We still haven’t quite concluded what makes the “work simulator” sub-genre so compelling, but Train Sim World definitely taps into it. Like the early days of Farming Simulator, this game’s obsessive adherence to protocol and attention to detail makes it an experience we’ve found strangely compulsive – even if we’ve spent hours of our playtime sitting in a driver’s seat simply staring out of a window. So what keeps this game from coming off the rails?
British developer Dovetail Games may be best known by PlayStation 4 owners for its fishing franchise, but it’s been making railway simulators for over a decade now, so there’s plenty of pedigree on display. The title compiles three “iconic” routes from around the world: the Great Western Railway, spanning London Paddington through to Reading; the Mitteldeutschland S-Bahn which takes you through the historic city of Leipzig; and the Northeast Corridor in New York.
There are a variety of trains to drive, and while our knowledge of locomotives begins and ends with the Kylie Minogue song, we appreciated the combination of commuter services with freight trains. Each machine requires a different skillset to operate, whether it’s connecting the Bombardier Talent 2’s pantographs to the overhead lines in order to power it or managing the brakes on GWR’s Class 66. Tutorials get you up to speed on each vehicle.
The game includes a number of Scenarios across each of its disciplines, each designed to put you in a situation that real railway operators may encounter. In one, for example, you’re roped in to a run a commuter service from London Paddington to Reading after another driver goes AWOL, so you need to catch a train back to the capital before embarking on your journey. Other scenarios see you operating in inclement weather.
Of course, fans will probably get most mileage out of the sheer array of services available for you to run at your own leisure. You can set seasonal and weather parameters and then head out on one of hundreds of real-world journeys, either as the train driver or as a passenger. You can stop at any station to explore, while the scenery throughout is authentic. Yes, more routes from around the world would have always been appreciated, but the ones available are well done.
That said, you have to know what you’re getting into here: this is a simulator. In order to drive each of the trains then you’re going to need to learn how they function, from their reverser handle right the way through to their throttle. The game holds your hand as much as you want it to, but if you’re not willing to sit down and actually learn about how these vehicles work, then it’s not the game for you; simply starting the train can take several minutes at a time.
Once you’re on the move, though, there’s an undeniable satisfaction to it all; it feels great knowing that you’ve followed a complicated series of steps to get your journey underway, and depending on what kind of service you’re running, it can be entertaining seeing if you can keep everything on time. We’ve all been subject to long train delays in the past, but when you’re actually in the hot seat and the one responsible, it may change your perspective just a bit.
The only major disappointment is that there’s no PlayStation VR support. While the game struggles to run on the PlayStation 4 without virtual reality, sputtering like an old steam train that’s run out of fuel, it would have been great to actually sit inside the cockpits of these transportation juggernauts, as they’re meticulously detailed and fun to operate. The train models themselves are impressive both inside and out, although the game as a whole can feel a bit lifeless – particularly on stations.
Games like Train Sim World will always benefit from a greater array of content: more trains, more routes, and more services. That said, learning how each of the trains in this title work and mastering the three main disciplines will take you hours at a time, and while it’s very much an acquired taste, we derived a mixture of satisfaction and relaxation from our new role as a railway operator.
I have no idea why this seems appealing... can you really screw things up, like.. South West Rail screw things up?
Are there strikes?
Well it'll cheaper then a hornby train set at least.
I would prefer a truck simulator game. Those always seem strangely appealing. Being on rails makes the whole experience seem..well..
@adf86 So is heart surgery in America I should think!
I watched the trailer for this out of curiosity. I literally have no idea what would make this game interesting to anyone?? As premises go, sitting in a train and watching a virtual train ride from London to Reading isn't exactly spectacular is it.
No idea why, but I'd be somewhat interested in this game if it wasn't £40.
Might pick up in the future.
The review mentions "hundreds of real world journeys" but then go on to say that the game could use more real world locations...so are the hundreds of journeys that are available confined to the three real world locations?
If this was a real sim then the game would be delayed.
@teknium_ Yeah you get three routes but all the services on those routes if that makes sense. So you can do all the journeys on that particular stretch of track.
I was going to preorder this, but then it got cancelled...
