Another I have picked recently, again courtesy of a Steam sale, is Euro Truck Simulator 2. This is not the sort of game I would usually even consider, but whilst I was on holiday I watched a few streams on Twitch and thought it might be a relaxing change of pace to some of the other games I play, so I added it to my wishlist. It was always going to be a bit of a gamble, since apart from anything else I have plenty demands on my gaming time, but I hoped it would be something I would be able to play for a short period of time here and there.
Well it came on sale and I acquired it, and have been playing it on and off for the last week or so. On one level this has proven to be exactly the sort of game I was hoping for – a pleasant diversion very different from all my other options. However, I can also see why it is such a popular game and has sold so well. There is something very engaging about it. This should not be a surprise, since it is the same form of engagement that is central to the success of any Simulator game.
Well, I suppose it depends a little on what one means by simulator. In this I think ETS2 covers both the most common meaning of simulator very well. On the one hand this can clearly be a very detailed truck-driving simulator, as there are certainly options to set it up that way. On the other hand it is also a simulator in the building-sense, like the SimCity series, as there is very much the idea that one should build one’s own trucking company. By allowing more casual controls ETS2 is able to tap into and cater for a wide demographic.
I have found it very relaxing, to fire up the game, and select a quick-job, and just drive from (a) to (b). I have my own little internal rule that I try to start my next journey from the same location as I have just finished, which is generally quite easy. I have not yet actually purchased my own truck, still just doing Quick Jobs to build up that initial nest egg. I am no hurry to get my own truck either, though I will probably do so relatively soon.
There have been one or two interesting moments, like the time I literally had to stop playing as I could feel myself falling asleep – at the keyboard as it were! Hang on, you say, you like this game yet I makes you fall to sleep! How can this be? Well, I suppose because it does mimic the soporific effect that driving has in real life, so I find it an amusing little parallel. Also, I was frankly fairly exhausted when it happened. I have also had to remember to drive on the wrong side of the road when I am in the Continent, which just feels weird. Clearly I need to start a world crusade for everyone to drive on the left – I am sure that is the natural way to drive! 😀 .
I am also fairly poor at parking the lorries, though I hope I am slowly getting better. Practice, practice, and more practice, as they say. I also need to cause fewer accidents, though in truth I do seem to be crashing less often than I used to. Mind you, I did see a very interesting crash in my side-mirror once when a car tried to over-take me and ended up in another car. There are lots of little details in the world I am discovering, which I find entrancing.
Obviously we will see for how long I actively play it, but given I picked it up at a very competitive price so far it feels like money well spent.