The real appeal of the PlayStation 4 is its versatility. While the system is loaded with juggernauts like The Last of Us: Part II and Fortnite, it also appeals to very specific demographics with titles tailored to all tastes and interests. Train Sim World, which launched earlier in the generation and was updated last year, is one such example. The audience for a locomotive simulation must be relatively slim, but its enthusiasm for railways made it an endearing experience.
Train Sim World 2, a full-blown sequel that’s fully compatible with previous expansions, is a refinement of its predecessor. In addition to the, er, addition of three new routes – including the oft-requested London Underground, courtesy of the Bakerloo Line – developer Dovetail Games is promising improvements in practically every facet of the release. This expands to the control scheme, physics, and even the way you design and play routes.
The controls, for example, will no longer require multiple button presses for simple actions. A tap of the d-pad will open passenger doors, while you’ll be able to access external camera views at the click of a button – and you’ll still retain driver controls without needing to toggle. The user interface has also been totally overhauled, showing more content and options per screen – an essential tweak as the franchise’s roster of available routes and trains continues to expand.
A new scenario planner allows you to drive where you want, how you want, when you want, and you can even enable an ‘Off the Rails’ toggle which will effectively allow you to drive any type of train on any line. The latter obviously breaks the laws of physics a little – some trains simply wouldn’t fit on the London Underground, for instance – but it’s all part of the studio’s mantra to allow you to play the way you want to.
Elsewhere, a new livery editor enables you to build custom paint jobs for your trains using various shapes and vectors, similar to those found in Gran Turismo Sport. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to share these online at launch, though the possibility hasn’t been ruled out in the future. Meanwhile, the skyboxes have been given a complete overhaul, with more cloud density adding atmosphere to the environments.
As part of a preview session, we were able to feast our eyes on a particularly clean London Underground, which has been authentically populated with official fonts and details. The capital’s subway system is perhaps most famous for its advertising, and according to the developers a lot of effort was invested in creating realistic hoardings around the station to give it that authentic feel. The line also expands into the London Overground, so you get glimpses of the city as well.
We also got a look at Köln Hbf, Cologne’s main station, from the cockpit of the DB ICE 3M. This is a particularly high-speed rail, and is really pushing the release’s engine. Unfortunately, we’ll need to wait until release to see the Allegheny Mountains up close, as Train Sim World 2’s third included railway will see you navigating challenging haulage missions on Sand Patch Grade. New adhesion physics, which affect the trains in adverse weather, should come into play here.
Obviously, if you’ve read this far then you’ll already know whether Train Sim World 2 is for you or not. We enjoyed the somewhat serene nature of travelling by rail in the original release, and with all content carrying across, this refined sequel seems like a no-brainer for train aficionados. We’ll bring you a full review later in the month.
Remember to wear a face covering if you're planning to catch a ride with Train Sim World 2 later in the month. Are you looking forward to this railway-themed release, and which route appeals to you most? Put your reverser into the forward position in the comments section below.