Euro Truck Simulator 2 Review (PC)
Many was the hour I whiled away as a child inside a cardboard box, pretending to be a trucker. My “truck” provided safe passage for me and my cargo from the living room to the bedroom, and on occasion even the garden! Okay, so maybe that never happened – and I’d be surprised if it ever has to any child – but if it had I imagine I’d be pretty excited about the release of “Euro Truck Simulator 2” from SCS Software.
The latest in a long line of similar titles ETS2 has been eagerly awaited by the simulation community (seriously). Over the past couple of weeks I have gotten to know the game fairly well. I know too well the glory of parking perfectly, and so also do I know the sting of tipping my truck just minutes from my destination. Euro Truck Sim is a “game” that holds many frustrations and surprises.
The game starts off with a tutorial to help you get to grips with the controls and the interface. On offer are three control schemes – keyboard only, mouse and keyboard, and steering wheel. I opted for mouse and keyboard movement. The mouse is used to turn and the “w” and “d” keys are used to accelerate/decelerate. Being a game about trucking, you are of course tasked with driving cargo from point A to point B with little deviation in between. This at first may appear fairly linear but there are upgrades and a levelling structure to keep you from getting bored.
Contract work will keep the player busy for the majority of the early game. Using a map screen you can select from a variety of different jobs in varied locations throughout Europe. Completing jobs earns cash that can be used to upgrade your truck cosmetically, buy new trucks, or even start your own trucking business. Choosing to do the latter opens up a whole host of options. You can hire drivers, buy new business premises and expand your fleet of trucks, all the while trying to keep your bank statements in the black, of course!
Completing deliveries gives experience that is used to level up. Levelling up grants perks such as the ability to transport explosive materials, better fuel efficiency and better salaries. Levels are capped at 40 providing lots to do for the completionist.
When not on the job you are free to explore the entirety of the map. Doing so you will discover garages where trucks can be pimped and painted, recruitment agencies where you can find more jobs, and truck dealerships from a variety of manufacturers. It pays to explore the map a little – however bland and lifeless it might be.
Graphically the game took me by surprise. Vehicle models are very detailed and nice to look at, the world is rendered nicely and the day/night cycle is quite realistic. Environmental effects such as rain cast hundreds of tiny droplets of water onto your windshield and the wipers smear them across the glass nicely. There is a lot of attention to detail, making for (at times) an immersive experience. It is a shame that the same attention was not paid to the rest of the map. Environments, although nice, are repeated fairly often with assets reused ad-nauseum. More importantly, where are the people? In my twenty-five hours or so of playing I encountered absolutely no pedestrians despite the option being enabled in the menu. Annoyances like that make an otherwise enjoyable experience, hollow and soulless. I am sure the modding scene (again, seriously) will take care of both of those problems.
The game also stumbles in the audio department. The usual elevator music litters the menus and I opted to mute it – I disliked it that much. On a brighter note the game also includes the ability to stream radio in-game. SCS have included a number of European radio stations with a variety of genres. If you have a favourite station you can add the stream file and listen away while driving. Such a simple feature does wonders for the immersion factor of Euro Truck Simulator 2. The option to add your own MP3 files into the games document folder enables custom playlists but I found it a little temperamental with my files.
Recently in the UK PC game charts both “Farming Sim 2013” and “Euro Truck Simulator 2” ranked in the top ten. This strikes me as odd, mostly due to simulation games being the butt of a lot of jokes. Are people buying these games as a gag? Have we reached a point where people have realised the entertainment potential of such titles and are ready to embrace them? I can’t say for sure but I hope it is the latter.
“Euro Truck Simulator 2” has exceeded my expectations many times over. My expectations were never high to begin with though. I thought I’d be reviewing one of those shovelware titles, but I was wrong. Euro Truck Simulator 2 is an extremely high quality title that has been built by people who understand their market. Who’d have guessed I’d be humbled by a game about trucking?
If you are patient, like trucks and are looking for something different I highly recommend this game.
I may come under fire for this….
8 mother-truckers out of 10