With transport games, I always approach with some level of trepidation. It’s not that I think the game is going to be boring or frustrating, it’s just that I’ve had the worst luck with trains in real life, so I always expect my luck to carry over into the virtual world. On the other hand though, I do like city-building type games, and Transport Fever 2 removes a lot of the kerfuffle of having to deal with placing houses and shops and all that nonsense, and lets you play solely as someone trying to build a traffic-free metropolis, and that does appeal to me!
Hundred miles an hour
Transport Fever 2 is a game in which you take control of a company providing transport solutions to areas. You are given a set of tasks to complete, and you have to create the best way of getting people or items from point A to point B. There’s a lengthy scenario mode which gives you the chance to create great transport links in various different areas of the world, throughout history, with the new vehicles becoming available as they would have been in time. This gives you a lot of options – even at the start – about how is best to do things. You’re also given a lot of cash, so you can play around a bit and really try to put your stamp on things. It makes it much more interesting when, instead of building a train line around a few mountains and forests, you just build a single road that ploughs through everything, just to see which is the most cost-effective.
Graphically, the game is actually exceptional. There are two main views that you can use – an overview of the entire region, which you can zoom in very close to see all the detail of the area, and there’s also a camera on every vehicle, letting you see the route it takes around, giving you a much better feel of the traffic and style of the route you’re sending your vehicles on. Significant time must have gone into the curating of all of the different eras and the assets they use, as there are hundreds of different buildings and vehicles that fit in perfectly with the time periods you’ll be playing. You get the genuine feel of being thrown back in time, especially as you sit on a bus and watch the world pass by.
While doing the scenarios in Transport Fever 2, you have to complete missions. As you’d probably expect, some of these will involve delivering people or products from one place to another. This, in itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is a bit of a dull way to pad out levels. You might think that it’s fortunate there is a ‘speed up’ function in the game, and while that is true, it is still painfully slow. Occasionally, I’d just stick the game into windowed mode, let my city do it’s work and just go browse the internet until the familiar Irish voice piped up telling me what a good job I’d done.
Except, sometimes that isn’t what happens. Sometimes I’d let the game run and forget it was running for around twenty or thirty minutes. That’s usually no bother, as you can normally just resume the game, picking up where you left off with the expectation that you’ll have completed the mission you left running. But it’s extremely common for things to not work as you would expect. Occasionally, you’ll have a vehicle that can’t transport the required cargo type – an easy oversight to make, but with no warning that you’re making it. This can set you back a little, but what gets more frustrating is when you have the correct vehicle, with the correct cargo type, and the correct line set up, but no cargo being transported. Ever. I had this happen to me a couple of times, and eventually just scrapped my multi-million dollar, extremely well designed railway and just built a rubbish motorway that was literally a straight line, costing way more than it should have, just to get the job done and dusted.
The Final Word
Having some form of feedback about why things aren’t working would’ve made Transport Fever 2 so much more playable. It’s still very fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing through all the scenarios, designing wondrous transport lines, but the frustration factor when it goes wrong is very high. It does get a little tedious after a while too, and although you’ll spend hours doing the scenarios, a significant portion of that time is just waiting around.