I really like this review. You're not dismissive of the genre, like so many other reviewers would be, and you focus on discussing the game itself, rather than making cheap puns at the expense of the folks who'll be interested in it.
Personally, it's not my styrofoam cup of overpriced tea but, if I were to ever expand my horizons, this review would set me on the right track. Thanks!
I have little interest in trains but this does appeal. I really enjoyed railroad tycoon on the dreamcast despite it being a horrendous buggy mess.
I wonder if the die hard fan wears a rain mak jacket, glasses and a backpack with a note pad and pen
I was hoping for a railway tycoon style game.... but this looks great for those who like this approach.
@KALofKRYPTON No strike option as far as I can see.
@Shellcore Yes, we need Euro Truck Simulator on PS4.
@tomassi Well, you drive the trains. A big part of it is learning how to get them moving.
@Nakatomi_Uk It's the only way to play.
I heard you have to train a little before you get a hang if the controls...
I will see myself out now...
Not quite in my wheel house for a game. I'd rather go a little less authentic, like Transportation Tycoon. Remake that and I'm in.
So glad to see this get a good review. I quite like train sims but they rarely come out on consoles. After watching a couple of youtube vids last week I went ahead a pre-ordered this, and it arrived today. Being a train sim I had low expectations for it's reviews, especially with it being on consoles, but as RogerRoger says above you're not at all dismissive of the genre. This review comes as a pleasant surprise, and I look forward to playing it tonight.
@Shellcore Would love Euro Truck Simulator to come out on PS4.. had it on my PC before the GFX card died and it was brilliant.
You want to see the DLC on steam for these types of games they can lead up to £1000's because of the actual cost and licensing for each special train it's ridiculous TS 2018 has DLC packs each from £6.99 to £14.99 and that's for one train on some of them. In fact I just searched on Steam and there's 491 pieces of DLC for it and it total cost £5,153.20 and I am not joking
"While the game struggles to run on the PlayStation 4"
Seriously? And it scores a 7? Any better on the Pro?
I enjoy the Euro/American Truck Simulator games, so this is something for me. However, these train sim games are quite notorious on PC for having a meagre selection of core content and an explosion of really expensive DLCs, … as Nakatomi already pointed out.
I'd love to have the Bus Simulator rather than this one
@Paranoimia In the meantime, games that actually run well on the PS4 sometimes get a 3/10 score. The logic behind the scoring system is quite odd at times, there's not much in terms of consistency.
@Bonbonetti I can understand a game that runs well getting a low score, as in every review the individual's personal tastes will always play a part, no matter how impartial they try to be. That's why I read reviews for games I'm on the fence about for more info, but always - always - ignore the score
But I don't understand how a game which runs poorly can ever get a high score.
That statement seems to be at odds with the rest of the review, and I feel needs expansion. Other than being poorly coded/optimised, I don't see why this wouldn't run very well on the PS4. A few weeks ago, they had a free play weekend for Train Sim on Steam and it ran fairly well on my pretty average laptop; it should be a doddle for the PS4.
I've put off getting the game on Steam for this, and I wouldn't be bothered if it scored low, but it's the performance comment which has me wondering. I'll have to check out some YouTube videos, I guess.
@Bonbonetti @Paranoimia Well in the context of that paragraph, I was talking about PSVR. It's not going to work in virtual reality if it can't hold a locked 30 frames-per-second.
It's a bit framey but perfectly playable, and it had no impact on my enjoyment at all. Sometimes a bad framerate can be detrimental to the game, and this isn't one of those occasions.
@get2sammyb Gotcha. Did you play on a standard PS4 or a Pro?
Only reason I ask is that I've watched a few videos on YT and it seems fairly smooth. Draw distance leaves a bit to be desired, though.
@Paranoimia PS4 Pro.
@get2sammyb Good to hear, thanks!
@get2sammyb Are the trains equipped with air conditioning?
@Octane If you know how to turn it on.
I was going to buy this on Xbox One, but then I found I was on the wrong platform.
I'm assuming you have to stand while playing, with some other dude's sweaty armpit in your face.
I was going to try the online MP but couldn't connect for ages until I restarted my wifi router.
Delay was caused by signal failure.
(I'll stop now)
Kylie Minogue .... SOLD!!!!!!
Tap here to load 36 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...