We are rail fans in our review of Train Simulator 2014

No matter how much people complain, trains are the lifeblood of the transport industry across the world, and their majestic and impressive design is adored and admired by train-enthusiasts of all ages, however no matter what, trains can't be around for ever, and the golden age of Steam is long gone, but admirers do not have to lose hope, because RailSimulator.com's impressive simulation series allows trains new and old to live on for eternity. If you've never experienced the simulation of driving such a beautiful machine, I think you may want to check out Train Simulator 2014.

As always with the yearly iteration of one of the most important simulators on the market, Train Simulator 2014 encompasses a comprehensive simulation experience with realistic routes, magnificently modelled locomotives and a community of gamers that share a common passion.

Hitachi Class 395 cockpit

If you're new to the series, the developers at Railsimulator.com know how to welcome potential fans with open arms, because not only do you get one of the most comprehensive steam, diesel and electric train simulators but the game comes bundled with a few routes including the breathtaking London to Faversham high speed line, the beautiful Hamburg to Hanover route via the high speed ICE and the Donner Pass that net you just under 24 hours of gameplay if you are simply carrying out the scripted routes!

Us Brits like our trains, we must do with so many on such a small enclosed island, so the headliner of the routes included in Train Simulator 2014 includes the suburban run of London to Faversham in the shiny new Hitachi Class 395 high-speed train, as you'd expect the 395 controls like a dream as you zip through the likes of Chatham and Gillingham right up to Faversham, well you'll want to stop at the stations to let passengers off, but in-between there is a lot of zipping to be had. However the true beauty of the Hitachi A Train besides its beautifully sleek design and complex controls, is that its dashboard will show you the speed limits required of you on your speedy journey, it's a very simple feature, but one every train should have!

Perhaps you're looking for a more European experience, or you're just sick of the sight of London, Train Simulator 2014 also comes with the stylish ICE Intercity-Express another high-speed train, that originally set world speed records back in 1988. You'll carry out different scenarios in the train along the lines between Hamburg to Hanover braving the ice and snow on more than one cold morning.

Donner Pass route

Or perhaps you will want to take in the breathtaking scenery of the third bundled route; the Donner Pass, a route that is definitely not for novices, complete with its steep incline and potential 140 mile track, the Donner Pass will put drivers to the test as they travel between Roseville, California and Reno through the beautiful Sierra Nevada.

But enough about that, you were wanting to simulate driving a train right? Well you've come to the right place, Train Simulator 2014 allows train fans to drive any number of Steam, Diesel and Electric locomotives from over 80 years of history across the United States and Europe with the support of downloadable content, and not only supports mouse and keyboard, but Xbox 360 Controller which a pretty good layout, unfortunately it doesn't officially support the illustrious RailDriver Cab Controller, though we really wish it did.

Not everyone has had the opportunity to drive a real train, so to get you up-to-speed, a few tutorials can teach you the basics of controlling your train and most importantly stopping at stations, of course many trains have different driving experiences and different control methods, and whilst you may excel at driving a Diesel, you'll probably strike a problem when driving a Steam train. It's a real learning experience, but once you get used to your throttle and reverser you may just get hooked at the relaxed pace of train driving.

Hamburg route

Unfortunately learning the complex combinations of driving a train can be a little daunting, but generally sticking to an Xbox 360 controller will feel more comfortable to most gamers, however the placement of certain inputs, such as using your throttle and hiding your HUD can often get used by mistake, which can get extremely frustrating when easing into the game.

Train Simulator 2014 is not without its issues though, and you'll occasionally find yourself wrongly fined for speeding in areas that according to the driver information were higher limits, penalising you unfairly, this occurred on multiple occasions which became more than a little frustrating at times, luckily the limit never appeared to be too different, though it did leave an ugly mark on my record.

This year's update evolves the series' overall user experience, most obvious of all is the new navigation of the front end, and the evolution of career mode, however the game does feature improvements to its graphics, as well as enhanced draw distance which is essential for a game with such beautiful landscapes as Train Simulator, fans of UGC don't have to worry about being forgotten about in 2014, there's even some changes for you too!

Hamburg station

However quite possibly the biggest change of Train Simulator 2014 to its predecessors is the overhaul of the career mode, no longer are you simply carrying out a few scenarios, now everything has been integrated into an XP system that ensures making that last stopping point at your final destination rewards you as it should. Plus it's very easy to find yourself competing with your friends with the addition of progression graphs with both you and your friends' scores tracked. Whilst not a necessary evolution of the game, it does really help to kick-start the level of satisfaction you gain in successfully completing the more trickier scenarios.

One fact that Steam will more than happily show you, is that Train Sim is ruled somewhat by its downloadable content, however it is important to note that purchasing a copy of Train Simulator 2014 is owning a copy for life, and since the very first simulator fans that bought the original Railworks back in 2009, the developers have provided existing owners with a free update to subsequent versions, now there's not many other games out there that will provide such a service that's for sure.

