Train Simulator 2013 – Preview

Title   Train Simulator 2013
Developer Ltd
Publisher Ltd
Platform  PC
Genre  Transport simulation
Release Date  20th September, 2012
Official Site

If I told you that Train Simulator 2013 was my favourite game of Gamescom, you’d probably laugh in my face and remind me of all the big-name, action-packed titles available to me that must have been better. Hell, even my fellow writers have scoffed at the idea. But you know what? I’m sticking to it. Not one other game from Gamescom had me genuinely excited to check it out, and nothing else put a smile on my face after I walked out of the booth. Train Simulator 2013 is my game of show; now let me tell you why.

First off, the menus have had a total facelift, and are now far easier to work your way through than in the earlier games. This mainly comes down to the other major additions; new game modes Quick Drive and Multiplayer (more on these later) have necessitated a cleaner, more streamlined menu system that looks great and is simple to navigate. Even choosing your locomotive looks better, as this time around each train is separated into different categories and given a picture to help give you an idea of what you’re driving if you’ve got no idea what a Class 117 is, and also helps the serious players keep track of their DLC, which I’m told was becoming a real problem for them.

The tidier menus come in handy for Quick Drive, which isn’t a new mode per se, more a faster way to access the game’s Free Roam mode. In Quick Drive you choose your locomotive, which is incredibly easy, as previously discussed, the route you want to drive it on, and, for the first time in the series, you can choose the time of day, weather, and season. And if you don’t want to bother with any of that, you can hit random and just jump straight into any train on any track. It’s a great little system that allows anyone to do what they like and just get straight into driving trains.

Speaking of driving trains, another new feature to go with the plethora of others is the ability to use an Xbox 360 controller to control the train, which my guide through the game did for the entire presentation, and I have to say, it looked exceptionally smooth. I didn’t manage to pick up on the exact controls, and there were a lot of them, but there’s a controller layout you can access at any time in the start menu, should you require it. The controller can control pretty much everything, from driving the train with the throttle, brake and reverser, to moving the camera around, and can even handle the trickier stuff like doing and undoing the couplings on the train. The D-Pad is also associated with a lot of the more minor activities, such as turning the lights and the wipers on, so you’re not limited by the controller set up, and in some ways it makes the train easier to handle thanks to the precision of the controller over the sometimes clumsiness of a mouse.

Next on the agenda was the new multiplayer mode, a complete first for the Train Simulator. I was told that, while other train sims had attempted multiplayer modes, these were often brought quite literally to a crashing halt when one player derailed and the whole game ended. To combat this, Train Simulator 2013 will have an asynchronous multiplayer game using relays. Basically, the first driver will choose the route and locomotive, drive the first section of the route, and then be greeted with the option to send an invite to their friend to drive the next section. These invites can be passed on to anyone, so your route may get completed by a friend of a friend of a friend, which could lead to some interesting moments when suddenly a person you’ve never met is finishing off a route that you started. You can also start the same route multiple times, or multiple routes once each, and send out invites to each one to your friends, making sure they all get in on the action. While it may not sound as exciting as a sandbox multiplayer with everyone playing at once, it actually makes a lot of sense, and as was pointed out to me, adds to the realism of the game

Realism is something that the Train Simulator has always strived towards, and while it’s obvious in the way the trains are driven, there are also the trains and routes themselves. For Train Simulator 2013, the developers have created three new routes: Munich to Augsburg, Sherman Hill, a route in the US, and London to Brighton, all of which will be included as part of the game. The ICE 3 will also be included, and the level of detail on that particular locomotive and the others is wonderful, and it’s clear there’s been a lot of effort into crafting the trains so they look just like their real-life counterparts. The environments still haven’t received the same level of detail as the trains, which is a shame because with just a little bit more of a lift they could bring some extra life to the game, but the routes themselves are crafted realistically in terms of actual twists and turns and so on, and we’re really here just for the trains and the driving thereof.

Of course, if you don’t like the real-life routes on offer, you can always adjust them any way you like, or go ahead and create your own. The World Editor is still there, along with the Scenario Editor for putting together your own missions. This time around, however, Train Simulator 2013 is getting Steam Workshop integration, so you can share your created content with people across the world. The developers hope this will be an easy and exciting way to get people to share their content with everyone who plays the game, and even get an insight into what players from all over the world would like to see in the game that the developers don’t already accommodate. The developers will continue to support the game with their own scenarios, so there’ll always be something to download and try out.

So with a veritable feast of huge new features, along with some smaller tweaks like being able to adjust the opacity of the HUD and change how much you see of it, Train Simulator 2013 is shaping up to be the finest addition to the series yet. And the best part? If you already own the game, you’ll get all these new features as part of a free update, just like last time, and all your purchased DLC is still compatible. New users can still pick it up and Steam and in stores, but it’s nice to know that current owners are still being looked after. The game is set to release on the 20th of September, and I would highly, highly recommend you take note of it.

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  1. Matthew Chapman says:

    I have had this game since it first started as railworks and it works well on a modern PC and always looks very realistic.
    I and everytime they update it they do it for free which is great.
    Can’t wait for the next version and quick drive :)

  2. Jeremy Middlesome says:

    I have had the various versions of this game since 2007.
    All very nice to look at, the the AI & Signalling does nothing realistically.
    It’s a pure game NOT a simulator.

  3. disconnect says:

    I have had this game under various names since 2007 (Rail simulator, Railworks, Railworks2, Train simulator 2012), but except the “new” graphics engine (which looks acceptable, but have extreme high pc requirements), just very little things changed.
    Indeed it’s not a simulator, and of course the new games aren’t new. Basically it’s still the same game as Rail Simulator released yearly, with some little patches (only for eye candy), as the physics is incomplete and bugged just like it was at the hurried release of RS.
    Also the AI is dumb as hell, can’t handle the simplest traffic situation, like crossing of trains, and even have problems at the following trains, as sometimes the trains just pass the red light, and crash in the other without braking.
    Only good for toy train experience, however the lack of realistic traffic (99% you will see trains on the opposite direction of rails, as moving scenery, no crossing, red lights, traffic congestion), makes Trainz better solution for that as it have at least good AI, so there the realistic traffic is possible.

    Label this game as a simulator, is like labeling HAWX as a realistic simulator :D

  4. HansLucky says:

    Railworks3 is the best and realistic Train Simulator on Market.
    The other Train Sims are more Modeltrains.
    She have not the RIDE Feeling and the fantastic Enviroment and Physik Features.

  5. Dr.Kikí says:

    I like to play Railworks as there are now all modern security systems and the German ICE is also added the German LZB.
    So you can very well represent the railway world everyday.
    Trainz I had but the simulator is completely unrealistic. As with speed 150 mph can ride in 90 degree curves and not derailed. Also you can also go through other trains pass without anything happening.
    All locomotives have American sound and many lack the CAB.
    Even the graphics are at least 5 – 8 Years back. The simulator has keienn shadows on objects so lacking in the deep.

    I can’t wait for 20 September.

  6. Terry Pratchett says:

    I dont understand when the writer says we now have a new choice in selecting the time of day, weather, and seasons, we’ve always had this function since Rail Simulator days.

  7. Edward Edward says:

    I still think you’re a bit mental for loving the game as much as you did, but I can’t argue! If you liked it that much, then I’m glad something took your fancy as much as it did! :D

    But yeah, you’re mental ;)

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