Game Review | Euro Truck Simulator 2
Game Summary: The player can drive one of a choice of articulated trucks across a depiction of Europe, picking up cargo from various locations and delivering it. (Wikipedia)
I know, I know - that's one hell of a tantalising summary for a videogame, huh? And the thing is, there really isn't a great deal more to it than that; Euro Truck Simulator 2 certainly can't be accused of false advertising and that's only a good thing.
The game is set in Europe - and even more of it if you buy the copious amounts of DLC - you drive a truck, although how much of a simulation you want it to be is entirely up to you. I've got it set so that I can use a Xbox 360 controller, but if you want to use the keyboard or wheel, the option is there for you.
And even with simple controls it can still prove to be a challenge if you zone out and don't pay attention. You're not controlling a sports car, or any other vehicle that you'd normally find in a game - these beasts take a while to get up to speed and can turn very, very slowly.
Even taking a simple turn off a motorway onto a smaller road can be hair-raising if you're going too fast, which usually ends up with you slamming into the barriers and damaging not only your truck, but the cargo too.
And after all that, even if you do turn well enough, you've still got to keep an eye on your speed to avoid hitting other road users, or to avoid picking up fines if any police spot you. Now these might sound like general driving tips, which I guess they are, but this game will punish you for these mistakes, unlike pretty much any other game around.
You might even get distracted by the surroundings, although it's more likely to be the excellent lighting. A lot of the roadside scenery shows up the game's age, but sunrise and sunset can be beautiful in this game, putting more recent titles to shame with the atmosphere they evoke.
As for the audio, this is where things get a little trickier to judge thanks to the options the game presents you: the vehicles all sound fine - no idea if they're authentic sounds that petrol-heads might appreciate more; but the music is pretty bland and forgettable.
The counter to the music being poor is the option in-game to choose your own audio to listen to - or even just start playing an audio file outside the game or on another device and turning the game's music off.
I listen to a couple of podcasts each week, and I play Euro Truck Simulator 2 while doing so, because it's enjoyable to have something interactive to respond to while enjoying a passive form of media. It makes you feel like you're maximising your time by enjoying whatever you're listening to while progressing in-game.
This does make for a strange situation when trying to appraise the game though: do you criticise the poor music from the developers, or praise their foresight and the option of being able to choose what you want to listen to?
I've gone for the latter, mainly because most games don't give you that choice. As I complained about in The Flame in the Flood, I didn't like the music in that game at all, but had no other options. At least with this game, I can enjoy whatever I want to listen to and the game won't punish me for it.
It all makes for an enjoyably relaxing experience, apart from those rare moments where you switch off for just a moment and realise a disaster is about to happen. The best part of this is that it will always be your own fault. Euro Truck Simulator 2 sets out to do one thing and does it very well.
Euro Truck Simulator 2 does pretty much exactly what it sets out to do, which honestly isn't too thrilling on its own, but the allure increases rapidly if you use the time to listen to new music, podcasts or audiobooks, and provides a relaxing environment to enjoy the game and whatever you choose to listen to.