In an effort to better sympathize with my colleagues and understand their daily frustrations, I decided to grab Euro Truck Sim 2 on the first day of the Steam Autumn Sale. You see, I am a Transport Planner for a haulage firm; deciding which jobs to take, which trucks to load them on, and where to send them all. Barely a minute goes by without a driver complaining about certain jobs, but from a bird’s eye view all I think is ‘of COURSE you can fit that in there! Fine, I’ll fire this up and see if things are indeed as rough as they say. Apparently, it’s a fairly good representation of real trucking.

The first thing that made me say ‘nice’ was that I could choose Grimsby as my firm’s HQ. That is where my real life firm is based, I know the roads and the town like the back of my hand. Part of me was also looking forward to driving round the town in a virtual world, like a sort of Google Maps meets Simcity experience. Unfortunately, Grimsby is reduced from the busiest port in the UK with a population of 100,000 to about three warehouse buildings and an area roughly equivalent to my back yard.

I’m impressed by the scale, but it’s just a whole load of nothing

Momentarily as impressing was seeing that the roads in and out of my home county were all labelled correctly, and I was rather bizarrely excited to drive along the same road I drive along every day. It’s clear that the devs have scaled everything down; the towns, the roads, the entire country. Grimsby to Cambridge is 3-4 hours on a good day, depending on the load, but I smashed that journey out in ten minutes. There seems a lot of promise, but these promises end up leaving my pretend trucker balls rather blue.

However I will now say farewell to the cons and welcome in the pros. The trucks handle brilliantly. And I don’t mean they’re easy and fun to drive, I mean they’re accurate to reality. Every turn is excruciatingly slow, trying to park your trailer up to a loading bay is frustrating and fiddly, plus annoying civilians getting in my way made me actually swear at my monitor. It’s evident the developers definitely had some guidance from actual HGV drivers, explaining to them how laborious and cumbersome these vehicles could be, but there’s not really much else to it. They would definitely have benefited from a chat with a geographer or a transport planner too. Yes, SCS Software, I’m available.

These rates are extortionate as well, so an accountant’s advice wouldn’t go amiss

As a Truck Driving Simulator, the game performs fairly well. As an entertaining gaming experience, it’s extremely lacking and sub-par. There are lots of buttons on the menu all grayed out (presumably until you have the cash or XP required) that let you buy more trucks, upgrade your HQ, increase your skills or purchase licensing and training. All these things I imagine just lend themselves to driving, and require a whole lot of driving to achieve. It’s progress just for progress sake. If you like the idea of driving trucks in real life, or for some reason want to play a Gran Turismo at 10% the speed, then pick this game up. It’s currently in the Steam Autumn Sale for a pittance, but unless you’re an enthusiast I wouldn’t really say it’s worth even that price.

What I reckon

Euro Truck Simulator 2 is:

A bit naffbut alright