When I talk about what I am currently playing to my friends at work I often get some strange looks when I talk about what obscure game I am in the middle of. Over the past couple of weeks these looks have come about from Euro Truck Simulator 2, a game which I am not afraid to say I have actually been really quite enjoying. It isn’t the kind of game that would ever attain the famed Red Mist rating here on The Reticule, at the end of the day it is just too niche to be considered a must buy for the majority of gamers. But it is a quite splendid title.
It is one of the most relaxing games I have played for a while, and it has certainly been a good come down from the intensity of a game like Dishonored. There isn’t much out there in the gaming world which can match the joy of emerging from a tunnel in the Austrian Alps to look out at the sun rising over a lake nestled in a forested valley while listening to your favourite tunes in the background.
Some of my favourite moments in the game have come from similar situations to that, taking a slip road onto a motorway and passing a country manor or turning onto a single lane road past an expansive farm. There are smaller details, which still manage to stick in my mind. These are things like coming across a toll road while trundling through France, or encountering road works in a tunnel necessitating moving to the opposite carriageway.
Of course, there is a game hiding behind these various moments, and it is a really good one, but with some issues. The most glaring from a British point of view is that to really get the most out of the game and the various locations, you have to do the majority of your trucking in mainland Europe. After driving several routes between Cardiff and various towns and cities in southern England, I was left feeling a little let down. The world beyond the road looked uninspiring and bland, the best places to drive in this game lie in the continent, so don’t get too put off if you think things are a bit boring in our fair British Isles.
A few other downers lie primarily with the AI vehicles. Too often they seem to behave very foolishly, either driving 10mph below the speed limit, coming to a complete stop on the motorway during a lane merge or performing a sudden break test causing me to smash my truck into their rear end.
By and large though, you can ignore these moments and get on with playing the game. There are two main ways to play it, you can freelance for other companies, choosing a route to drive and using whatever second-hand truck they give you, or start up your own company. After one or two freelance drops you are able to take out a bank loan with which you can purchase your own cab. From here, the world really becomes your oyster as you aren’t relying on jobs to explore the world, if you so wish you can just drive around and around in your cab to your heart’s content. As long as you can afford the fuel and loan repayments that is.
Managing your own company, you choose what jobs you want to take, travel to the relevant location and hook up the trailer and head off to your destination, with a little help from the in-game SatNav to keep you on track. You don’t necessarily have to park your truck at the destination, I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t always easy, so you can press a button when you reach the destination area and, voilà, job complete.
There is a slight downside to this as you won’t receive as much XP as you would if you parked the trailer yourself, and XP is important to getting bigger, better paying deliveries and longer routes. As you gain a level you receive a skill point which you can place into categories which might improve fuel performance, allow you to transport dangerous chemicals and take jobs requiring many hundreds of miles of travel. Once you have earned enough money, or taken out another sneaky loan, you can upgrade your garage which allows you to hire your very own truckers who will go about their own jobs earning more money for yourself.
To add further depth, you can upgrade your cabs with various new gear like lighting rigs or fancy new tyres and then apply some custom paint jobs. I don’t honestly think my cab looks cool, but you can’t deny it is eye catching can you?
I don’t expect Euro Truck Simulator 2 to blow the world away and prove to be amazingly popular, but I hope it gets some momentum as it is a really fine piece of work. You can sit back, relax and enjoy the world as you drive. Something I will do right now.
Verdict – Headshot
Platforms Available – PC
Platform Reviewed – PC
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