- Platform: PC
- Developer: SCS Software
- Publisher: SCS Software
- Release Date: October 19, 2012
- Price: $39.99
- Official: Euro Truck Sim
“Who can resist the open road?”
I’m not one to shy away from a new gaming experience, even if that experience brings with it laughs and insults from my peers. So it was with great interest that I looked into Euro Truck Simulator 2 several weeks back, a game that had somehow swept through the internet like an out of control fire. What I found was a fresh logical take on trucking that allows for both the hardcore and general gaming public to have fun on the hundreds of miles of virtual open road.
SCS Software have been making truck simulators for quite awhile now, but not until Euro Truck 2 have they been able to find real mainstream success, and the reason is simple, Euro Truck 2 is both a fun game and an in depth simulator. From the moment you select your avatar and name your company it is apparent that there is plenty of depth here for those that want it, but there is also the option of trimming the fat for those that don’t. For a game that has the word simulator right in the name, this is a risky but smart design decision. Similar to Turn 10’s Forza series, Euro Truck can be catered by the player to be the type of game that they want at that particular moment.
After you decide the basics of your company you are then asked to choose a control style, here you can choose to use a very basic setup where the W key is for gas and S for brake or you can opt for the full simulation with wheel, pedal, and multiple monitor support. I chose to use the Xbox 360 controller but kept the need for shifting gears; a nice point in between the two extremes.
The game does a nice job of teaching you the basics with simple information popups without taking control away from you. In the beginning you will start out doing work for other companies. You will use their own trucks and they will pay for toll roads and any damage you may inflict. Eventually you will get the ability to purchase your own vehicle in which to tinker and admire, but everyone has to start somewhere.
Finally it was time for me to get into a rig and get hauling. First thing you will notice upon actually sitting behind the wheel is that the graphics in Euro Truck are far better then you may have expected. The attention to detail within the vehicles is impressive, each brand of truck will be unique visually and each features a working dashboard. From the speedometer to the hazard lights to the gas gauge; all of the important bits are accounted for.
Handling of these heavy beasts is solid as well. Control of your truck may differ from trip to trip depending on your freight, but overall it will always handle as you expect it should. On highways you will be able to get up to a good speed and not have to worry as much about shifting gears but within the cities you will come to know traffic lights as your mortal enemy. When you do arrive at your destination you will also have the option of backing into the dock or simply hitting a key to have the game do it for you, doing so will reward you with additional experience while skipping may save some the frustration. Again, the balance of game and sim is handled well.
After a few deliveries you will get a notice that you can now take a loan out from the bank and purchase a vehicle of your very own. Initially your options will be limited to cheaper models but more will open up as you complete jobs and discover more dealers out in the environment. Upon nabbing yourself a truck that suits your fancy you will open up options of managing your own business. You’ll start out with a pretty sad garage but it can be cleaned up and built onto. Eventually you can even higher on truckers of your own and send them out on assignments while taking into account their expenses and income. For your own deliveries you will keep the option of doing freelance work for other corporations or do jobs that will strictly bolster your own business.
While the general game play consists of driving from town to town or country to country, it manages to stay both fun and relaxing throughout your time with Euro Truck. While most will scoff and ignore the game for being both “dumb” and “boring” it is neither. While making deliveries you have the option of tuning into real world radio stations through the games simple interface. From stations in Italy, France, and Germany to even ones you add in yourself, the radio manages to both keep the game realistic, as well as make it more interesting and fun. Taking a scenic drive through the mountains while listening to a real life radio station inform me of news events happening thousands of miles away was pretty refreshing and certainly something I’ve never done in a game before.
For every job you take on and complete you accrue experience points that feed into your level and thus open up both new perks and upgrades for your truck. Similar to an RPG you can feed skill points into several different areas, but instead of improving your character, they allow you to specialize what type of driver you are. You won’t be adding points into your handling stat, but you can add points into your ability to take on longer trips or more dangerous cargo. While these options can be ignored and won’t make the game easier, they do add more diversity as well as make the trips more meaningful. This more game related aspect is balanced nicely with the sim nature of having to manage your gas tank and even your fatigue; don’t want to be driving at 3 AM and wind up sleeping behind the wheel.
As I mentioned earlier the graphics in Euro Truck are pretty impressive without being mind blowing. From the lighting and weather to the numerous regions you will drive through, SCS has managed to make Euro Truck look good without the backing of a huge budget. It is an impressive feat to make a game about such a drab concept work, but SCS Software have done it, even more impressive however is that they have future proofed this game as well. While there will no doubt be a Euro Truck Sim 3, SCS have already announced they are working on an expansion of the maps already huge region, but not only that, Euro Truck has a huge modding community. That’s right, there are dozens of mods out there that improve every single facet of this title. Whether you are looking for new countries to explore or want real company logos all over the environment, or even if you want to add multiplayer; the modding community has made sure that this game will consistently be improved upon.
I never thought that I would enjoy a game about driving a semi nearly as much as I have. By realizing they can make a better game by combining elements of both the hardcore and gamey, SCS Software have put together what is easily one of the best Sim games on the market. When I first heard about this title from people within the industry I knew I had to look it up, the fact that they were actually praising it only piqued my interest further. After playing the game I am glad I did, even my brother who poked fun at the fact I was playing a truck sim found himself playing it shortly after and even buying it the very next day. With a solid base that does the impossible and the fact that there are mods out there that improve every aspect of the game, Euro Truck Sim 2 stands tall as one of the biggest surprises of 2012, and definitely one of the best and more unique Sim games around.
While most will probably skip the read and look at the score below before quickly questioning my sanity, understand that I sit and contemplate each and every score heavily. I do not hand out high scores to every game I like, nor do I find one blemish and allow it to ruin the rest of a title. I look at the pro’s and con’s of a game but I also heavily take into account other titles within its genre as well as the review scale that we have here at Counter Attack. The scale is defined well and is freely available under the Reviews tab on the top bar. With a 9.0 I am not saying this game is better than Sleeping Dogs or Assassins Creed 3, or that you will have more fun with it than those titles. What I am saying is exactly whats in the description for the 9 range in our scale: “… it is one of the best of its kind. Whether it is excelling in its genre or trying something entirely different, it deserves to be played by fans and newcomers alike.” Euro Truck isn’t trying to compete with Halo 4, what it is competing against are the other sim titles on the market, and it easily pushes them aside. – Chuck
- + Great balance of sim and arcade
- + Graphics and sound are impressive
- + A peaceful and rewarding experience
- + Modding community
- – Town diversity is lacking
- – AI traffic can be questionable