Games like Forza Motorsport or Flight Simulator tap into a desire to fulfill being a race car driver or airline pilot. Euro Truck Simulator 2 doesn’t quite have that same desire of wanting to be a European truck driver, but there’s a lot of allure and appeal to the job. I have spent many hours carrying virtual cargo all over Europe. An unexpected, but very welcome surprise.
Once you’ve gotten setup with starting your career as a professional truck driver that spans over 60 real-world European locations, you’ll be collecting enough money to buy your own truck. Or you can go to the bank and get a loan to get started sooner. From there your company has begun. You’ll take jobs and earn even more money to build your trucking empire. Not only is this a simulation driving game, but also features managerial tasks such as hiring drivers, managing trucks and your garages.
When you have your own truck, you’re free to roam as you please. It’s here you can drive around and discover new cities and locations within them such as repair shops, truck dealerships and even fill up at gas stations. You can customize trucks with paint, wheels, lights, and even mirrors. A handy navigation system is in place to help you direct you to your destination.
Completing jobs not only earns you money, but XP that you rank up in. With the leveling, you can choose to be more economical with your gas expenditure, or make you more qualified to handle dangerous and expensive cargo. Driving is challenging but not difficult. I used a Xbox 360 gamepad, but the keyboard works really well too. I imagine the best experience is with a wheel and pedals, though. Once you get to your destination, parking your trailer in reverse nets you bonus XP. You can skip it altogether, but I’d advise learning how to do it. It is rewarding in itself, and the bonus that comes with it shouldn’t be ignored.
You’ll come across some wonderful AI. It is simply smart, they’ll stop to let you pull out for a turn, or will even flash their lights to let you know to go. Merging traffic will stop if you’re occupying the lane, and let you pass. Or they’ll speed up and cut you off. It’s surprising and fantastic all at the same time. The traffic behaves as it should, and follows the rules of the road. Some motorists disobey them, but that helps the game feel more realistic.
To ease your mind and body for the grueling miles ahead, the game features an accelerated timescale. So drives that say it’ll take you 3 or 4 hours, are only 30 minutes in total. Your body can also fatigue, and start falling asleep at the wheel if you don’t pull over to sleep. This feature can be disabled in the menus, but is a way to show you that you don’t always have to drive at night, and can sleep it off.
Though, it is absolutely frightening to carry explosive cargo at night during a thunderstorm. The way that the rain hits your windows look spectacular and the windshield wipers have a real effect on your clarity. Should you not turn on your headlamps, you’ll get a ticket. When going through tunnels, the rain doesn’t clip through but stops dead and the audio matches that as well.
The game doesn’t offer fake music to drive to, but you can import from a folder from your own music collection. Internet radio is also available, and uses real European stations. You can edit a file to input your own internet radio stations as well, but that isn’t well implemented or known.
Euro Truck Simulator 2 provides a breath of fresh air to driving, as well as simulation games. This is a game all other developers in this genre can aspire to. The immaculate detail to the trucks and design options, and the following enjoyment that can be had is unexpected. There are plenty of realism options to enable/disable at your heart’s content. This isn’t a game for everyone, as it’s quite niche, but is incredibly well designed. With the lack of timers and tension, it’s all just leisurely drives through urban and rural areas, that provide a relaxing experience worth having.
Retails for: $29.99, recommended purchase price: $29.99
A review copy of the game was provided by the developer for review purposes