It’s sometimes hard to remember that video games don’t need to be gory for everyone, or have cutting-edge graphics, unstoppable action, or mind-bending puzzles. And they don’t always need to take you away off into space, or back in time to a land of fantasy to tell some epic story. Sometimes modern day earth and normal life is enough of its own escapism. And that’s exactly what Train Simulator 2012 is all about: modern-day real-life escapism.
Train Simulator 2012 allows players to experience as much train-y goodness as their hearts desire. The trains themselves are highly detailed as they are the true focal point of the game. The cabin of each type of train is different, giving Train Simulator 2012 an appropriately authentic feel. Simplified controls are offered to those of us who have never stepped foot inside an engineer’s workplace before. Those who want a more realistic experience can turn off the game’s HUD entirely and control all the levers manually.
Players can select from dozens of preset tracks and train sets from across the globe and digitally experience first-hand what it’s like to engineer a train. There are electric engines, diesel and steam engine types. And it’s not as simple as going from point A to B. There are time tables to keep, freight to pick up and unload, speed limits to obey, and of course, you have to keep your train from derailing and killing everyone on board.
One thing we learned quickly (that is… after we finished playing with the train whistle) is that stopping a train is much more complicated than stopping a car. All that mass requires a ridiculous amount of stopping space. Overshooting a train platform will cost you the mission.
While diesel and electric trains are easier to operate, steam engines bring on a real challenge. Aside from regulating speed, the engineer needs to monitor steam production vs. expenditure, knowing the terrain to maintain momentum uphill, and more.
Train Simulator 2012 has seen some nice visual improvements in terms of lighting and particle affects. But it is still far from a graphical powerhouse. While the draw distance and the skies have been improved upon, the houses, people and automobiles could all use some more touch ups. Since they aren’t the main focus of the game, this issue should not prevent people from enjoying it. But newcomers who are more used to AAA graphics may be turned off a bit.
Aside form selecting a specific train or route to play, adventurous gamers can build custom maps, something we didn’t quite get into. We found ourselves getting caught in the moment of touring rural America and Europe. That being said, it is important to note that Train Simulator 2012 is a very slow, methodical and purposeful game.
Railworks 2 owners will be happy to hear that all DLC purchased for their game is compatible with Train Simulator 2012. In fact, Railworks 2 upgrades for FREE up to Train Simulator 2012. We have to applaud RailSimulator.com for that type of support. And while some may joke at the price and quantity of Railworks 2’s DLC, it is important to keep in mind the audience this game appeals to: train and model train lovers. Real life model trains, sets, and set decorations are remarkably expensive. Train Simulator 2012 is a wonderful substitute that is not only cheaper, but it takes up less space, creates less of a mess, and it provides a more realistic experience.
Recommending Train Simulator 2012 for purchase is difficult. If you’ve never played a sim game before, you have no interest at all in trains, and you’re more used to action-adventure games, shooters, or rpgs, then you should pass it up.
But if you have a genuine interest and you’re curious about the game, we can definitely say that it is worth trying.
If you love trains, train sets, or if you own and enjoy any of RailSimulator.com’s previous titles, then yes. You should buy it. It’s a no-brainer. In fact, this may be a great holiday gift for train set owners everywhere. The PC specs to run it aren’t that high. This game caters to a very specific audience, but it does it well.
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Name: Train Simulator 2012
Available on: PC
Developed by: RailSimulator.com
Release date: September 23, 2011
EG Score: 4 out of 5 / “Worth Buying”