Train Sim World 3 chugs to PS5 and PS4 today, and while we need to spend several more hours in the driver’s seat before we bring you a verdict, we thought we’d engage the throttle on our first impressions. TL;DR: it’s a revelation compared to Train Sim World 2 in some ways, thanks to the tidier user interface and vastly improved art direction.
While there have been questions about the sequel’s need to exist, its predecessor could be a messy game at times – and developer Dovetail Games clearly knows it. One subtle but welcome change is the ability to choose your train first, rather than route; you can still plump up for your favourite location if you prefer, but it just makes more sense to start with your loco.
Even without importing all of our previous content, we have just shy of 1,000 timetables to complete, which should give you a feel for how enormous this package is. Completing all of that – and realistically, it’s more than you could ever hope to do – would probably take around six weeks of non-stop play, and at that point you may as well be driving trains for a living.
We started out on the new expanded Southeastern Highspeed, which is a personal favourite of ours. Driving the Class 375 during summer, you can really appreciate the improvements to lighting and overall graphical fidelity; the game looks brighter and the scenery that much richer. However, the volumetric clouds add a dynamism to the visuals, as the lighting changes over time.
If you pair the constantly evolving cloud cover with the dynamic day-night cycle, you really get a sense that you’re on an actual journey; the outdoors look different when you pull into your final stop than at the time of your departure. We’re yet to really see the dynamic weather in action, but we really can’t wait to head into a storm and come out on the other side.
Speaking of journeys, the new Kassel and Würzburg route may have replaced the London Commuter and Southeastern Highspeed as our favourite. The first scenario in the ICE 1 sees you running a speed test across the entire line, meaning you’ll course over viaducts at dizzying speeds of up to 300km/h. It’s an absolutely fantastic run, and the game’s engine holds up.
One small detail we spotted as you dart through the German countryside is that there are a number of tunnels you need to weave through, and as you’re exposed to the sunlight, your pupils will take a second to adjust. This, along with the dynamism of the lighting discussed earlier, all just helps to add to the immersion. Unfortunately, pop-in is still a problem – even on the PS5, sadly.
We should also mention the new Training Centre, which is inspired by a famous German test track. This is a really smart addition as it gives you the freedom to get to grips with locos in a no pressure environment. You can really fiddle around with your trains, put the brakes through their paces, and just get an overall feel for them. It also means that the developer has been able to decouple [Pun intended – Ed] trains from their routes, providing more flexibility.
It should be stressed that if you’ve played Train Sim World 2 – or even, to be honest, Train Sim World 2020 before it – this is fundamentally a familiar experience. But while there’s a scruffiness to some of the audio and visuals in places, this is clearly the best looking and most immersive railway simulation Dovetail Games has made to date. We can’t wait to get back behind the reverser and bring you our review.
Will you be booking a ticket for Train Sim World 3? Get in the driver’s seat in the comments section below, and be sure to let us know.