This post is about a game from SCS Software called Euro Truck Simulator 2. I'm not sure if I'd actually call this a review. It's basically just me giving you impressions about the game, but it can also serve as a review. When I first saw this game (on Steam Greenlight), my first thought was, 'what the heck?' I admitted it did sound a little intriguing. Sure, I had no passion for all things 'truck,' but hey, the page had 'thousands of miles of real road networks with hundreds of famous landmarks and structures' as a key feature. Anyone who knows me also knows that I'm normally a sucker for open world driving. I just didn't like to do it in a truck. I mean, they're not known for speeding recklessly. I realize it's actually entirely possible to do so, but it's just not the same as speeding recklessly in a car. That said, I didn't think much of this game at all. If only I could play this game as a car driver ala Burnout Paradise or the Test Drive Unlimited series instead of in a big scary truck. So anyway, the game went out of my mind for a bit, until I saw the game actually got chosen and is now on the store front. Wow, I thought. How did this game of all games get chosen and not any of the games I voted for? LAME. However..an open world driving/racing game still appealed to me, and I checked some reviews and decided to give it a go and download the demo, despite not caring about trucks. I've got nothing to lose by trying it at least. I'm pretty open-minded about gaming. So according to the 'story' when I started up the tutorial, my life long dream has come true, to become a truck driver. yeah, okay buddy. Whatever you say. I had no funds at all to buy my very own truck, so I had to take jobs from other companies (using their trucks) to deliver goods from here to there. First thing I've noticed is that this is pretty damn hard. I turn left and I hit a guardrail. Oops. I try to turn around, only to make things worse. I had to learn how to drive a truck properly if I'm ever going to get anywhere. Luckily the game includes a GPS so I know exactly where I'm supposed to go, which is good 'cause my sense of direction is horrid. This is the first game I've ever played that actually fined me for breaking traffic rules. Speed? Fine. Run through a red light? Fine. Denting a car? Fine. Overtaking a car when I shouldn't? Fine. Forget to turn on headlights at night? Fine. Don't sleep when tired? Fine. Man, at this rate I'll never get my own 'dream truck.' All these fines will put me in the poor house. To make a long story short, after several hundred miles later, I am thoroughly hooked. How can a game where you drive trucks hauling cargo like dried milk, tractors and Sulfuric Acid be so good? As far as simulation games go, this game actually gets lots of things right. You can tell this game is going to be good as the company in question has made a zillion other games just like this in the past. Examples of such games include: Euro Truck Simulator (well, d'uh) 18 Wheels of Steel American Long Haul 18 Wheels of Steel Haulin' 18 Wheels of Steel: Pedal to the Metal 18 Wheels of Steel: Across America Hard Truck: 18 Wheels of Steel SCANIA Truck Driving Simulator Trucks & Trailers German Truck Simulator UK Truck Simulator They even made EXTREME truck driving games. So you see, they have many years of experience in creating the ultimate truck driving game. These guys know all about what it takes to drive a truck, whether you're hauling freight in Europe, America, or Bangladesh. So what does the game do right? Well for one, it makes you a better driver. You can't just zoom around nilly willy and defy the law. Well actually you could do that, but then your precious cargo would be wrecked which means less experience and less pay you'll get from your client, and the fines for all the laws you've broken all come out of your own funds. That's not a good start to funding your own trucking empire. Then there's the customization you can do with your truck or the trucks you buy for your drivers. Several real truck brands are represented in the game such as Volvo (with the latest update), MAN and Iveco. The only one left that still refuses is Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes in the game). You can upgrade the chassis, transmission, engine and cabin. You can set the steering wheel on the right or left side. You can also add in a ton of different accessories like grille guards, tires, mirrors, beacons, sideskirts and driver's plate. Heck, you can even change the door handles and door steps. You can also give your truck a cool paint job to make it truly unique. Ever dreamed of owning a pink and magenta truck? Well now you can! There's also the entire business side of things. It's not mandatory, but I don't see how anyone would not want to start their own company and make it big. You can buy garages at any of the 60+ cities in Europe and the UK, and hire drivers to work at any of these garages. Soon they'll be hauling cargo for you and you get all the profit, minus fuel and repair costs. Of course, you'll also need to buy trucks for these drivers so they can get the job done. Heck, you could just lounge in your truck and let the drivers do all the work, but that sure would make for a rather boring game. There's also the experience. When you complete jobs, you also get experience points like some whacked out RPG, and when you reach certain levels, you get to spend points (you get one each level) to increase your skills, whether it be long distance driving (the further your delivery run, the more you earn), fragile cargo (unlocks fragile cargo like glass) and ecodriving (saves on fuel costs). That gives people an incentive to drive safely. Bad deliveries means less XP and less pay. Of course, the whole meat and potatoes of this game is to actually drive a truck. The map is huge, but it's not to scale. Some of the longer routes would still take up to two real time hours though, which is a decent enough time for most people. Driving a truck is nothing like driving a car. You'll end up crashing into other things more often than not, but you'll soon get used to it quick. The scenery in the game is amazing. Okay, so it's not amazing, but if you take a look at any other truck driving game (believe it not, there are other companies besides SCS that makes truck driving games), it's pretty awful. As far as similar simulation games go, it's actually pretty darn decent, and you'll see miles and miles of open fields, green meadows, forests, gas stations, and lots of different objects like bridges, ships, farm tractors, wind turbines and even animals. The only bad thing is the awful birds which look more like black blobs to me. Other people think they're UFOs. Naturally, driving hundreds of miles to deliver TVs from London to Bern is incredibly stress-free and very relaxing. It's a great game to unwind after a hard day at work. Of course, until an AI car decides to slam into you as you cross the street. Sadly, just like every other game, there are some issues that I hope would be fixed in upcoming patches. The AI of the vehicles aren't very good. Some love to drive like a turtle in a 90 MPH zone. Some love to just sit there instead of turning left at the intersection, thus tying up traffic. Luckily, a quick save + load gets rid of all the vehicles to save you waiting at the light for ages. Okay I exaggerate, 'cause I usually wait anyway, but that method clears it up instantly. Luckily most of these idiot moments occur in the cities which you will invariably barely spend much time in. Literally 98% of your time is spent on the road between cities. There are some other things, like not needing to eat although you do need to rest, and no changing seasons so if you wanted to go driving in the snow, you're out of luck. Not every country is represented either at the moment, although lots already are. There's no lights in the cabin, and at night it's pretty difficult as you can't use your mirrors to see what's what so you're basically going blind when overtaking a car or simply changing lanes. It'd be nice if you could be a co-passenger and just view the country without bothering to driving. Cities are cut and paste jobs and they all tend to look alike. That said, the bulk of the game is to do deliveries, not to gaze around in cities. They're only there to pick up and drop off cargo, and to repair your trucks from wear and tear or damage. SCS has already released several patches and are set to release more, so they're pretty dedicated to their products. In their last patch, they even tweaked the physics so when you start hauling oversized loads, you'll soon find out it won't be as easy this time! It makes you feel like you're actually driving a big honky truck, not that it wasn't like that before, of course, but now it's even better. The mod scene for this game is healthy and should sustain the game for a long time to come. There are lots of people who laugh at the game because they don't see the point of it all, but some of those same people try it anyway (either to see what the fuss is about or to laugh at it some more) and end up eating their hat while they decide to purchase it. Hell, I was one of these people! Don't let the theme fool you. Any game, no matter how bizarre and strange it is, has the potential to be good. All they need are dedicated people willing to make a game the best it can be.