Score: 7.1 / 10
once, I was rendered almost completely speechless/thoughtless from
playing a game. When
playing Trainz, I had almost no thoughts on the gameplay at hand. It
wasnít really because it was bland, boring, predictable, or
uninteresting. It wasnít
really any of these things, yet I felt these same emotions simply
because I am not a fan of trains. This
is not really the fault of the game, as through and through the look and
feel of the game is obviously made by and for fans of trains.
It just so happens that your faithful reviewer doesnít happen
to fall into that category.
open to new experiences, and the interests of others enough to create
interesting small talk at boring house parties, I was still not drawn
into the fan-dom of the world of Trainz.
This is not really the fault of the developers, but in the past,
some games have risen above their subject matter to create a superior
gaming experience for most gamers.
This is the primary flaw which holds Trainz back from achieving a
From the manual to the gameplay, this game has definitely been designed with hardcore fans of trains, and miniature train sets in mind. There are three actions that can be chosen from the starting menu of Trainz. First, you can view all the trains that are in your collection. Here you can view all the trains that come in the retail version, plus any that you download from Auran, after registering your product. You can rotate and zoom in and out on an in-game graphic-engine image
of all the trains, read a detailed history about them, and check out the technical aspects of each train. My only petition on behalf of train fans may be that the developers could have included a real life photo of each of the trains to accompany the in game graphical representation.
The next mode is the driver mode of gameplay, where aspiring conductors can hop on board the locomotive of
their choice and drive around on the
tracks of North
America, Australia, or the UK.
The types of trains, and what is between the locomotive and the
caboose can be chosen before embarking on your journey.
The different tracks available have multiple points of diversion
and are enough to keep armchair conductors occupied until they get
around to designing their own tracks.
There are three views available in the driver mode; one being a
cockpit view, another being a chase view, and the last being a chase
view which changes to a track camera view at specific points of
driving the train isnít that complicated despite the lack of a
tutorial or any directly relevant material in the manual.
While I can only assume that the driving experience is fairly
accurate due to the detail included in what can be manipulated from the
cabin, the overall driving experience isnít that rewarding or
exciting. This may stem
from the fact that Iím not a fan of trains, but one would think that
the developers could have designed a game that would appeal to a larger
audience. Once again this
is not entirely the fault of the game, but I wonder if train nuts will
be driving their favorite trains over and over again around the track
because they find it so exciting.
an attempt to create some excitement, I attempted repeatedly to derail
my train and met with only limited success.
I did however manage to plow through a building as I did not stop
at the end of the line. There
were, however, no big explosions or scenes of mass destruction to whet
I suspect that the surveyor mode is where most gamers will find
themselves fiddling about. In
this mode, new tracks can be created with terrain, tracks, objects, and
cameras fully customizable. While
the concept is fairly straight forward, actually designing and laying
out your new track is a daunting task due to the clunky interface. This
is due in part to the awkward way in which the 3D camera is manipulated
with the mouse, and in part to the way in which the different terrains,
objects and track sets are accessed.
despite the complexity of the Surveyor mode, the manual provides enough
detail on how to manipulate and navigate this mode adequately.
However, while the manual is quite thorough and thick, it still
manages to neglect a tutorial on how to actually get your train started
in the driver mode. Overall,
the game offers a fair amount to begin with, and new trains, objects,
and track types are available for download from Auran as they become
available. Fans of trains
who are owners of PCís and miniature train sets should be satisfied
with this game.
the fact that most genres of game can capture my undivided attention,
simulation just isnít my forte. However,
in the past, some simulations have managed to capture my and the general
videogame fanís favor. While
not really a train simulator but more of a miniature train set
simulator, Trainz comes through as geared for the model train set.
While it's by no means a bad game, it can never be a
"great" game due to its extremely limited appeal.
- Mark Leung
(March 6, 2002)
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