on 11 March 2010
When I first tried this game out, I thought it was great, and still do, but I feel that the publishers have brought it out too early, as it has a few faults. One being that the steering wheel 'twitches' frantically, and after about 3 or 4 re calibrations of the wheel, it may be okay. My steering wheel does the same on Euro truck sim. Sometimes it is fine, other times you just can't play!
There are a few programming niggles too, like cars that just drive into you, damaging your truck, and costing you money. Also EVERY sliproad is the same. Where ever you drive to, it is like doing the same journey. It would also be nice that when you switch companies, you should be able to drive 'trailerless' to your new job, yet it skips straight to the depot and doesn't give you the option!:-(
Over all it is good fun, but I need to sort out this twitching steering wheel as it's doing my head in!
on 27 October 2010
After playing numerous Bus Simulators, Train Simulators and Flight Simulators, I thought it was time for me to opt for another type: Truck Simulators.
I had never played a truck simulator before so I didn't have much in the way of expectations. All I really wanted was the game to work. And after playing it nearly every day for the past few weeks, I can clearly establish that it is more than that.
You start your trucker life as a employee to a company, driving loads. Your aim is to get the pre-defined loads from A to B as quickly and safely as possible. If you do this enough times, you will eventually (after 3 perfect deliveries, then 4 then 5) get promotions come through. This increases your lorry class (B is a significant step up from C in speed) and gives you more money per delivery. Once you've reached the top class, you will be offered three different trucks and a chance to go indepdent. This is where the games multiple features start to kick in.
By being independent, you can choose your own loads to deliver, and keep every penny of the share to yourself. That means that those £10,000 in 6 deliveries can be done in 1 delivery or less in indepdent mode. However you will need to pay for all repairs, damages and fuel costs, however it still works out better value. Again, you will be offered another 'promotion' to buy a cheap, tatty garage to start your trucking business. To get the best value out of it, you need to employ drivers (which you can find lurking around many cities) and then buy them another cheap truck. They will rack in cash, you will rack in cash and eventually you should be a multi-million trucker (or something similar!)
This way of career mode gives it a typical life of a driver feel, a natural progress (albeit a LOT quicker), and a sense of personal satisfaction. You are constantly in indirect contact with a bloke named Steve, who is basically the guy who gives you promotions. You tend to get one email telling you what is going to happen, another email telling you its going to happen, and a final email to give you what he said would happen. This happens at nearly every progress point in the 'story' mode. I have yet to 'finish' the game (although it never finishes) so I don't know if this Steve bloke has a significance or whether he is a just a helpful storyteller!
The handling of the cabs are very well thought out. Despite it being amazingly quiet inside the game and very loud outside (using the many different camera angles the game supports), C class type vehicles tend to be a bit more nimple due to their low top speed. A class vehicles in comparison are quite sturdy beasts, and really do help when reversing a load into a bay. Again this process takes a long time to get to grips with. A tip I found useful was to go into the yard with my load, in Cab View (default Key 1) and drive longways (ie if I turn my drivers head to the left I see the front of the other loads) two spaces past the one I want to park in then swing my cab to face the gates. This usually lines me up enough to make some quick steering changes and get me in the space required. It does require skill but by pressing default Key F2 to show your mirrors, it is a lot easier.
Luckily, any load you recieve does have an effect on your speed and handling. So if your transporting glass panels, which are very light, expect to go speeding off even in C class quite easily, but be prepared for your load to sway a lot. Likewise if you are carrying a special Digger, it will take ages to speed up, and even then you wont properly pass 50mph, but it feels a lot more stable. The fact that SCS have gone to the trouble to make these little changes instead of go for the norm of keeping everything the same shows a sort of passion for their title, and makes it a load more like a simulator.
Graphically, the game is good, but not great. Trees create shadows, truck are detailed well, loads have correct badges on and easy enough to read. The bad things are that the rain, while it works well in terms of handling, doesnt look nice in the cab or outside. It feels very early-GTA rather than late-Heavy Rain. Also the overall look feels ever so slightly dated in overall appearance. Every city you visit looks essentially the same with a few different roads chucked in for good measure. However this is completely excusable for the massive portrayal of motorway networks the game has invested in. While it may be a scale replica of the UK's main motorways and A roads, getting from Felixstowe to Cardiff can take the best part of half hour in-game, and Plymouth to Aberdeen can take the best part of more than a hour. So we can completely excuse SCS for not making cities unique, but at least they improvised materials already used.
