Reviewed: July 14, 2010
Released: July 19, 2010
Because of the novelty of its niche subject matter, I was a bit curious about giving 1C Companyís RigíníRoll a shot. A big rig driving and economic simulation that follows the trucking aspirations of a young man in 2024, RigíníRoll boasts over 1,200 miles of in-game asphalt depicting real California roads.|
Gameplay is simple and comes in two modes: Story and Single Mission. Both modes are pretty self-explanatory. Single Mission allows you to choose a starting warehouse location, from which you can pick from a variety of transport missions, and the game ends when the mission is complete.
In Story mode, you play Nick Armstrong, a trucker and entrepreneur who has dreams of running the best cargo transporting company in California. To compete with other carriers, however, he has to earn money, make friends, and gradually expand his business. The story includes a number of cut scenes and introduces several additional characters, but as far as Iíve observed, itís best not to expect the plot to be a strong motivator to play the game.
As a trucking simulation, RigíníRoll definitely caters to a particular niche audience and incorporates rather detailed truck controls, including headlights (which you must turn on manually at night to see), turn signals, gear-shifting, window wipers (it does sometimes rain), and side rearview mirrors that come in handy when using the interior driving view. I found the game playable (if somewhat awkwardly so) with my keyboard, though youíll have a significantly better and more immersive driving experience with a racing wheel controller.
Despite the occasional changes in scenery and developerís attempt to depict California roads and landmarks faithfully, however, I found much of the driving experience to be a bit more repetitive and unremarkable than I had expected from the description on the back of the box. Ultimately, most missions come down to delivering cargo on timeóand more quickly than your competitors, if possibleówhile avoiding mishaps like crashing into the center divide or other cars, and keeping on the policeís good side. Some of the routes, like the drive from San Jose to Los Angeles (about an hour in-game, compared to roughly six hours in the real world), are quite lengthy, so it can get old for those of us who spend a lot of time driving in real life already. For the gameís target trucking-enthusiast audience, however, it might be a great time.
As expected, though, practical limitations, including the need to cut down in-game driving time, mean that the roads arenít actually all that accurate. The RigíníRoll worldís symbolic version of the highways in my area of the state is hardly recognizable, despite it being a major metropolitan area. Traffic is also unrealistically sparse, though realistic traffic would probably render the game so difficult as to be unplayable. Overall, itís good enough for a game, as long as youíre not expecting a truer-to-life driving simulation of California.
Thereís also more to RigíníRoll than truck-driving simulation. Beyond driving your truck and running missions yourself, youíll also be overseeing your trucking business from one of your offices, managing your fleet, hiring and firing other drivers, buying new offices, and setting company policies. The game also offers some small amusements in between transport jobs, like the opportunity to upgrade and customize your truck at the repair shop, or side trips to the burger joint or local bar. Occasionally, youíll come across an unexpected event, such as a fellow trucker on the CB radio asking for help with his cargo, though these donít happen often enough, in my opinion.
Admittedly, besides having had a passing Optimus Prime-inspired childhood fascination with big trucks, Iím not really someone who falls into RigíníRollís target audience, so itís difficult for me to say much about the 13 models of trucks available, outside of that they add a number of customization options. What I can say, though, is that the graphicsóeven given their forgivable level of monotony over those 1,200 miles of simulated roadsóare reasonably easy on the eyes.
The attention to environmental and vehicular detail is relatively high, the trucks look attractively realistic and shiny, the cargo containers (such as the livestock trailer loaded with calves) actually reflect their contents, and the vehicles do take visible damage. When you hit something, windows shatter, panels and bumpers are knocked loose, and sometimes you might even lose your cargo. For a game of this type, the graphics are commendably executed where they count most.
I can only think of a few things that I found visually jarring. Road signs, for instance, are unreadable until you get close to them, and their visibility does not seem to correspond to the range of 20/20 vision. Nighttime driving, too, is much more difficult than it should be due to the incredibly dim headlights and no reflectors on the roads, and it can be nearly impossible to drive in dark conditions without switching to the first-person interior view. Also, the humans (in contrast with the beautifully rendered trucks) are unnatural-looking and animated like puppets, but given how infrequently they appear, at least they donít detract too much from the visuals.
As for the gameís sound, the truck noises are believably realistic (yes, you can honk the horn at will), and the radio tunes and character voices are adequate but unremarkable.
RigíníRoll retails for Ä29.99 (or $34.95) and is somewhat resource-intensive, requiring at least a lower-end gaming graphics card and taking up at least 10GB on your hard drive. The pricing is moderate, and the game is decent, but unless youíre really into driving virtual big rigs or running your own simulated trucking company, you might get more bang for your buck elsewhere. Donít get me wrong; overall, RigíníRoll provides a pretty comprehensive trucking simulation, but I just found myself wishing much of the time that there was more excitement to the game besides the mild suspense of whether Iíll accidentally hit the semi next to me while I try to pass him. Then again, maybe RigíníRoll isnít designed with the hot-blooded mainstream gamer in mind.
Having had no other experience with big rig trucking simulators, I canít say how RigíníRoll compares to its competitors, but it seems to run fairly smoothly and accomplish what it sets out to do as a truck-driving and trucking business simulator. Itís too bad that the game apparently contains strong language because I think kids in that truck phase might really enjoy this game with a racing wheel controller, and the economic aspects of managing a company might even be a little educational. Otherwise, the characters and storyline arenít especially impelling, but if you love the idea of driving big trucks on open roads and developing your own simulated cargo transport business, I canít see why you wouldnít enjoy this game.