I don’t know anything about big rigs. All I know is that I involuntarily piss myself when one pulls up beside me on the highway and then I think about that scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where the Griswold’s car gets stuck under one. They are big, scary, and that’s about as far as my trucking knowledge goes. In other words, I am the worst candidate to review Euro Truck Simulator 2. Then again, who’s any better than a dimwitted consumer? Would actual Euro truckers want to play their job when they finally get home to their families after long trips on the road? I can’t imagine so. The target demographics for these simulation games truly baffle me.
Going into Euro Truck Simulator 2, I wasn’t expecting much. I figured, hey, maybe it’s good for a few laughs and I can always record some gameplay with dubstep placed under it for some shits and giggles. I was certainly not expecting to find myself hooked, almost instantly.
Euro Truck Simulator 2 (PC)
Developer: SCS Software
Publisher: Excalibur Publishing (UK)
Release: October 12, 2012
MSRP: $39.95 [Buy Now]
From a gameplay standpoint, it will either strike you as boring or exhilarating. There’s really no middle ground here. You drive big, slow trucks from point-A to point-B, occasionally stopping at rest stops to refill your gas tank and take naps or at repair shops where you fix the byproduct of your incompetence – all while using your blinkers, windshield wipers, and maintaining the legal speed limit.
Down the road when you can afford it, you can start buying and upgrading trucks, as well as starting your own trucking company. That is, of course, if you know how to not piss money away by tipping your truck over every time you turn a sharp corner. I learned that the hard way. While the game does takes some getting used to, it’s really not that hard once you get into the habit of doing things the right way. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing, honestly. I’ll be upfront with you, I don’t have my regular drivers license yet and I sure as hell couldn’t dream of handling a big rig outside of the Internet. Yet, after only a couple hours I was able to preform a 3-hour trip without a single scrape or speeding ticket. This leads me to believe the game might be a little too “arcady” for some simulation fans. Don’t get me wrong; all the simulation aspects are still there. I’m just surprised that I turned into a grade-A trucker over a few hours.
Over my first couple of hours, there were quite a few accidents. I was at fault once or twice…or every single time, but that’s beside the point. I found myself awestruck at both the beautiful scenery and the AI and that caused my mind to drift. The locations you drive in Euro Truck Simulator 2 seem true to life. From the countryside to the city, the environment and traffic are the stars.
The traffic in Euro Truck Simulator 2 could very well be the most realistic Internet traffic I’ve ever found myself stuck in. Cars will wait for others to yield, flash their high beams at me for being an asshole who’s blinding everyone and pass me when I’m going too slow for them. It’s a nice change of pace from most other “putt and go” traffic AI found in other games. It’s surprisingly how much level of depth it adds to the game. Not only do you have to worry about your truck, but also of all vehicles around you. This tops off the immersion you will feel when playing Euro Truck Simulator 2. Unfortunately, not everything is road head in Truckerville. During my travels I’ve encountered a bug here and there. Nothing too serious, just some frame-rate stutters and collisions that don’t register. When such problems do occur your immersion is taken away and that’s quite unfortunate.
I’m willing to give those minor problems a pass since you have the ability to stream live European radio stations. This is such a minor inclusion, but it does help make the cockpit of your big rig feel all the more realistic. You’ll never forget the first time Justin Bieber’s “Baby” surprises you and you wreck your truck while franticly trying to change the station.
Euro Truck Simulator 2 is surprisingly relaxing. I now understand the appeal of the open road and simulation games that I never would have dreamed of playing. They allow you to escape your day-to-day life in a way that is enjoyable, but still keeps you grounded in reality. Euro Truck Simulator 2 is not a game for everybody, but I think everyone would be surprised at how enjoyable carrier missions can be when done right.