18 Wheels of Steel Haulin' is pretty much the same as earlier releases of the series.
Same objectives as ever, deliver cargoes to make money and buy more trucks to earn more money and buy more trucks.
Its similar to Across America, apart from the fact that it adds more cities and has much more updated graphics, as well as a few added features such as fatigue, meaning after you have driven a long time, your driver will become tired and cause the screen to go black randomly, requiring players to pull into a hotel, or if they have a sleeper cabin, to sleep in the truck.
A few more trucks have been released making the total up to 32 trucks. There is also over 45 different cargoes to deliver, far more than in previous series.
The game keeps the system requirements remarkably low for such a game, 64mb graphics card, the other requirements of 256mb of RAM and a 1.4GHZ processor should be standard on all PC's made after 2000 or so.
So this is a pretty good game, its got better driving physics than the previous titles of the series, and much better graphics. Personally its not my favourite, despite being the most popular game of the series. The inability to disable the fatigue is annoying, newer games of the series allow you to disable the feature.
I don't often play games on the computer, mainly because my computer isn't capable of playing anything worth playing. However this is one of the few rare games that my computer can handle and is somewhat entertaining. Now I must say that Haulin' isn't the latest game from the 18 Wheels of Steel franchise, in fact it comes somewhere in the middle, but if the old version is this good, the new version must be killer.
18 Wheels of Steel has a very simple game concept. You have to drive a truck from point A to point B without damaging the truck or getting fined by the police and losing all your assets and hence the game (big problem at the beginning for me). The game does give you a variety of what sort of goods you want to haul which can vary from a rack of cars to some vegetables and even animals. You'll be hauling this stuff across America, how far you go depends on the contract, so you could be going from Las Vegas to Seattle or from Vancouver to Miami and of course the distance also means longer hauls. For all this you also get paid, the amount once again depends on the stock hauled, distance and if you damage it or not. You use this money to maintain your truck; fuel it, service it and if not careful pay of police fines. You can also use the money to buy new trucks, trailers and drivers to work in your trucking empire.
Basically this game is a trucking/business simulator and a really good one at that, although it's unbelievably simple, it's also very fun and addictive and I guarantee that you'll be playing this game almost none stop for the first week or two, trying to complete the jobs to get enough money to buy new trucks and expand your empire. I've been playing it on and off for the last 2 weeks, trying to joggle work and this game at the same time.
Now for people who want to play this game, I'm going to give you some quick tips with which I struggled when I started this game -
- When you start blacking on in the game, it is because you character is tired (not a graphics issue), if you are in a sleeper truck (when you start you are), you can pull over and Press N > Advance Time and you'll be fine for the next few hours (game hours).
- You can service your truck to make it faster and stronger, but don't spend all the money you're given otherwise you can't get fuel.
- Don't try and do the most paying haul at the start as your still new and you'll loss more money paying of the police at every turn for violations
- When it turns dark, switch on the lights (L)
- Obey traffic lights
- Don't take out a massive loan and forget about it, eventually it'll come for you.
- To switch views press 1, 2, 3, 4 (I prefer 3, more accurate control)
This game is no Crysis, the graphics are what you would expect of any normal simulation game, if your computer can handle it, do crank everything up to high settings, it will look and feel that little bit smoother and crisp, unfortunately I have to play on the lowest settings as my laptop is horrible with games.