Even in the current climate, people love the railway. It brings joy to many people, no matter their ages. I’m not sure if it’s the tradition, the massive machines, or the romance of the old buildings. Whatever it is, I don’t share their passion. For me, trains are a means to an end, and a chance to get from point A to point B efficiently. Consequently, I’ve never understood the desire to play any of the Train simulation titles to date. However, my boss decided that now was the time to pop my Train Sim cherry and therefore, here I am looking at Train Sim World 3.
Developed and published by Dovetail Games, this is an ultra-realistic train simulation title. Unlike others in the genre, this focuses solely on the role of the train driver. As such, you’ll be treated to the intricacies of many trains, as well as the ability to enjoy different picturesque routes. Furthermore, if you don’t fancy spending any cash, this is available FOC as part of the Game Pass subscription. Subsequently, there isn’t a lot to lose if you fancy a day in the life of a train driver.
Train Sim World 3 is eerily realistic.
Now few people know this, but my full-time job is driving trains. I won’t go any further into that, but I was amazed by the eerily realistic gameplay. Practically, every element of Train Sim World 3 is identical to the real thing. Accordingly, I was blown away by its accurate audio, incredible mechanical knowledge, and unbelievable scenery. The developers have gone all-out to create a mind-blowing experience, and in all honesty, they have succeeded.
Without a doubt, Train Sim World 3 is as close to driving a train as the real thing. Therefore, if you have aspirations to be a driver, or didn’t quite make the grade, then this is the game for you. I was given the deluxe edition and, consequently; I had a few more bells and whistles to experience. What’s more, my insider knowledge allowed me to jump into action without too many problems. However, I wouldn’t advise this approach for many, as the action is complex and requires a fair amount of knowledge.
A simple concept with complex moments.
What I adored about this title was its frank and straightforward approach. Effectively, all you must do is drive trains according to the rules and regulations. As such, you must abide by the speeds, listen to instructions, and stop at the relevant stations. Alternatively, you’ll be required to shunt trains, couple to freight trucks, and move around massive depots. Whatever is asked of you, you’ll be judged on your style, and how well you’ve done.
In theory, this is as simple as can be. However, in reality, there are plenty of things to go wrong. Speeding is a no, no, and colliding with other trains is frowned upon. Furthermore, missing stops or ignoring red signals will get you into big trouble. On top of this, the trains can fail, engines can stop, or you can screw up the electrics. If this happens, you are on your own and you must use your knowledge to get out of trouble. Thankfully, though, a phenomenal training school sees you right.
Training academy and route challenges.
To get the most out of Train Sim World 3 you should complete the full training academy program. Here, you’ll learn every bit of traction, and understand the fundamentals of driving. Furthermore, it talks you through the extra quests that are associated with each route. Whether that is to place signage, fix missing maps, or an array of other tasks. Each of these objectives earns your character XP and helps you to complete each region available to you. Fortunately, they can be ignored if you simply want to focus on driving.
If the latter option is your preference, you’ll enjoy the massive list of route challenges available to you. You’ll be asked to complete an array of route-specific tasks such as driving from London to Faversham while stopping at all intermediate stations. While doing this, you’ll be expected to open and close doors, keep your passengers safe and run on time. None of these tasks is surprising, but they are the fundamentals of being a train driver. Fortunately, Dovetail Games got the monotony spot on, and anyone who thinks the job is easy will probably think twice after playing this for 4 hours straight.
Train Sim World 3 looks fantastic.
From the frustrating to the sublime. The dynamic weather enhances the realism to mind-boggling levels. Whether it was torrential downpours, retina-burning sunshine, or fluffy white clouds, the ever-changing weather brought the game to life. On top of this, driving at night highlights the claustrophobic and gloomy viewpoint that every driver understands. I adored the constant shift in perspective and real-life experiences.
Alongside the wonderful weather were some eye-opening graphics. If you know each of these famous routes, you’ll adore the pinpoint accuracy of every building, sign, and shop. However, what was appalling was the customer models. I’ve never seen so many twins and triplets on one train in my entire life. Furthermore, if you are hit by a train, you somehow merge with it to become a mutant human/train creature. Consequently, this was ridiculous, obviously unrealistic, and poorly thought out. This is then combined with the ability to jump out of a moving train with no ill effects. