I think I have become the unofficial reviewer of all simulator style games due to some of my reviews on past Farming Simulators. I can’t lie, I do enjoy a good simulator game so seeing Train Sim World Founders (TSWF) and growing up playing with trains had me very excited for this release.
TSWF starts out with you picking a name and creating a character from a set of pre-made characters with no customization of hair or clothes. From this point on you really don’t see your characters face, which made me wonder why even put that option in the game if you never see your character again. The first real gameplay comes in through the tutorial mode, and without the tutorial mode, you would have a tough time figuring out the controls for these locomotives. The interior of the locomotives are very detailed with lots of buttons and levers that almost all have actual functions. For some of the levers you have to push the sticks in different positions in order to engage them, but most of the other buttons are just for show. Besides brakes, throttle and emergency brakes you must have the camera in the cockpit to see the buttons you need to hit. The analog sticks are used to point to the button or lever needed to engage which can be annoying when trying to hit some of the smaller buttons. There are gauges along the cockpit that read rpms and speed which you can vaguely read and some gauges that you just can’t see. The tutorials do cover the 3 locomotives that you operate: a freighter and two different styles of passenger trains. One is a speed style and the other is similar to a subway style locomotive, each of which have different operating procedures.
Once you finish the tutorials you can play the scenarios all with different objectives and locomotives. One of the first ones requires to catch a train and take it down the line about 25 minutes (of real time). You are free to walk about the different cars opening the doors in between and sit in the seats and enjoy the view, but that’s about all you do. After arriving you walk around the station to find your train and must wait till departure time (10 minutes of real time) and drive back down the line for about 30 minutes. With no speed adjustment settings (like a simple fast forward button), this can be a bit of a drag. While the train is in motion you can get out of the seat and walk around the cockpit of the train but nothing further. There are about 6 scenarios that require you to make different stops at stations in different locomotives. There are different surroundings in every part of the train line but walking through different stations are all about the same set up.
TSWF has a good concept but it lacks in so many areas. I understand that this game is a simulator, but it doesn’t want to make me keep playing. It’s titled founders which gives me the idea that you’re playing as the owner of the train company and can make business decisions. You should be able to pick the routes you take and loads you take but besides the scenarios there is the free play mode but there’s no reason to complete the objectives other than for the achievements. You don’t gain any more trains or money, giving no reason to keep playing. If it was a true founders style you should be able to select the type of cars you need and connect them in the rail yard before departing. The controls in the cockpit aren’t labeled clearly and there is no zoom in function to see what button your hitting just the pop-up sign when you hover your analog stick curser over said button. You can’t walk from the cockpit to the rest of the train while it is in motion. There is no further customization of your character so what was the point in even making one if you never see it? No customization in your locomotives or just even the color schemes to them either. There’s a lot I wish this game had. It has a good core idea and start up but I hope there is some change for the next one. Until then, its back to train sets for me.
Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of this review.
Final Score: 3/10
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