Train Sim World – Review

Simulation is a prominent genre of the gaming industry which has witnessed great leaps in realism, gameplay, graphics, community, modding etc. Today, there are various types of simulators available ranging from ‘flight simulator’ to ‘Battle simulator.’ While these are considered to be complex and hardcore (I personally prefer flight simulator), today I will be reviewing a train simulator called, ‘Train Sim World’ (TSW).

The developer and publisher for TSW is Dovetail Games. This is the same company which took over the license of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator and had launched Flight Sim World; which shut shop. A disappointment because FSW had great potential. However, TSW has turned out to be quite a success compared to its flight counterpart.

System Requirements

Minimum Requirements

Operating System 64-bit Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8 / 8.1 or Windows 10
Processor: Intel Core i5-4690 @ 3.5 GHz or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X @ 3.7 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti or AMD Radeon R9 270 with 2 GB VRAM or more
DirectX: Version 10
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 20 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
Additional Notes: Requires mouse and keyboard or Xbox Controller

Recommended Requirements

Operating System: 64-bit Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8 / 8.1 or Windows 10
Processor: Intel Core i7-4790 @ 3.6 GHz or AMD Ryzen 7 1700 @ 3.8 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 480 with 4 GB VRAM or more
DirectX: Version 10
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 20 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
Additional Notes: Requires mouse and keyboard or Xbox Controller

Graphics – Sights to take in

With the right specifications, the game can look beautiful

One of the best parts of TSW is its graphics. The visuals are stunning to look at. Some of the most popular train lines are included in the simulator with scenic sights which look beautiful in the game.

Not just the sights, but the locomotives too have been designed with a great level of detail. Every single nook and cranny has been included in the game. There’s even a cup holder in one of the locomotives! Sweet!

The game could do with better optimization. Especially the Northeast Corridor New York line which for no apparent reasons lags while the other lines don’t.

Gameplay – Being a part

Service mode has the option to let you be the passenger

Gameplay is the most important aspect of any game. There are two aspects to it in TSW.

The first aspect is driving the locomotive itself. Driving locomotives in the simulator is indeed one of the most enjoyable experiences. There’s not too much of a hassle and the learning curve is gradual.

What really grabs my attention is the other aspect. Being the driver.

In most simulators like Flight Simulator X or the erstwhile Microsoft Train Simulator, an important characteristic which was missing was the human side to it. In the aforementioned simulators, it would feel like as if we are just fixed points in-game. It would give a very detached feeling.

However, in TSW this has been taken care of. You can move about, not just the locomotive or the train. You can get out on any station and board any train you feel like! This is quite unique and allows greater immersion into this world of railroading. Kudos on the idea.

You need a mouse and keyboard to play. But if you have an Xbox controller too, that will also work. Personally, I prefer the former over the latter. But it is good to know that developers nowadays are taking cross platform integration between PC and Console seriously than before.

Simulation Modes – Challenges or Routine

Train Sim World has two main modes, scenarios and services

TSW has two modes.

The first one is where you are given specific scenarios where you will be given instructions and objectives which you must achieve within a given time frame to complete the mission. This is a very generic feature considering every single simulator has this in one form or another.

The second one called ‘service mode’ is where things get interesting. In this mode, you choose a train line and then enter that train line. You have the option of either driving a scheduled train service or have the freedom to board any train service you want and drive as per your wishes. You can even choose not to drive a service and just be a passenger, taking in the sights and enjoying the ride!

The best part about this mode is that the simulator automatically adjusts itself to your actions. This helps in providing a seamless experience.

Unfortunately, in its current state the game lacks multiplayer. In the modern world where we have fast computers and internet. Multiplayer is a must for almost any game; especially when it comes to simulators. Driving along train lines with real players going about their duties could prove to be even more fun! Developers should definitely get multiplayer for TSW as it holds great potential.

Content – At a price

Expensive DLCs

This is where TSW takes a major step backwards. When you purchase the base game you get 3 lines: Great Western Express, Northeast Corridor New York and Rapid Transit. But that’s about it. To get more rail lines and subsequently more locomotives, you will have to purchase them separately.

It is not wrong to earn a little more money by providing paid Downloadable Content (DLC). But to carve out parts of the game and sold separately, when they should have been a part of it in the base game itself? Outrageous. The cheapest DLC costs Rs.529. Which means, you will be paying approximately 40% of the base game’s price all over again to get more content!

Dovetails should go back to the drawing board on this one. This is exactly the same model which had caused the Flight Sim World project to go kaput. Don’t make the same mistake.

I highly recommend getting the DLCs when they are on sale with a heavy discount (Which they usually are).

Conclusion – The verdict

A snap of the Northeast Corridor

There are many first person shooters and racing games out there. You can go out and fulfill your hobby of shooting guns and racing cars. But this is one game which lets you get the satisfaction of experiencing trains home. (Unless you know how to rent a locomotive for your hobby’s sake)

Overall, the simulator has been a fantastic experience. Other than the optimization problems and the revenue model being used, this is a game worth buying. I got to relive my childhood fascination of trains and I love it.

It is a solid addition for your library if you are interested in trains or just want a relaxing experience. Don’t you want to see what it’s like to be a railroader?

Priyamvad Rai


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