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Parker Garcia
Parker Garcia

Train Simulator 2016

Promising a collection of routes, trains and challenges that will push you to the limit, regardless of your level of experience, Train Sim 2016 will throw extreme weather conditions, awkward timetables and maybe even the odd "wrong type of leaves" into the works, to stretch your train driving skills as far as they'll go, when it chuffs onto shelves on the 17th September.

Train Simulator 2016

Oddly enough, though, the screenshots that have currently been released don't exactly seem to get across the "extreme" theme for this year's game - although they do show off some of the locations you'll be able to visit, and trains you'll be able to drive.

For those into their American trains (which, like everything else American, are as big as they come), you have the Sherman Hill line, a 100 mile stretch of American desert through the state of Wyoming. Known for its gigantic freight trains, this is a line that sees dozens of trucks pulled by multiple trains - and with that much weight involved, all it takes is a bit of bad weather to make everything that much trickier (as the trailer at the bottom of this article shows). This route also comes complete with five trains, although admittedly, we're not too hot on US trains:

With the famous-if-mythical German efficiency to be mindful of, there will be strict timetables to stick to on this line - although if real life experience is anything to go by, leaving ten to twenty minutes late should do you just about fine. Or maybe they just did that to make us feel more at home? This line also comes with five different trains for you to sink your teeth into:

Perhaps the line that has us the most excited though, is the Riviera Line, a 40 mile track that takes you from Exeter all the way through to Kingswear in its 1950s recreation, essentially taking you back to the twilight years of the golden age of steam, across a route that's actually two different railways in the present day - the Exeter to Paignton route, and the Paignton to Dartmouth Steam Railway. Coming with five thundering steam locomotives for you to try and figure out how to drive, this is where we'll be heading when we first go hands-on with the game. Even if we will still be worried the giant pressure cooker in front of us could explode at any time. Here's the trains you get:

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that each of these old steam trains includes something known as driver assist - a new feature for Train Simulator 2016 that intends to make driving a steam engine that little bit easier. With a myriad of handles, controls and dials to keep an eye on, steam engines are complex beasts, but driver assist helps draw your attention to the bits that need it. If you need to just adjust your speed, inject more water, or do almost anything else, driver assist will highlight the right thing for you to fiddle with, and tell you how much you need to adjust it, providing an incredibly helpful hand for novices to hold. For those who already know their stuff, though, you can easily disable this feature.

Of course, that's not the only new feature for Train Sim 2016, as the game will also include a brand new mode known as Railfan Mode. In the UK, this would probably be better known as Trainspotter mode, as it lets you position yourself at any point along the line, and take screenshots as your train - or another one - chugs by.

Set for a release on the 17th September, Train Simulator 2016 looks set to offer something for everyone. With streamlined menus, easier to drive steam trains, and a great selection of routes, this is one we're looking forward to getting hands-on with nearer its launch. For Train Sim 2016, and the series in general, the future looks bright - at gamescom, it was announced that Dovetail Games' currently-in-the-works "next gen" train simulator will be coming to both Xbox One and PC next year, powered by state of the art graphics engine, the Unreal Engine 4.

Check the Train Simulator 2016: Wakayama and Sakurai Lines Route system requirements. Can I Run it? Test your specs and rate your gaming PC. System requirements Lab runs millions of PC requirements tests on over 8,500 games a month.

Train Simulator 2016 is extreme, as developer Dovetail Games notes no fewer than five times in today's announcement of its launch on Steam. Foremost among the game's extremism, going by this "Get ready for the extreme" trailer, is the inclusion of the famous Union Pacific Gas Turbine-Electric Locomotives, which were driven by what Wikipedia says "are the most powerful prime movers ever installed in any North American locomotive." But perhaps more importantly from a gameplay perspective, the new edition will also see the game move to a "live service" model, with regular updates and free monthly add-ons for owners.

But now it's back, digitally at least, in Train Simulator 2016, which features other "historically significant" trains including the BR 155 on the West Rhine route from Cologe to Koblenz, and the GWR Castle Class running from Exeter to Kingswear on the Riviera Line. The game also features a new "Drive Assist" system which uses real-time prompts and more user-friendly introductions and scenarios to simplify the process of keeping these mighty machines moving.

