Name:

 Euro Truck Simulator 2

Platforms:

 PC, OS X, Linux

Developer:

 SCS Software

Genre:

 Simulation, Driving, Realistic, Open World

Publisher:

 SCS Software

Modes:

 Single-Player

Release Date:

 PC: 16th January, 2013

Linux: 16th April, 2013

OS X: 29th January, 2015

Engine:

 

Reviewer:

 Charede

Product Rating:

 PEGI: 3

Review Score:

80/100 (80%)

Disclosure:

 Copy: PC, personally bought.

Timing: Post release.

Extra: This is a repost of an old review from the previous iteration of the Charede Gaming website.

If you had asked me a year ago would you consider driving a truck for hours on end to make some money in a game my answer would have been a NO! However, after being subjected to the masses of hype relating to Euro Truck Simulator 2 at the beginning of 2013, I finally conceded and bought the game. Initially sceptical I loaded it up and fathomed my way through the tutorial. After which I was let loose into the world with nothing but my very dodgy truck and a load of random junk I had just picked up to make a few measly thousands of pounds for shifting it from point a to point b. Due to some unfortunate antics when myself and a friend was playing I rapidly found that taking out that loan for that truck so fast having little experience with the controls was a very bad plan. What was initially a few derps on the road leaving some fancy silver go faster strips on the side of my truck accidently rapidly became a downward spiral. I head banged away to some classic rock tracks while maniacally cackling to my friend resulting in a major collision with a barrier on a slip road causing my truck to roll multiple times before conveniently landing up the right way. This left me with an endless list of repairs and a truck I was holding together in the meantime with what felt like no more than duct tape. With sheer determination, I furiously jumped back and forwards in my seat as if in some way to help my truck move faster as the engine struggled along the roads cutting out every few meters. Only to complete that mammoth task to be presented at the end of my journey to be presented with the prospect of parking in reverse. Now granted I hate the stereotype that women cannot park but unfortunately I was not exactly evidence to counter that argument having spent nearly two hours on parking a truck for one job, and I'm not even joking 100% true, my poor friend looked on in dismay pissing his pants laughing!

 

However once I had worked out the speed limit, a methodology to cut down parking times and started looking at the road while playing I was able to get from point a to b successfully. Unlike my first profile which ended up with hundreds of speeding tickets, a truck which no longer functioned and loans I had no way to pay off. It got so bad that I owed the job provider money at the end of jobs rather than earning anything. Regardless once I had navigated that hazard, got used to the controls and started a fresh profile I realised just how many hours I had seen fly by without even noticing; quite shocking to me that a simulator in this category would appeal to me.

 

Having had this game for well over a year now, I can, however, say that I have had patches where I have fallen out of love with it and only upon recent reflection have I realised why. First and foremost my initial introduction I can say without a doubt was brightened up enormously with my friend playing his single player at the same time and sharing it on screen with me while I got my first taste of the game. My major fallout with the game came about as the result of a spate of boredom I had on a particularly stressful day which put me off causing me to have multiple crashes and practically want to throw my keyboard out the window at the poor unsuspecting pedestrians below my flat window. However many months later with friends around again, some badass music and a more relaxed attitude, I found again a huge love for the game and stronger than ever. What I determined was the factor which compelled me to play this game was playing it in a social context. But for others this will be different, the game is really what you make of it depending on how you choose to play. You can play it seriously; you can play it carefree. Compete with your friend to do the same job the fastest, build the biggest truck empire you can imagine are all viable options. However the second you lose sight of what you want to do and having fun along that journey it feels like having a standoff with an angry cat in the hallway in that you won't win and will only get frustrated in the process.

 

However what I guess you are here for is a full features list, and how the game plays rather than my poor attempts at driving and well overall, I must say it is very smooth. Visually the world looks pretty good, and in some areas stunning, however, there is some clear room for improvement. The terrain is certainly vastly better than the limited attempts at cities and towns which often feel very similar regardless of where you are in Europe and often very small. Areas like London, for example, are lacking that grandeur and style to make you feel like you are genuinely in a real city. I do however understand that the routes are massively shorter in length than their genuine counterparts and for that reason the space to build the city environments is limited. In addition to this to build such cities with a significantly higher level of detail would make the game vastly more demanding on players pcs and also on the developers time. Perhaps if they make another version of the game, I would personally consider adding a short loading screen to enable entering into another map specifically for the major cities so I can get some proper city driving even if it was strictly for capital cities. It would at least give some more variation to the city environments which the game is lacking right now and is what I consider one of the bigger disappointments in the game in its current state. Such a change would make players think more carefully about the perils of going to such places due to a higher risk of being stuck in traffic etc. which potentially costs more fuel and time. Again adding a deeper level of thinking when it comes to selecting jobs and garages. The game does, however, vary the roads in that from time to time certain lanes will be closed, and you will encounter road works which can catch you by surprise, cause traffic, or lead to some unfortunate accidents as in my case.

