Train Sim World 2: Rush Hour Deluxe Edition
I Like Trains (It's A Reference, I Personally Don't Care For Them)
The Train Sim World series, from where Train Sim World 2 is deviated from, was a series I couldn't find much info on prior to recording. While the writing is on the wall in terms of the game being a train simulator, the series's history is rather interesting. The first game was released in 2018 on PC and consoles, with a sequel releasing in 2020. Rush Hour was released as a "season pass" expansion for TSW 2 which added three new lines based on Boston, Dresden, and the London Commuter.
Apparently, the season pass was taken off stores sometime in November, now being a part of a bundle known as Train Sim World 2: Rush Hour. The "Deluxe Edition" would include three more routes including the American Sand Patch Grade, the London Bakerloo line, and the Koln-Achen line. With almost ten lines, adding the base game + Rush Hour + Deluxe Edition lines, in total, it may appear like the biggest bang for the player's buck. Unfortunately, the impact of the "bang" is all dependent on the player's love of trains and their patience. Players who don't fall under either category may be in a world of pain.
As If The MTA Wasn't Enough...
The player is greeted with three starting routes if they have access to the Deluxe Edition, each route focusing on a different aspect of train culture. The Bakerloo line focuses on commuter public transportation while the Sand Patch Grade focuses on freight trains. I began with the latter because " 'Murica " but I wish I had stuck with the route. As I would soon discover, this route would be the easiest to manage. All I needed to learn was how to pull the lever to accelerate.
This sounds braindead when things work as intended, but when things don't work out, it becomes an issue. This happens the moment I switch gears to Bakerloo as the internals of a commuter train is far different than a freight train. Before I get to the issue that forced me into a "soft lock" situation for a half-hour, I want to discuss the tutorial and how it's similar across the routes. No matter which route the player chooses, it's all the same. Players will get used to how the camera works, how walking works, and how tasks such as fixing snow pillars and putting up posters are what's expected on foot. Once the player gets into the director's chair is where things get different.
Is This What The Inside Of An MTA Car Is Like?
The interior of the London train was vastly different from the American train as it featured directional controls and a multipurpose brake/accel lever. This lever controls the speed of the train as well as its braking, ensuring that the train is kept within the speed limit. There was just one issue. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to operate the train. Imagine being an MTA conductor and not knowing how to start the train after it stalls. I certainly understand it now after being in the hot seat, but as a passenger, I would be pissed if this were to happen to me in London.
After 30 minutes of pushing every lever and flipping every switch, I gave up and tried another mission. While the original mission was a tutorial level, the second mission was a continuation of the tutorial. One oversight that the original tutorial failed to mention was a switch that is located behind the driver's seat. This "switch" is a control panel that allows the train to distribute power, which causes the train to move. This was not mentioned at all up until this point, so it turns out that this one oversight was what caused me to, well, not move. I wish the game was as passionate in teaching me how to run a train as it is in educating me of its history.
Train Sim 2 Is More Sim And Less 'Game'
If I were to define this title with the absolute bare minimum I was able to play due to that experience, I'd say it falls under the "sim over game" category. For the players who are train aficionados, this will be right up their alley. The Rush Hour expansion along with the bonus Deluxe Edition content adds up to potentially hours of game time. An example of a "sim" that's equal parts gaming fun would be Jurassic World Evolution 2.
The graphics are ok, the player models look horrible but the scenery and the trains look great, which is okay since they are the primary focus I guess. The main problem with Train Sim World is accessing the game for those who don't know their way around the train. If the tutorials did a better job in explaining things, it wouldn't be terrible. But since each train behaves and operates differently from the other, some minor alterations to the script would be helpful no?
Nope. It's the same exact script across all three routes, telling the conductor that they are expected to perform out-of-train duties as well as driving the train. The narrator goes through sitting in the train, accessing the levers, and providing a brief history of the train and its route as it leaves the station. Since each narration is identical to each others, when quips such as getting stuck in Bakerloo happen, it relies on the player fumbling with controls that aren't mentioned.
It's an "exploring" game but it's the type of exploration that the game doesn't encourage. Many of the things in Train Sim World 2 the player will have to find on their own to even progress past the opening tutorial and that is unnecessary frustration. Maybe, hopefully, I can recommend this game once I find time to see its worth under the hood, but I fear I may return to this game with a goofy experience than the one I had in this first take. Perfect for fans of trains, a notable skip for everyone else. It is on Game Pass for the sickenly curious, however.
Train Sim World 2 Rush Hour Deluxe Edition is available on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S