A lot of kids growing up were big into trains. They had model tracks, conductor hats, even a television show with a talking train that had a face (yeah, that creepy show.) Well, if you’re still into trains and always wanted to know what it’s like to actually run and conduct one, you’re in for a treat with the huge package of Train Simulator 2012.
Train Simulator 2012 (TS12) is a sequel to Railworks 2. If you already own Railworks 2, then you get upgraded to TS12 for free. Of course, you can always pick up TS12 as a stand alone, as well.
TS12 is just like its title suggests. It’s a simulation of driving a variety of trains in different types of situations. You have many locomotives to drive that all fit into different categories: Steam, Diesel, and Electric. Each train handles and drives differently than the next, and you should really take a look at the tutorials on each kind of train before jumping into the main game.
The main game will have you playing through a ton of different situations that can range from making stops and picking up passengers to linking up with another train that has broken down on the tracks and taking it to its destination. These simulations take place in different time periods and locations, including the US, UK, and Germany. When I say there are a lot of simulations to play, I mean there are a ton of them. Each simulation will give an estimated time for how long it will take to complete. Some can last up to 120 minutes. You can choose to do specific simulations based on a certain area, course, or by train.
While conducting, you must pay attention to the rules of the tracks. You will sometimes have to stop for traffic, slow down to obey the speed limit, or adjust to the weather and track conditions. When you get into the more difficult scenarios, you will really have to pay attention to these things if you want to succeed.
There are many different camera angles to watch the action, including the cockpit, helicopter views, and even inside the passenger cars. You can rotate the camera however you like as well as zoom in and out. While the game’s graphics are not the best in the world, the dynamic weather does look very nice and actually affects how the train will handle.
The one very realistic aspect of the presentation is the sounds. With some headphones on, it really sounds like you’re in and around a moving, functioning train. Even when you cross over certain tracks, it has an authentic sound. It was actually quite impressive.
The game also features a track editor that is very extensive, and for the train purists, it offers up a lot of different tools to make the simulation your very own. The game will also let you save pretty much anywhere during a simulation.
The biggest problem I had with the game was the loading times. Most loading times for any given simulation were well over 30 seconds and sometimes upwards of a minute. Granted, after that load screen, you won’t see another one throughout the entire scenario.
I think TS12 is a decent simulator. It sets out to do a specific thing, and it does a decent job with it. The graphics may not be the best in the world, but at least you won’t need a top tier PC to run the game. The loading times are the biggest flaw in TS12. They can get on your nerves while waiting to start up a simulation. The amount of content in this package is actually very impressive. There’s enough here for a good 40 hours, if not more. Let’s not forget the support for the Railworks games is huge. There are always expansions being released, so there’s always something new for the players.
Lastly, and most importantly, this game is decent for the most part, but you MUST be into simulation games or into trains. I know that seems like a given, but Mr. Call of Duty will not just pick this up on a whim and enjoy it. This game was made for a target audience in mind, and it does well for the target audience. If you think you’d be into simulation games, particularly train simulators, you won’t be able to find a better one than this.
Review copy provided by publisher.