or whatever was required was difficult to say the least. I tired to vary my mouse settings but all to no avail. To activate a switch, or a panel of switches, or a control, it is necessary to hold down the shift key whilst clicking the left mouse button. Only the left shift key worked and being left handed with the mouse this gave me an extra problem. Some functions have key board alternatives. Closing or opening the cab doors, for example, is F7. But I found that getting this to work was random. I just never succeeded in working out precisely what I had to do to close the door. I managed it eventually, most times (once or twice I gave up on this and left the game to return for another try later on), by some means the precise nature of which I was never able to determine. Naturally this meant I could not learn how to do it everytime and with that one quickly loses interest.
Remember that all of this was before one even got the train moving.
Just about the last straw for me was on about the fifth attempt at getting the hang of the “Briefing” mission. (The briefing mission is recommended as the way to learn how to set up and drive the train; I never got beyond the briefing mission!) After turning on the tail lights the idea is to follow the instructor, Danny (yeah, I know, Danny, what kind of a dumb name is that for a London Underground instructor), to the front of the train. Danny walks incredibly slowly; you walk a normal pace by pressing W and break into a trot if you press shift W. If you walk normally you overtake Danny; fed up with a stop/start walk I decided to just walk on ahead. I get to the front cab but no sign of Danny. I look back. There is a small knot of maybe half a dozen people congregated on the platform and there’s Danny, stuck right behind them, walking sedately on the spot but getting absolutely no where blocked as he is by their presence. Ones expectation is, as is usual in games, that he walks through them like they are ghosts, but not with this game. So Danny gets no where. I walk back thinking maybe I can take him by the hand but no key stroke relieves Danny of his plight and so I exit yet again so as not to leave Danny walking on the spot at Hammersmith station forever more.
At that point I gave up.
The sad point about all this is that once I did get to move the train the graphics were absolutely superb – infinitely better than Railworks Train Simulator – and the sounds and movements were extremely good and very realistic. What a pity then than there is so much so very bad about this game that all this good stuff goes hopelessly to waste.
Give us some easier interface to set the train up and to operate the controls; make closing the doors much more straightforward; forget about this nonsense of actually having to walk along the platform. It may add realism, but the cost is that too many just give up trying to come to terms with the awful response of the game to inputs. Give us those things and this game might be workable.
As it is this is a very bad deal and an utter waste of my anyone’s money.