Reviewed: October 17, 2011
Released: September 23, 2011
Growing up, I was fascinated with large machines like monster trucks and trains. I largely grew up in a fairly quite town with little to do, so it was pretty cool when a train would go through our little corner of Americana. Trains vary from old workhorse delivery lines to majestic beauties that transport passengers in style across country. I remember owning train sets featuring some of the most famous cargo lines in rail history. Now I can experience some of those old classics as well as some modern lines spanning several continents digitally in RailWorks 3: Train Simulator 2012 for PC.|
Train Simulator 2012 brings the same great train experience as its predecessor with added rail lines and engines as well as some added technical enhancements, which includes the new TSX game engine. This new engine allows for even more realistic sounds and graphics including greater draw distances and particle effects such as rain drops. There are plenty of upgrades that will keep current train-simmers at their computers for the foreseeable future?
The game definitely has a lot to offer new and current users of the RailWorks franchise. The thing about simulation games is that they need to truly immerse the player in the environment by feeling as real as possible. Iíve played train sims before and this is by far the best out there. The tracks and environments are nicely created complete with realistic terrain difference and well created curve simulations. As much as I liked taking an old 7F2-2-8-0 BR Black steam engine across snowy terrain I really enjoyed going at 125mph from Newcastle to York in a High Speed Train BR Blue.
Players have a slew of available modes to partake in such as the Standard, Career and Free Roam Modes. Standard and Career modes test your train operating skills as you must deliver goods or passengers or both to their destinations safely. You even have to make sure you follow the rail speed limits or disastrous consequences could happen. I actually preferred to take the more casual route and engage in Free Roam. Here you can explore any of the 8 tracks with the trains that are native to them.
While Iím no designer and I would probably be the cause of a train wreck, Train Simulator 2012 gives those that have the designing touch a better set of tools to create their own tracks, assets and trains. One of the cool features about Train Simulator 2012 is that if you canít find your favorite tracks or trains there are plenty of licensed add-ons for you to purchase as well as user-created content to add to the fun.
The thing I liked most about Train Simulator 2012 even more than the excellent environments were the detailed train graphics. I spent hours driving around trains just so I could look them over at every possible angle comparing them to images of the real things. The attention to detail and animations on every engine and railcar is simply amazing and totally immersive. The added particle effects that I mentioned look awesome as you use the wipers on the modern trains to wipe the rain drops away so you can see. To complement the authentic visuals you will also get the same attention to detail in the realistic audio. I was very pleased as I heard a steam locomotive start up or the clack of wheels as you travel along the tracks.
RailWorks 3: Train Simulator 2012 has a lot to offer those that have a diehard passion for trains of all types. It definitely adds some new features to the series that they will appreciate. I enjoyed it in the sense that it resparked a little bit of my childhood but it isnít something that I can find myself playing long term. If you are a fan of trains or model trains and want to experience a virtual adaptation of one of America's most enduring hobbies then I absolutely recommend Train Simulator 2012, one of the most detailed simulators that Iíve ever seen on PC.