Euro Truck Simulator 2 was the kind of game that was really easy to wind down with. Rather than being a game about intense combat or one that requires you to heavily dig into complex puzzles, Euro Truck Simulator required you to drive across the European countryside and deliver goods to different places. There was something strangely calming about the whole process. So, the concept of taking that gameplay loop and putting it in America, for American Truck Simulator, seemed like a perfect concept for anyone who’s wanted to take the Great American Roadtrip.
For those unfamiliar with the Euro Truck Simulator games, the core loop is that you take a set of jobs, using company trucks, to deliver goods to different locations. Initially, you can only take short distance jobs that will not give you much money. As you progress, you gain experience and will unlock the ability to take on higher risk jobs that require you to travel further and further away. This culminates with the ability to actually purchase your own truck and start your own freight company.
American Truck Simulator does not use the word, “Simulator” in an ironic manner. Unlike a lot of “simulator” games, American Truck Simulator uses is an actual simulation game, complete with the need to follow traffic laws, the need to maintain your fuel and to ensure that you are not driving too long or risk falling asleep at the wheel. There’s a strange serenity that comes from following the rules that the game puts in front of you.
If you fail to follow the rules, the consequences can be severe. While in previous titles, you could get fined for speeding by a speed camera, now there are cops on the open road that you will need to be on the lookout for you’ll or be fined for speeding. Another new addition to the series is weight stations, where you need to pull in to have your vehicle weighed or risk a fine.
However, if you go all out crazy, you can run into other vehicles and get fined for reckless driving. Moreover, you run the risk of damaging your truck to the point where you need to have it towed and repaired. While initially repairs and gas expenses are covered by your employer, if you want to really get into the game and start your company, you need to be more careful. It’s all of these rules that add to making American Truck Simulator actually feel like a simulator game and, as a result, makes the entire package feel good.
The driving is spot on, as well, with trucks feeling like they have weight to them. Moreover, having a trailer attached to your truck gives you the added need to look out for how you are turning. This all culminates in the final portion of the delivery: dropping off the goods.
While in Euro Truck Simulator, you could either make a precise turn into parking space, backing your trailer to dock doors, which net you bonus experience, or you could skip the entire process and lose any extra XP. American Truck Simulator adds in a new layer. Instead of performing precise parking or none at all, you can opt to choose an easier parking. This generally will involve you pulling up into an easily accessible area and dropping off your cargo. It nets you a lower amount of XP but it is still a welcome option for any driver who was absolutely terrible at backing a truck up.
While the entire package feels like an Americanized version of Euro Truck Simulator 2, there is one thing that players may feel is lacking. At launch, American Truck Simulator includes California and Nevada. While this may sound large, it feels much smaller once you’ve visited many of the locations multiple times. SCS Software has announced that Arizona will be released soon as a free DLC, but it feels like more of the country is needed before it can actually be considered a true “American” Truck Simulator.
However, the launch package will feel heavily welcome to any player who’s invested a lot in Euro Truck Simulator 2. American Truck Simulator feels like a case of, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” The new additions are nice and while a more complete package would be better, the concept of driving across the Nevada desert is really well executed. American Truck Simulator is, just like Euro Truck Simulator 2, the perfect game to unwind with.
SCORE: 9.0 out of 10
A code for American Truck Simulator was provided to Pixel Related for review.