Truck Driver (Xbox) Review

As everyone who knows me is aware, I absolutely love the Simulation and Management Genre; so, it is safe to assume that I was more than excited to follow the development of Truck Driver and was eager for its release.

I want to begin by saying that I very rarely do reviews in the following manner, mainly because I tend to avoid being so negative about somebody’s hard work – but, unfortunately, I feel that this game really needed this review. So, without further ado:

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The loading screen looks nice – but takes too long!

Truck Driver is a simulation game that sees you driving, low and behold, a series of trucks to successfully complete tasks for the NPC companies in the game. Seems a fairly simple enough concept, but one that could hold a lot of potential for the genre.

Starting Out, Tutorial and Menu’s

You start by selecting one of the four pre-made characters to be your avatar; here is the first missed opportunity. I really did not like the pre-set characters, and would have enjoyed customising the character a little, even a change of clothing would not have gone amiss. Nonetheless, none of these features were available.

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Once you have got past the very difficult choice of choosing your character, the game starts you off with a tutorial of sorts – I was willing to look past the lack of customisation options if the game was about to throw me into a complex set up of how to manage your cab; how disappointed I was. A series of pop-up text messages appear on your screen giving you the basic controls; left-stick to steer, right-stick to turn the camera and so on.

During the tutorial, I said to myself, “OK, there’s not much going on in the cab, but attaching the trailer etc is more technical”. So, I drove to the predetermined point on my satnav to collect my first trailer – only to face more disappointment; reverse under the trailer and press Y, I was underwhelmed, to say the least.

Continuing on with the tutorial, I dropped the trailer off at the drop-off point and finally, a little bit of technique was needed – I had to line the trailer up into a glowing rectangle to determine how much of a bonus I would earn; it was a small victory in my eyes after so much disappointment.

Anyway, the tutorial was over – let’s explore the menu’s a little. This at least is a positive for the game as it gives you the opportunity of completing set tasks to level-up your character whilst gaining certain bonuses and truck customisation options at the garage.

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So, the menu items are a great addition to the game, simplistic but adding a little depth and character development; it’s a nice touch. Using certain makes of trucks for X amount of kilometres will award you with customisation options for the ones that you have already unlocked. As well as this, there are tasks that give you a well-needed injection of cash for you to use to purchase new cabs and new customisations for the trucks; I’ll return to these options later.

One thing to note here though, watch out for spelling mistakes! How has the mistake “refrigirated” been able to make it through to the final product of the game – it’s this lack of attention to detail which infuriates me as a player.

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Exploring the menus a little more, it is refreshing to see that as well as controller support there is support for steering wheels and pedals; as someone who does not use these, I am unable to comment on the makes/models that are compatible with the game though.

The map screen looks good, it gives a good layout of the road network connecting the towns/cities to each other; it is of a decent size too! Plenty of places to drive to and explore.

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The mission screen is easy to navigate, looks clean and is in a format that makes it simple to read. The checklist-style is a nicely done, making it effortless to see what stage of your mission you are currently performing.

Graphics, Gameplay and Mechanics

Graphically, the game is very poor. A game made for this generation should not look like an Xbox 360 game. The cars are blocky and driverless, the pedestrians are poorly designed, and the scenery lacks detail. The trucks themselves do hold some level of detail, but that is the only saving grace for this highly inadequate attempt at creating a game for this generation of consoles.

There are very few cars on the road, with no option to change the density of the traffic – this would have been a welcomed feature, adding a little more appeal to the game. There is absolutely no intelligence to the NPC road-users: they very rarely stop in time to avoid collisions with the player; collisions between cars block the road; there is no intelligent right of way or knowledge of how traffic works in the real world – all of which make this simulator extremely poor.

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Using the horn, wipers, indicators, cruise control and other controlling mechanisms in the truck is under-designed. Other simulators on the market do the controlling of certain functions of a vehicle very well, giving the player an option to use a crosshair in the middle of the screen to interact with the drivers section of a vehicle – manually activating the wipers, indicators, handbrake etc; this title does not offer such a design and instead uses a very limited ‘control’ menu. This shows laziness and shoddy design for a simulator game.

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As for gameplay, there is little positive to say. I would expect a different feel from a lone cab to a cab carrying a heavy trailer – yet there is no change in power distribution to the truck. The same can be said for differing road surfaces; there should be a noticeable change in handling and ‘feel’ to the vehicle when the terrain changes from asphalt to gravel to mud, but there is nothing. Not even bumps in the road such as potholes seem anywhere near realistic. This is a deprived design and has made for an abysmal attempt at a simulation game.

Trucks and Customisation

This is a trucking game; you would expect a vast array of different makes and models of trucks at your disposal would you not? Or maybe I am too ambitious with my thoughts. There is a very limited amount of trucks to choose from, all of which are very similar in what they have to offer. You even have to unlock the manual options through gameplay, rather than giving players starting off a manual and automatic truck.

I understand that this game is not a ‘pimp my truck’ game, but the customisation options for the trucks leave a lot to be desired. A very limited catalogue of parts that can be used to customise your truck is available – even the colours available are extremely restricted.

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The achievement list is unimaginative, no collectables and is mainly linked to driving a certain number of kilometres to complete in-game requirements or completing the entire set of missions offered by the NPC companies enlisting your help as a driver.

Final Judgement

After being excited to get my hands on this game, I am extremely disappointed with the final product that has been released. It is an embarrassment to the simulation genre and appalling in many aspects. There was so much potential that this title could have developed on, yet the final result is terrible. The only good thing to note is that steering wheels and pedals are supported, the missions are set out well and there is a reasonable amount to explore in the game; however, after roughly 15 hours in-game, I found that content was repetitive, tedious and uninspired. A very poor attempt at what could have been a wonderful game; and for the price of £34.99 it is an overpriced failure, I would personally spend your hard-earned cash on a much better simulation game such as Spintires: Mudrunner. A generous 4/10.

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