2015 is not the year that Train Simulator makes its promised switch to the Unreal Engine 4. Instead, this year's revision Train Simulator 2016 [official site] brings a small set of updates and a new selection of content for the base game. Even as Train Simulator updates go, this year's seems pretty slim. An optimist might say that could indicate developers Dovetail Games are focusing on the new Unreal Engine TS, while a pessimist might say Dovetail are getting stingier. Me, I'd probably just invent two hypothetical people and use them to distract from my handwaving.

Train Simulator also comes as a new package you can buy, with a different set of routes and content included in the base game. You'll get a historical journey down the Cornish Riviera in the age of Steam, some freight-hauling through a harsh and snowy land, and more. If you already own TS, I believe you can still simply buy 2016 to get this new stuff added to your collection.

At this point, I'd turn to Steam user reviews to get an idea of how people are receiving TS2016, but Train Simulator is one of those fascinating games where people who've played it for hundreds of hours will tell you it's awful. Everything I've heard - and the little I've played - says TS has a whole load of problems, but it's the biggest game in a niche market where people don't have much choice. One can play it while disliking it because it's the best you'll get. Also, it must be hard to not feel you're being mugged off when the base game is shoddy yet has literally thousands of pounds of DLC. Hmm!

Last week saw my full review of Avion Flight Simulator 2015, which I was really impressed by, interstitial ads notwithstanding. Happily, for the follow-up simulator, Seven Summit Studios went down the commercial game route, with Rail Road Train Simulator 2016 costing just over 2 in the UK Store, but with the same idea of working your way through many steam engines and accomplishing various missions/tasks. It's not quite as awe inspiring as 'Avion', but as a steam fan anyway, there was still plenty here to find interesting.

Most of that is fair enough, though 'real world routes and delivers the ultimate railway hobby' and 'vast track world' and hyperbole pure and simple. 'A decent train driving sim on a smartphone screen' is a better summary!

Unlike with flight sims, there's more of an element of potential boredom with steam trains, as driving at a typical 25mph takes ages to get anywhere. At least in real time, which is why Rail Road Train Simulator 2016 takes two steps. First, the virtual (Unity graphics-drawn) world is more compact than line layouts in the real world, so stations are only a few miles apart. Secondly, the clock is sped-up, so you're often running at well over 60x real time (it varies depending on what you're doing) - making the train journeys faster and more exciting. Yes, it's all a tiny bit unrealistic, but it's also a lot more fun - and this is a game at the end of the day.

As with Avion, the idea is to take the fun and interesting parts of driving a steam train and to reduce or downplay everything else - and it almost works. I say 'almost' because while you can pan the virtual camera around your trains, there's not yet an in-cab view, complete with interactive controls - that's the point where a rail road simulator starts to become immersive, as to 'just a game'. Apparently an in-cab view is in the works and should appear as an update later in 2017.

The game revolves, for each mission, around juggling the throttle, points and brake in order to navigate around the layout, obeying signals, observing track speed limits, avoiding other trains, and so on. Most missions aren't that challenging if you concentrate (certainly easier than in Avion) but remember that part of the fun of playing a steam train simulator is doing just that - you play for the experience!

I was testing Rail Road Train Simulator 2016 on the HP Elite X3, so about as high end as you can get in the Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile world, though there are visual settings to try scaling down and turning off if you have a lesser device and see some drop in frame rate:

This is clearly Summit Studio's first cut at a train simulator and, for a v1 product, it's really well done. The lack of a 'cab cam' is the glaring omission and, when the game gets updated, it will be worth playing through all over again from the true first person perspective. The modest 2 or so purchase price (and no ads) is something of a no-brainer for anyone with a love of trains.

Train Simulator Classic (originally RailWorks and Train Simulator) is a train simulation game developed by Dovetail Games.[1] It is the successor to Rail Simulator, and was released online on 12 June 2009 and in stores on 3 July 2009.[2] 041b061a72




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