I gave up driving Ferraris in Oʻahu to drive Scanias in Europe. That is how much fun Euro Truck Simulator 2 is. Drive trucks, transport cargo and park trailers. And try to do it all without accidents or traffic fines.
I consider Euro Truck Simulator 2 to be the Falcon 4.0 of truck simulators, although I must admit, it is the only truck simulator I have played. I have not driven a truck in real life (I have not flown a plane either), but the driving in Euro Truck Simulator 2 behaves like what I would expect in real life. The weight of your cargo and the type of truck affects how easy it is to move or stop. Take a corner too quickly and it will easily tip over. Parking the trailer is truly as difficult as it looks. Traffic rules must be obeyed. Fuel and driver fatigue must be managed. There are also day/night cycles, rain, roadside events and different types of drivers on the road to give the real life driving feeling.
Despite all the simulation goodness, Euro Truck Simulator 2 has got a gentle learning curve. Not surprising since starting a truck engine is no where near as complicated as an F-16 ramp start and working the GPS navigation is far easier than operating an AN/APG-68 radar.
To give the game an even easier start, there is also a pretty good tutorial with a short delivery that teaches the basics. It gives a good feel of what is involved, but it is still very much just the tip of the iceberg. The tutorial can be skipped for those that want to get straight into the thick of it.
Even though the roads are not true to life, they are varied and long enough to make locations feel like they are very far apart. This combined with the faster time flow and nice change in scenery really made me feel like I have travelled a great distance, all without the boredom of a long distance drive.
The look of the different locations really blew me away. Individual scenery elements are repeated, but there is enough variety to make different locations look unique. 50 hours into the game and I am still looking around at the scenery. Not good as I am not concentrating on the road! I wish there was some sort of autopilot that allowed me to look around without worrying about driving properly.
The lighting and shadow effects look just like driving in real life. This is most evident as you are driving through shadows cast by trees or other tall objects, and when going through tunnels at night.
The game sounds great. Roaring engines, the sounds of rain, the turning indicator ticking away, other vehicles going past, it all sounds like driving in real life. There are even weird noises that occur when you have damaged your truck too much. One thing though, I cannot say whether the truck sounds are accurate to their real-life counterparts as I am not familiar with them.
Listen to real radio! They may be Internet streaming radio, but they are still real broadcasts including stations like the BBC. It doesn’t get more realistic than driving from London to Reims and hearing more about Brexit over the radio. When you are sick of the news, you can always switch to your own music or another radio station.
The game’s own music also sounds good. It only plays at certain stages so as to not interrupt the whole radio experience, but it does sound good.
Other than being a truck driving simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is also a trucker RPG with some simple transport business management on the side. Earn money and gain experience as you complete jobs. With enough experience, you level up and get a point to spend on upgrading your truck driving skills. Spend money buying new trucks, customising them and expanding your transport business by buying and upgrading garages, then hiring other drivers to work for you.
Almost everything in Euro Truck Simulator 2 is customisable. Customise the difficulty of the simulation. Customise the environment. Customise your truck including paint jobs, decorations, seating positions and mirrors. You can even customise your own trailers.
Mods, mods, mods! There are truck loads of them. Real company names, traffic modifications, truck customisations, custom maps and even a multiplayer mod. So far I have only tried Really Real Company Names from the Steam Workshop, a Hungary map from modland and the multiplayer mod TruckersMP.
The AI of other drivers seem to be pretty good. There are good drivers, bad drivers and really bad drivers that will crash right before your very eyes! Some drivers seem to react to your signalling while others ignore it.
Pause and quit at any time. Progress is automatically saved, even when you are in the middle of the road. The next time you play the game, it picks up where you left off but with your truck at a stand still. Just start the engine and resume driving.
From time to time, there are special events that are provided through the optional online community World of Trucks. Complete the goals set out for the event and score some freebies! I have only completed the Goodyear Roll-Out event, but was happy to receive the Goodyear Tyres Pack DLC for free.
The Italia DLC is a worthy addition to Euro Truck Simulator 2. The scenery looks very much like Italy. There are plenty of new roads to drive on and some of them are more complex to negotiate.
The police cars do not ask you to pull over or give chase. They will put on the lights and siren, but they just continue driving as normal. I know this is not Need for Speed or Test Drive, but I expect at least for the police to ask you to pull over rather than just issuing instant fines and driving away.
I understand the game world is scaled down to be less boring and more fun, but the cities feel like very small country towns. A few more blocks with a bit more traffic would make it feel more city like.
There are some things in the game that are less realistic. I have already mentioned the scaled down distances and faster time flow. The amount of traffic is definitely less than in real life. There is no need for food, drink and toilet stops. These make for a game that is more fun to play, but I do wish there were options for full realism. I have not placed this as a con as I can see that simulating everything to the level of real life would be a Herculean task.
I know there are real pilots that play flight sims and real race drivers that play racing sims, but are there real truck drivers that play Euro Truck Simulator 2? Would they find it more of a chore or would they actual enjoy the game?
The open world nature of the game reminded me of Test Drive Unlimited. It is not as “open” as TDU though. There are invisible walls preventing you from driving too far off-road. Other than that, you can drive on all accessible roads and discover places of interest.
World of Trucks jobs are a bit unusual in that the time limit you have to complete the job is in real-life time rather than in-game time. On the plus side, I could take a job with a 10 hour time limit, muck around and sleep in-game a few times before finally reaching the destination to finish it after 21 hours in-game time. Since the job only took me 1 hour of real-life playing time, I did not get any time penalties. On the minus side, if I took a job with 10 hours to go, but could only play the game for 10 minutes for that whole day, World of Trucks would flag my delivery as being late when I completed it the next day but only taking 5 in-game hours.
The Heavy Cargo Pack DLC adds cargo types that are extra heavy. It sure makes for more challenging deliveries, but at the same time it also feels like more of the same.
Here is a montage video of Euro Truck Simulator 2 with Frank Klepacki’s Just Do It Up from the DOS version of Command & Conquer.
I love simulators, but have mainly played flight and car racing simulators. Euro Truck Simulator 2 is really getting me interested in truck simulation.
I know nothing about trucks except for what I see on the road and in movies, tv shows, etc.
There are other open world driving games out there, but the last one I played was Test Drive Unlimited.