Planes, Trains and automobiles, as well as horses and carts, boats and just about everything in between, Transport Fever 2 will task you with sorting all of those out in the logistical nightmare of getting your cargo and pedestrians to their desired location.
I barely touch PC gaming, so Transport Fever 2 is the first time I’ve touched the franchise which started back in 2014 with Train Fever. The main object of the game is to organise transport routes throughout various locations, you might be building a train line to make a route for carrying logs to help build the local circus, and then you’ll need to set up a bus route for pedestrians to get their too.
Starting off in the 1800’s you’ll be restricted to horse and carts, but you’ll soon open up trams if you fancy upgrading those dusty roads to house the new technology. The core game is split into 3 chapters, covering the 1800’s, 1900’s and finally modern day and the 2000’s.
While you may be able to breeze through the scenarios in 20-30 hours, don’t be surprised if it takes twice as long as you learn to take your time and complete each task as well as bonus challenges to ensure you unlock all three rewards.
Sometimes these challenges are as simple as finding a location and performing an action such as reducing the landscape, but others might require you to set up a multi-system transportation hub, to send multiple resources to a factory and then carry the resorting produce to local towns.
Within these scenarios, especially in the first chapter, you’ll find the many millions on hand more than enough, but the final scenario of chapter 1, and onwards starts to introduce you more to the business aspect as you need to start ensuring transport routes are efficient to make sure they’re not losing too much time and money.
There’s a really appealing flow to gameplay as you’re introduced to each method of transport and tasked with increasingly difficult scenarios, one example is the fairly simple looking task on the 6th scenario which challenges you to carry resources to create food and then dispatch the food around various towns. Simple enough until you’re trying to get multiple trains to different locations without delay and I eventually ended up creating separate tracks for each task, which ended up looking like an over complicated 4-track route, which eventually got the job done.
Progressing through these scenarios is highly recommended because they really do a great job of introducing you to every single aspect of the game, and even when making train stations with 4 platforms all leading to different locations and allowing locomotives to cross tracks seamlessly, I always felt in control.
Outside of the scenarios there’s free mode, which is where transport fever really starts to shine.
You start off with the chance to set the climate between Temperate, Dry or Tropical, as well as creating your own map, size, format ration and how many towns and industries are dotted around as well as the general landscape with hilliness, water and forest all adjustable and which decade you’ll start with from 1850 all the way up to 2000.
Then there’s the choice of location, between European, American or Asian themes, and options to make the game a little easier or more difficult such as how many industries towns will rely on.
This gives you the freedom to expand as you wish and while you don’t directly control the towns, providing more resources from surrounding industries will see towns automatically expand as youo start to establish complex transport solutions from town to town as well as bringing in the required resources to keep everyone happy.
Free mode is literally endless, as you’re welcomed to run for over 150 game years, and watch the towns and transport solutions evolve from horses and carts to the massive cargo ships, aircraft and high-speed trains of today
Another high point is the overall presentation, both graphics and audio set a standard for the genre, which even the mighty Cities Skylines can’t quite match. There’s not the background music versatility of Paradox Interactives city builder, but there’s a consistently high quality from the sound of vehicles and people to the constant clearly voice narration throughout the scenarios.
Graphically things get even better, offering an immense level of zoom which drops out far enough to view even the largest maps with ease, while also zooming all the way in to street level, or jumping on board for cockpit view of any vehicle to see your journeys up close.
You’ll also find the choice of performance and quality mode in the options, which both look incredibly detailed, but while I’d opt for quality mode in the often more sparsely populated scenarios, if you’re looking to build a massive custom map it’s probably wise to stick with performance mode to avoid any negligeable slowdown when things start to get a lot busier.
Either way, from the water effect to the overall level of detail on every single vehicle, you’ll find yourself constantly impressed at how good things look, even when you’re up close.
The “Builder” genre covers pretty much everything you can think of, building every sort of city, theme park or colony you can imagine, and while I’ve hardly touched games like Jurassic World Evolution 2 because of Planet Coaster and Cities Skylines prevent me from investing time into everything else, Transport Fever 2 is a completely different feeling.
Sure, it’s great to see the towns and cities expand, but it’s non-direct, and at times it feels more like Wilmot’s Warehouse as you’re trying to organise your resources and move them to the correct locations in the most cost-effective way.
The sense of achievement when you do get things right, and you’re shipping resources and pedestrians all over a complex transport system while still making a substantial profit, exceeds anything that I feel from any other building genre game.
Transport Fever 2 isn’t perfect, some will be put off because it’s so hard to categorise the game, or like I did originally, they’ll underestimate its unique approach.
Sure there’s a few textures pop-in at times, and it takes some time getting used to the best way to do things, such as creating short entrance & entrance tracks then joining them, rather than trying to automatically loop a passing track.
But Transport Fever 2 consistently delivers high quality building-sim gameplay without ever stepping on the toes of the better-known games in the genre.
One thing for certain is, I’m far from done with Transport Fever 2, and even beyond the scenario’s, I’ll keep returning time and time again.
Transport Fever 2: Console Edition
Transport Fever 2 consistently delivers high quality building-sim gameplay, without ever stepping on the toes of the better-known games in the genre.
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