I definitely know my way around a simulator. Another member of the GamingShogun.com family used to be known for them but somewhere along the line I slipped into the driver seat, quite literally in most cases, and I now have a nice solid butt groove in it. I find that some of the most challenging of the sims are the truck ones because we want to draw upon our general knowledge of physics from driving cars which is entirely different. Some also come with the opportunity to try to learn the complex stick system of big rigs which is not just hard but once you learn it you don’t always have it like riding a bicycle you have to stay fresh or lose your edge. What Excalibur did with Euro Truck Simulator 2 was put all the challenges of all the different trucking games into one game then add terrific graphics and over the top features to make this game the best vehicle simulator I have ever played.
- Transport a vast variety of cargo across more than 60 European cities.
- Run your own business which continues to grow even as you complete your freight deliveries.
- Build your own fleet of trucks, buy garages, hire drivers, manage your company for maximum profits.
- A varied amount of truck tuning that range from performance to cosmetic changes.
- Customize your vehicles with optional lights, bars, horns, beacons, smoke exhausts, and more.
- Thousands of miles of real road networks with hundreds of famous landmarks and structures.
The gameplay in most vehicle sims is just trying to complete missions or tasks. In this game you have an actual full storyline in which you are trying to progress through. There are multiple ways to change the difficulty from the kind of jobs you take, to the how accurately you want to drive the vehicle such as camera angles and shifting. You choose the job you want to do from a long list, weather goes through patterns as does day and night all making it so it can be insanely realistic and difficult or just a simple fun play. It is all up to you.
Vehicles can be customized for looks as well as function also adding to the game experience and though thankfully the times doesn’t match one minute to one minute during the missions they can be pretty long to complete especially if you take on a long haul. The amount of versatility in this game is absolutely staggering, a person could play through the game over and over and never have the same experience because of the variety of jobs, diversity of business building possibilities and sheer number of customizing options. This game is basically a driving simulator, business simulator and custom truck designer all rolled into one with the possibility of enough realism to prepare the player for most real life scenarios in each. If someone had told me they wanted to try to combine all of these I probably would have called them mad, to see it pulled off so well is incredible. This isn’t a game you could just play for hours, this is one you could play for days.
To pull off all of the above you would think the graphics would have to suffer. Not the case, there is excellent detail in the environments, vehicle cabs, and outside sections of the rigs. There are complex reflections in the environments as well as shadows. Landmarks all over Europe are painstakingly recreated to make the landscapes feel as real as possible. This is one of the best uses of the exterior camera angles, to see your customized rig driving past landmarks and beautiful scenery while the sun is setting or the rain spatters off the cab. Personally though I love to look at it all out the windows of my cab like I would if I were really behind the wheel.
Normally this is grouped with graphics as part of the atmosphere of this game but this time I felt it deserved it’s own section because not only are the general sounds of trucking realistic but you can change the radio stations to choose from dozens of real live streaming European radio stations! The streaming is perfect with no glitches or buffering and it honestly sounds like you are listening to it in your own truck. I cranked up my speakers and amazed other people in the house with how good the stations were. I particularly liked a French station which mixed classic 80s, contemporary alternative, and popular European bands all together into a station where I never understood the DJ but loved the universality of great music. At one point I had to do things around the house so I paused the gameplay and left the music going because it was better than my iPod, iPad or iPhone. I used to love listening to “radio” stations in other games that had a soundtrack rotation on each “channel.” This game may have spoiled me on those because it just uses real radio.
This game was a complete shock to someone who is hard to shock when it comes to games. It could be as easy or difficult as I wanted, as in depth or simple as I wanted and could have been a good game as a rig simulator, radio streamer, business simulator or custom truck designer but instead put them all into one package with each part having immense diversity. I keep finding myself drawn back to another haul so I can change my paint job or have a bit more money in the bank to hire a new employee the following month or so that I can just enjoy the road, the scenery and the terrific music for a while.