Like most young boys, I was really obsessed with construction toys like Fisher-Price dump trucks and tractors. Thus, the nostalgia hit me when Construction Simulator 2 popped up on my radar.
Construction Simulator 2 puts you in the shoes of the owner of a new construction company. Like any new businessman, your goal is to grow your company by taking on job after job and building your fleet. Planted in a fictional, dusty American town, there are several missions to tackle and multiple districts and vehicles to gradually acquire.
As the name suggests, Construction Simulator 2 virtualizes many different types of construction jobs, such as excavating, pouring concrete, and lifting/transporting objects with a crane. All of the in-game machinery is licensed from real-world manufacturers like CAT, so it adds a level of believability to the experience. Being able to handle these different machines proves interesting, too. They all control very differently from one another, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to each job type (which makes the optional tutorials a great addition). The actual driving and controlling mechanics are a bit clunky at times, however.
Rumble and tumble
Some vehicles feel stiff and heavy to drive (though weight is to be expected). But, generally, the driving/control experience isn’t all that fluid. You’ll have to toggle many functions via mini menus, including simple things like changing the camera view. Machine operations are also tucked away in these menus, there’s a lot of menu-jumping at any given time. Added to that is the restrictive camera, which doesn’t even include a full cockpit view (or none at all in some vehicles).
This leads to a lot of awkward angles, such as when I was trying to excavate, where the camera made it hard to judge depth. And since the game ties its camera to the right stick, in addition, some of the machine operations, I constantly had to switch between ‘Camera’ and ‘Function’ mode. Farming Simulator 19 handles this whole experience much better, and it fundamentally has the same amount of mechanics. Regardless, it’s all still manageable, just not amazing.
Even with the clunky experience, taking on new jobs was still fun and cathartic for me, just like other ‘mundane’ simulators (though it is still repetitive). The visuals also don’t look half bad on Switch; the game stayed sharp even when in handheld mode. While the models aren’t super-highly detailed, they look decent enough.
“Decent enough” also describes the rest of the presentation. Lighting and particle effects are really good, though the unlocked framerate can — and does — drop frequently into the 20s. While the engine sounds of each machine are okay, the music is a bit of a drag. It sounded more like a ‘construction spa’ to me, as it’s very mellow and atmospheric, rather than the upbeat rock I was expecting.
Construction content galore
At any given time, there will be three contracts available to select from. You can only tackle one at a time, and the list refreshes every 10 real-world minutes. Some missions are simple and quick, such as transporting a dump truck load to/from a construction site; this can take five minutes. Other missions are far more complex and require different machines, like one that had me constructing a house. This involved excavating a plot of land for a driveaway, pouring concrete into that cleared spot using a mixing truck, and then using a flatbed truck with a crane to pick up walls from a Material Store, deliver them, and place them onto the second floor of the house. Missions like this can take a fair bit longer (this particular one took nearly an hour).
To save time, you can fast travel around the map (which costs money). The game also constantly points out where you need to go, what machines you need to use, and what you need to do with them. This helps to make the experience more approachable for younger players, too.
As you tackle more missions, you earn more Credits and EXP Points. Credits are used to purchase (or rent) new machines, which also need to be maintained regularly once bought. EXP points gradually accumulate, which increases the Player Level. Certain Level Milestones unlock new machines and new districts to expand into. Through this, Construction Simulator 2 really tries to keep players engaged.
A decent day’s work
Overall, this game is on the stronger side when compared to most other machine simulator titles out there. While it isn’t the smoothest or prettiest experience, Construction Simulator 2 has a decent amount of content with a good variety of experiences. So, if you’re ready to live out those aforementioned childhood memories of driving a big construction vehicle, this is a pretty decent way to get into it. While a little rough around the edges in some areas, Construction Simulator 2 manages to provide a mostly solid sim experience where it counts.
Release Date: Nov. 06, 2019No. of Players: 1 playerCategory: SimulationPublisher: AstragonDeveloper: Software Entwicklung GmbH
A review code was provided by the publisher.