However if you're more of a creator, then there's some brilliant new elements in Train Simulator 2014, for the four years the series has been going strong, one of the most impressive features of the game is its world editor, the only trouble is attempting to create without a close reference is very difficult, but thanks to the new Google maps integration you can create the route you've been dreaming of! It is a little daunting to pull off, as you'll need to generate a static API key, but once that's out the way you're just a shortcut away from following the true path of your routes.

ICE Intercity-Express

Suffice to say, Train Simulator 2014 will not be everyone's cup of tea, however it stands as the most definitive and relaxing train driving experience you can find, whether we're whittling away the hours in free roam, or stepping up to the tense scenarios provided with every route, we are rail fans and not ashamed about it, what about you?

four stars

Train Simulator 2014 is out now for Windows PC for the SRP of £34.99, if you already own the game you'll have upgraded already if set to automatically accept updates, and will have all of the new features we've covered and a few we haven't.



7 comments
Comment from: Giacomo Giugiaro [Visitor]
Giacomo Giugiaro
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"...unfortunately it doesn't officially support the illustrious RailDriver Cab Controller, though we really wish it did."

I can't understand this, since a RailDriver plugin can be found in the simulator folders.

15th October 2013 @ 00:18 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Charlotte [Member]
Charlotte

So the game doesn't officially support it, but it can be used, it is not mentioned as a controller method in the manual and the website for the controller also states they are currently unaware if it is fully supported. I wish I had one to confirm whether or not it is.

A lot of games can be used with strange controllers, but if they are not officially supported there's the chance something on the controller may not work as it should, just didn't want to get anyones hopes up that it is fully supported, it may well still work.

15th October 2013 @ 06:03 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Alan Kelly [Visitor]
Alan Kelly
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Theirs a lot of information missing from the review to be honest.. No mention of physics which basically treat every engine as if its a supercharged rocket.. Fixes are available on third party sites but time after time every release is flawed.. Take the class 466 from last week. They have copy/pasted and used the same physics from the engine on the trailer resulting in double power.. Fix needs some lines changing which the community fixed in a day.. Has it been fixed yet in the game, NO but then again issues from 6 years ago have yet to be fixed.

Support is non existent - DLC is seriously overpriced when its of such low quality compared to third party options.

15th October 2013 @ 11:15 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Marko [Visitor]
Marko
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This game is still the (good?) old Rail Simulator from 2007 released by EA, just with some graphics improvements, and of course "new" (IMHO worse and worse) menu in every year. But the physics and the AI doesn't changed a bit over the SIX YEARS!
Physics is unrealistic, some important parts are missing, or works totally wrongly, or simply not working), the AI i dumb as hell, you'll usually see other trains as moving scenery, as the AI isn't capable to handle the simplest traffic situation. That's why single track lines are very rare for this game, as to make trains pass each other in loops is a real pain, sometimes impossible.
Also the DLCs are seriously overpriced, and sometimes you need to buy them AGAIN if you want new features. See Class 101 for example, which is released for Railworks 2(?), then few months ago it was released again with new livery(but same 3d model, same bugged physics, and sounds), and only the new one got the updates for the new features for the game, the old won't be updated anymore.

If you write a bug report to support they always reply with a template message. "Your comments/reports about xy have been passed to our product team, they will be considered for any improvements or changes that may need to be made for future releases of Train Simulator products."
What this really means is: ok, we don't care, go away.
I know because i've sending bug reports since 3,5 years to them, and they didn't touched even the simplest easy to solve problems.

16th October 2013 @ 20:17 Reply to this comment
Comment from: issac [Visitor]
issac

what a game!

25th December 2013 @ 05:53 Reply to this comment
Comment from: wayne cartwright [Visitor]
wayne cartwright

i got a mesh pc what do i need to play train 2014

23rd April 2014 @ 16:54 Reply to this comment
Comment from: ProximaCentauri [Visitor]  
ProximaCentauri
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Ehh.. I would say ''Train Simulator 14/15'' just makes no sense. I bought Train simulator 2014 from steam, they all had same features, same graphics..as in TS13 with some new routes and trains and you won't believe I got bored from this game in a one day, there are huge amount of bugs. Of course I'm a rail fan and I had jumped directly from Trainz 2004 on Train simulator 2013/14. The game is pretty nice.. I'd like multiplayer games and I want multiplayer option in future train simulators, Only driving a train... No announcements, NO thunder lightening, Track sounds are horrible.. several bugs as I said.. And not at all good for low end pc's, luckily I'm using i5 processor and 4 GB ddr3 ram enough to play it on med-high settings but unluckily my graphic card is GT-620 which makes my game a lag pool, I would say TS2013 was sufficient for rail fans there was no need to release TRS14 OR 15 unless they add some more new exciting features, Rail tracks are very unrealistic, Lights are very blurred.. Rail transactions are very short, driving a train gets boring if there's no action, they should add some natural disasters like earthquake,tsunami,floods it will surely increase some more interest towards this game. overall it's just ''okay'' and i'd like to repeat that TRS13 was sufficient. by making and releasing TRS14,15 they'd showed us how paranoid* there minds are...

12th October 2014 @ 16:39 Reply to this comment


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