Train Simulator 2013|
When I saw advertisements for Train Simulator 2012 on the Steam library, I literally laughed out loud. I thought, surely, this is some kind of joke. I checked the calendar, thinking it would be April 1st. No? I even had the opportunity to do the review for the 2012 edition. Passed it up. Iím not going to waste my time playing a game where all you do is hit the gas and follow a track. Talk about boring! Right? Then the game began gaining popularity. It seemed like everyone was talking about it. Had I missed something? Or was it still some kind of vast internet conspiracy that I wasnít in on?
Then, the 2013 edition of Train Simulator came out and I, again, had the opportunity to do the review. This time, I was nibbling at the bit to give it a try and see what I was missing. Also, my son freaking loves trains...so, I couldnít lose. The second I booted up the game, I realized that I was stepping foot into a vast world that I had, until that moment, not realized existed. And, as a hobbyist, I am utterly disappointed in myself that I was so blissfully unaware.
With your purchase of Train Simulator 2013, you receive a modest beginner collection of trains and tracks to choose from, but the available DLC for the game is monstrous. Nearly every kind of engine and nearly every railroad you could imagine is available for purchase...but at a price. If you wanted to buy every available piece of DLC, youíre looking at a whopping price tag of approximately $1200! Obviously, this would be for the truly addicted train enthusiast. But, if there is a particular type of train that youíve always fantasized about driving, trust that you will probably be able to find it on this game. Also, if youíre lucky enough to have started building your collection with the previous installments of this game, the items are backward compatible, so you wonít lose all those precious trains or the railroads.
Each of the four different railroads you start with has several scenarios or missions that take you along various sections of track, completing some very cool tasks. One of my favorites is the first mission on the Isle of Wight track. You are tasked with running passengers from station to station in a rainstorm. Then, toward the end of the line, you discover that another train has become disabled from a flood, so you have to carefully approach it, couple with it, and then take it back to the main station where it can be repaired.
I never could have imagined how immersive and fun driving a train could be, and Railsimulator.com has done a fantastic job of creating that environment. There is so much more to it than throwing the throttle on 100 percent and sitting back and watching the scenery go by. There is a lot of thought and planning that goes into making sure youíre on the right track, going the right speed, and stopping with plenty of room. A train is a huge, lumbering beast of a machine and it takes a long time to slow down. And it wonít take long for you to find that out the hard way, if you donít pay attention and watch your speeds.
The environments that they have created for you to travel through are complete and interesting, as well. From the vast, open plains of Wyoming to the hustle and bustle of the city with stops every mile or so, you will see it all. The controls are very nicely done, as well. Not only are all the neat little switches and levers in the uniquely modeled cockpits of the engines all individually controllable, but you also have the option of controlling the train from a HUD that gives you a more universal and simple interface. You can also select from a myriad of different views that allow you to feel what it is like from the various points along the train, or from a birdís eye view that really allows you to admire the majesty of your choo-choo as it chugs along the track. Oh, and the whistle is really fun to blow...just crank up the volume!
In the end, I would highly recommend Train Simulator 2013 to anyone who has an interest in trains and who likes a good simulation. Donít get confused and expect this game to be a white-knuckled ride with any kind of action. There are going to be long moments of sitting back and watching the scenery roll by, but thatís all part of the ambiance of driving a train, isnít it? People who want fast-paced games probably wonít enjoy this game, but people who have ever taken the time to assemble an electric train, or marveled at the precision of a well-timed train schedule, or admired a softly curving track that cuts through an otherwise untouched countryside, will get a thrill out of Train Simulator 2013.