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For years now many have been shocked by just how much success Microsoft over the years have had with their train simulator game but finally someone has decided to offer up a challenge but was it worth even trying?
This game has been put together with very good graphics and sound which allow for you to have excellent scenery and train detail making the game feel much more realistic and importantly easier to control as the game has many parts where you are going to need to being able to have stopping distances, speeds and times at train stations all managed correctly and failure to do one of these things could lead to you failing to complete your run successfully.
A simple premise but you are to get your train to a number of stops within set time frames and ensure you keep to the timetables to be able to complete the task successfully. The fact that EA have put in place you needing to open doors and shut them when doing your passenger pick ups/drop offs is something I was really impressed with as it makes the game feel much more realistic than Microsofts offering in this respect.
Well thought out controls allow for you to play the game with the minimum fuss and most results possible and thanks to the game coming with a booklet that you can unfold and put out in front of you so that you need not be able to remember all of the buttons but can in fact use this as a reference guide.
Lack of routes and engines makes it so that you feel somewhat disappointed with the level of depth and longevity of the game and whilst some may argue that you can pick up add-ons and expansion packs which I ackowledge this is not something you should need to do until a long time in to the game but after about two or three weeks I felt that I would need to buy a couple of expansion packs which makes this very expensive.
A good game which is put together very well but lack of game options for me just means that it can't quite go too high in its score.
Yes I think I have said it before I am a sucker when it comes to simulations. If you have to spend a day reading a manual just to start an engine on a 747 then I'm happy. So when I found this in my Local game I had to get it. Just as with planes my fascination with trains is just as bad. So bad in fact that I regularly check the southwest trains website for Trainee train driver vacancies.
Anyway till that happens I have rail simulator and I have to say I'm really happy with it. It comes with some preset routes, a few in the UK and a couple in Germany.
Firstly I have to say I've travelled to oxford many times via reading and I must say the level of detail is just superb, really the approach to reading is just how it is for real.
Everything you expect from a rail sim is there correctly coloured signals that you have to adhere to. There is even an automatic warning system (AWS) in place so if the signal ahead is green then you get a bell in the cab to tell you this. If the signal is yellow or red you get a buzzer and have 2.7 seconds to react to this and reset the system failing to do so triggers the emergency brakes on your train.
Also modelled very accurately is the Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) which is a signal and train monitoring system that detects if the train is travelling to fast to stop at the next signal, if it is then the brakes are applied again.
There are speed limits to stick too with the famous big round signs with red outline spaced along the track. Very interesting to see they have these accurate too as before Paddington stations very busy junction the limit slows to 40mph.
The trains look and sound amazing; this is partly because First Great Western had a part to play in this game allowing sound recordings and data to be implemented.
It is clear to see a lot of detail has gone in to this not just the trains but the routes the stations everything.
This game doesn't end there either. It has the ability for you to build your own route with custom buildings and stations u can pretty much add anything to it. I being me found this somewhat hard and my route was rubbish and derailed anything that touched it. I would say it's difficult to master this but Ii would be lying as my 6 year old son managed to build a 146 mile route which works perfectly with speed limits signals the lot.
This is a really neat little package and for £ 9.99 it was a bargain.
The downside to this game is there is limited routes however after driving these routes I have found them to be different every time. For example going into Paddington I had to stop at a red signal and await a late departing train before Ii could proceed.
Other than this I can't really find fault with it. Anyone interested in railways would love this. I hope there will be as many expansions become available as there are for Microsoft's Train Simulator.