Welcome to our Train Sim World 2020 review. Originally released as Train Sim World back in 2018, the game has now received an update across all platforms changing it to Train Sim World 2020. The update has added a new scoring system, more routes and more locomotives for players to enjoy. For the purpose of this review, I will be treating the game as if it were a completely brand new release.
- Train Sim World 2020
- Platforms: 1 – 14 😉 PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Developer: Dovetail Games
- Publisher: Dovetail Games
- Multiplayer: None
- Available: 15th August 2019
- Price: £24.99 (U.K), $29.99 (U.S)
- Age Rating: PEGI 3 (UK/EU), E (U.S)
- Review Code Provided
First thing first, I want to get off my chest that I’m not a trainspotter or have any real knowledge of locomotives, I do however have knowledge of games and have ridden on plenty of trains in my lifetime, so I feel somewhat qualified to review this game. That all said though, it almost feels like this game was built for anyone to enjoy, whether they love spotting trains or not.
When it comes to games there’s a fine line between reality and the virtual world. Being a simulator, Train Sim World 2020 leans heavily into reality and feels more like a training program than it does a video game. This isn’t a bad thing at all as its a completely different way to play.
In a bid to add a bit of a game-like feel to it, Train Sim World 2020 does feature a scoring system that awards you based on performance throughout each run. This system adds a level of replayability as it gives you a reason to improve and keep trying until you’ve done perfectly.
In Train Sim World 2020, you will be a driver for a wide range of different purposes. One moment you could be taking passengers on commuter journeys and then next you could be hauling a broken-down locomotive from a station platform. Each of these activities presents its own challenges and factors to overcome, for example, commuter trains will often require you to try and get to the next station on time, while haulage trains require you to manually change the track direction.
As a driver, you’ll spend most of your time in locomotive cockpits surrounded by buttons and levers. Buttons and levers you will gradually come to understand as you experience this simulator. With so many different locomotives on offer, you’ll have to master the cockpit of quite a few and since no two are really the same this is a big challenge in itself. You’ll be learning the ins and outs of modern locomotives to much older ones and personally, I find the modern ones easier to work with.
As I learned from Train Sim World 2020, driving trains isn’t as easy as people often mistake it to be, when complaining about a service that’s a minute late. It’s not a case of putting your foot down on a pedal and off you go. Instead, there are things like brakes to sort out, keys to turn, reversers to set, lights to turn on so much more. The game does a wonderful job of explaining the process of getting each locomotive off to a start and a stop in a suitable manner and eventually eases you off into the world on your own.
Something that really annoys me, is that if you make a simple mistake, such as for example, failing to stop at a stop warning, the game forces you to completely restart the scenario, no matter how far you are or how long you’ve been controlling the train. For example, I did a 30-minute journey on the Great Western Railway and just missed stopping in time at the warning and instantly the scenario failed and I was forced to restart completely. A checkpoint system would indeed be a welcome addition to this game.
When you’re not in the cockpit, you’re either trackside changing directions or navigating your way through a train station to your next job or finding the exit to end the current objective. This is done in a first-person perspective and works really well. Around each station, you’ll find posters to update and little things to find just to add a bit more fun to the mix. It’s also great to walk around and pay attention to everything the development team has so lovingly recreated.
Graphically Train Sim World 2020 is a pick and mix of gorgeous graphics vs horrendous graphics. The locomotives, the stations, and the tracks all look stunning and it’s clear to see the level of detail put into carefully recreating each one of these based on their real-life counterparts. Look beyond the station and into the cities and towns around them and its clear to see these areas aren’t really of any importance as graphics are blocky and kind of reminiscent of early PS2 games. As I said though the important parts of this game such as the locomotives, stations, and railways have all been recreated stunningly based on many, I imagine, hundreds of hours of study, research, and travel.
A camera system with multiple angles exists so you can get a decent view of locomotive exteriors as they fly down tracks. It’s also possible to set the camera up to allow free movement so you can get shots of every angle of the locomotive and its surroundings.
In conclusion, there’s no escaping that Train Sim World 2020 is a simulator game that feels more like a training program than it does a game, however it tries to add some game-like mechanics in the mix to create something that train enthusiasts and their opposites can enjoy. While not a train enthusiast myself, I have had fun learning the ins and outs of various locomotives and trying to improve my performance on every run. It’s also helped me to better understand the job of train drivers and have more respect for what they do.
That concludes our Train Sim World 2020 review. Existing users of Train Sim World will have received a free upgrade to the game. New users can buy it as a standard version on the PS4 from the links below. A digital deluxe version also exists and you’ll find it mentioned in the webpages of the links.