 

this, the game does have some major merits. The game offers a good variety of trucks, all of which can be upgraded significantly and provides the player with an incentive to keep working towards smaller goals which aid in a much bigger overall aim; mine being make a huge company with many drivers and a fleet of matching trucks. You will, however, find that once you have had time to experiment a bit certain manufacturers are significantly better than others which will often result in the player sticking to the same two maybe three manufacturers at most. Personally, I find Volvo are the best with Daf and Scania a moderately distant second and third respectively. These were ideas which were reinforced in my mind further after having become aware of a multiplayer mod for the game.

 

In addition to the range of trucks the game also has a good talent tree system which isn't overly complicated as to confuse new players too much but with enough depth that players will continue to make choices which will influence their path through the game in the form of the jobs which the player can access. With a little bit of strategising and research/thought you could maximise your earnings earlier in the game which was something, I enjoyed doing while cruising down the motorway. Options you can spec into include; long distance driving, valuable goods, fragile goods, eco driving and ADR. The jobs themselves do vary hugely, not only in the types of goods you transport but also the weight of what you are transporting and the huge variety of locations you could be requested to take them to; especially in you put points early into long distance driving as I did. Discovering a new location and exploring all of the roads was a dirty completionist pleasure of mine and with the added option of free roam once you have your truck you can leisurely drive around and find those pesky roads you missed when you are bored of doing jobs which can become a major time soak but strangely rewarding.

 

The game also simulates traffic in the environment, meaning roads are not empty. I believe that the game has over the year did some changes to this element as the traffic seems to behave more intelligently and more prevalent than I remember it being initially. However, you will still find on the major roads that traffic is in places somewhat lacking until you get closer or within city environments where you will see fairly frequent queues of traffic building up at red lights. This is good to see as it assists in making the game feel more genuine and interesting. However again this is a feature which does clearly need further development. The traffic vehicles look ok but just don't expect the high vehicle detail you get in the modern racing game or for that matter the damage simulation either.

 

Players will find themselves spending a lot of time using the UI in the form of a dashboard sat nav. As players progress, you will find this particularly useful for not only navigating but also details regarding the job like how many miles are left and expected arrival time. In addition to this, it also displays the amount of petrol in the vehicle and your rest meter. These are two items you are expected to keep an eye on if you want to arrive on time. The last thing you need is to get towed back a town because your engine is left running on fumes. Likewise, if your driver falls asleep at the wheel causing you to crash into a barrier you will incur a fine and substantial damage potentially, and yes it does literally black out your screen. Meaning you are driving blind if you let the sleep meter hit tired. It does however conveniently remind you before it gets to this point by simulating blinking and yawning at you. However, as I found out playing the game late at night, it caused me to fall asleep at my desk resulting in a very late delivery and some significant truck damage much to my dismay and much facepalming. Regardless these are nice details to see included in the game as it would have been easy for the developers to overlook this for the sake of ease.

 

One of my recent discoveries regarding this game earlier this year was the capacity for expansion this game truly had with the addition of community created mods. I avoid modding games as a rule of thumb however in Euro Truck Simulator 2 doing so has massively increased its lifespan and enjoyment for me. I have particularly found mods removing the speed limiter and adding emergency traffic which are nice additions. However, if I had to select a single mod to add to the game and what I deem a huge gap in the games features list it would have to be multiplayer. The very social element which without me really would not have stuck through the initial disastrous few hours of gameplay I had on my first profile. Thankfully there is precisely a mod for this in the form of ETS2MP. This mod enables players to be within the same environment provided in the single player game but with the bonus of being able to team up with players around the world to form trucking companies and work together on jobs in the form of convoys. However along with the bonus of being more social that multiplayer mod does introduce problems of its own, in particular crashing due to players with differing ping which means trucks might appear in one place for you, but another player sees them somewhere else. Moderation is also an issue I have found as mods are quick to react which is great, but at the same time, the mods don't always see all of the event meaning decisions made to ban or kick players does not always conform to their policies regarding acceptable behaviour online while trucking.

 

Time for the overall verdict. Overall this is a game I have fallen in love with even though I was very reluctant to even give it a try in the first place. I think as far as driving simulators are concerned it does have some nice features and very good looking environments in certain areas. This has been further built on with extensions to the game like the Going East expansion DLC. However, still, there is some room for improvement. Features such as vehicle collision damage visualisation and simulating more and varied traffic behaviour would be on my target list.This is a game which on its own without mods is an enjoyable experience. I can happily play for hours provided a friend is present, or I have some rocking tunes going on in the background when on my own or even use the in-game radio feature. However, if it wasn't for the mods and my friend being a total derp, I feel the game would have had a much more limited lifespan for me. Essentially this is a good game with some very nice details which add to making it feel much richer. I am deeply hoping for a new Truck Simulator as a result of playing this game and became aware that the developers are planning to release American Truck Simulator which I will no doubt get at some point. I just hope that they have learned from the creation of Euro Truck Simulator 2 and can pad things out where the modding community has picked up the slack a bit in certain areas to make what is a very good game far more enjoyable with a greater lifespan. For this reason and the polish needed here and there, I am giving it an 80%. This game won't be to everyone ones taste, but I certainly say give it a go you might be surprised like me. It certainly is a good step in the right direction for driving/job simulators and is one of the far superior ones out there at the moment.

 

 

 

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