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Trucks and Trailers Review

June 23rd, 2011 by

A good simulation title gives you the opportunity to experience a completely different role, and Trucks and Trailers certainly succeeds in giving you the truck driving crash course – sometimes quite literally – as you park huge articulated lorries in designated spots, simulating ordinary parking or the more manoeuvring to unload goods. Unfortunately, Trucks and Trailers only really allows you to simulate the parking.

Trucks and Trailer is packed with 50 challenges for you to overcome, with your choice of several different trucks – or the cabs at least. The tutorials quickly gives you a feel for your new vehicle as you complete some basic parking challenges within marked out areas of cones, before moving on to reverse parking challenges within cones. Then you’re let loose on the open road; well not quite.

The challenges give you a set objective within a restricted area. There’s no driving on open roads, just small, closed off sections of road with very little or no traffic, and a parking spot marked out for you. The challenges themselves switch between three different parking disciplines, forwards, reverse or parallel. It’s a real shame to be so restricted on what you can do, but that’s not to say what’s on offer is subpar. In fact, you’ll easily loose hours as you slowly master the challenges, compelled to park your truck faster and with no crashes in order to obtain the gold medal for each.

Additionally, despite the restrictions it’s easy to become immersed in the experience. The manoeuvring is appropriately difficult and demands focus, and the exceptional attention to detail in the presentation is almost photorealistic as far as the buildings, obstacles and vehicles are concerned. Vegetation, wildlife and people are less convincing but as these features are often in the peripheries it’s easy to ignore them as you concentrate at the task at hand.

Using a selection of cameras as well as on screen mirrors and those attached to you cab, you’re provided with ample visual aid to park you massive trucks. And through the use achievements as well as inherent satisfaction for mastering control of these vehicles, you’ll certainly enjoy the tension of narrowly avoiding obstacles and the smug satisfaction of effortlessly hitting your mark; it takes work to reach this kind of mastery though and the reversing will be too frustrating for some.

There is the odd treat in the list of challenges where you race through an obstacle course, but otherwise you’re tasked with parking in a variety of different industrial areas, lay-bys or service stations, and it gets repetitive fast. Moving up the three difficulty modes removes more camera options and increases the punishment for crashing, really pushing the challenges to new levels, but it’s ultimately a one trick game with far too little content variety.

As a way to show fans of the series the new graphics engine at work and the control simulation, Trucks and Trailers is a good demonstration, but as a comprehensive game it fails to deliver. Trucks and Trailers feels more like an expansion than a full release.

MLG Rating: 6/10
Platform: PC Release Date: 17/06/2011

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of Trucks and Trailers for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PC. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

One Response to “Trucks and Trailers Review”
  1. avatar Andy Cullington says:

    A fair review, but missed one important point – the price. Available on line for less than the price of a few bevvies down the pub, I think it unfair to expect too much in the way of complex game play. As an ex truck driver in real life, I can vouch for this game’s realism. It is superb. To get the best out of it, I highly recommend a TrackIR head tracker, which this game supports (oh, and a decent steering wheel, of course). This allows you to look not only around the cab, taking in a decent complement of mirrors including the “idiot” offside and cab front mirrors in the Scania and MAN trucks, but also allows you to stick your head out of the window and look behind you and down the side of the cab.

    Most of the situations are those you’d really try to avoid in real life – blind side reverses give most drivers the heebie jeebies if they are honest. However, they are very good challenges for stretching and honing your skills. If you are a truck driver for real, this game is really worth the pittance it costs. Hitting stuff in the game is a lot less embarrassing than doing it for real!

    I only have two small niggles with the game really. One is coupling. In real life, you reverse back until the fifth wheel engages with the kingpin with a resounding thunk. You then have to do lots of boring stuff like connecting air and electrics, but I’ll let the game off simulating that. What is annoying is that, in the game, you just need to reverse somewhere near the right point and hit “T” and the trailer then magically jumps into position. The tolerance is far too wide and this could easily be made a bit more realistic.

    The second is gears. It is possible to select automatic or manual gear changes. Manual can be either sequential or, if you possess a controller that hasn’t been invented yet, can even use an H shift with splitters. Auto mode does a passable impression of the automated gear boxes available in modern trucks but – and this is my gripe – if you select auto, you have to press the brake pedal to reverse! Why?! Why not just have a key to press to change between forward (Drive) and Reverse, just like for real? This has been the same in all of the SCS truck games.

    However, those two pretty minor niggles aside, this is a truly excellent game for the price, if you are a truck nut. I believe it is really a technology demonstrator for what is coming in Euro Truck Simulator 2, due out this August. I can’t wait!

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