If you are looking to crash your truck, not only will you get a hefty fine of a unlimited amount, the damage will not be seen on your truck. Much like every other SCS game, damage to your vehicle is only mechanic, not cosmetic. While they may look nice in some viewpoints, they really will not help your ranking or career! Equally about prices, speeding is a no-no for the most part. The game is generous, giving you a good 10mph leaway on your speed limit Ie 30mph can go to 40mph before a ticket, 60mph can go to 70mph. While we disagree slightly with the 30mph speed limit barieer (owing that is national speed limit for the roads we go down), we kindly thank SCS for letting us go at car speed limit on motorways! Also if your worryed about not slowing down in time from say 60mph to 40mph by the speed limit sign, the game does also give you about 5 seconds leyway to slow down, which is a good thing.
The sounds are realistic for finding the bite to change gear, although I have yet to figure out how to get the radio working. Also, when you are narrowing delivery time, you get some very dramatic music. It works in some cases but if you are having a painstaking time reversing your truck in the bay the music is so annoying. Also there are numerous beep and cash noises for various alerts and expedentures, which is useful. The sound, in all fairness, is however quite dry and muntane, much like a truckers life would be.
The AI is probably the major letdown of the game. While on the motorways they travel at the speed limit, the vehicles themselves tend to slow down below 30mph on windy 60mph country roads, making for constant overtaking (resulting in a Wrong Way penalty if you slow down to stop from hitting a lorry coming at you). Also at roundabouts and junctions, they do not care if you are in the lane, or on the roundabout all ready, they will just keep going, crash into you, and you pay the price. While driving AI has never been perfect, for it be a dumb as this, and make my player the price is much more insane!
A few tips I learnt in this game to make your C class lorry faster, turn the gear from Auto to Manual. This does give a significant speed boost and you learn how to press the button that changes gears quickly. Also it pays to keep your money safe, as garages and trucks are not cheap, and when starting out your own business, you will have enough to worry about. Also, you will at some point want a Fuel Oil Tanker license, which shall set you out pocket especially if you fail the test, so learn to drive!
Overall, I was hugely impressed by the vast amount of options, hiring and firing drivers, buying and upgrading lorries, choosing multiple loads and the career progression. I was also left bewildered by the insanely good handling for a simulator and graphical quality on the par. The only few things I would say is that the cities can get boring when they all the look the same with no small features and the soundtrack can be tiring. But apart from the normal chore of everyday life, this game doesnt feel like one, and the satification you get out of finishing a delivery is amazing. Must Buy!
on 28 November 2010
I bought this because I live in the UK and I thought it would be fun to run up and down the country virtually. Problem is, it's not in ANY way like the real world. The motorways are generic, the M1 between London and Cambridge is mainly dual carriageway!!! It advertises many cities to visit, except, there isn't, there are a few small industrial estates called London, Cambridge etc but bear no resemblance to the real world. There are no rules on the road, articulated lorries bowl along on the outside lane and if you think it'd be fun to cause a jam by sitting in the outside lane everyone will undertake you! (This bit is more real!) Finally I thought it'd be fun to buy and get the truck jack-knifing down the motorway, except no matter how hard I try I can't get it to do it! Also the handling is fantastic, 50mph round a tight left and no understeer! Ok, so it hardly does what it says on the tin and the game is basic (though the trucks are beautifully modelled), yet I'm still playing it for hour or so here and there, it's strangely therapeutic and a different experience to other games. It you buy it with eyes open, and I hope this review allows that, you may also enjoy it in parts and find yourself happy to trundle up and down something that looks a bit british. Me, I'll keep playing a little here and there, and if they bring out virtual caravanner (cause jams everywhere you go and get to flip it after losing control at 80mph!) or virtual sales-rep (frustrated at lack of power in repmobile, goes everywhere at high revs and has to get to meetings on time) I'd probably buy them and have a bit of a play not expecting much. Buy, try, you might enjoy it?!?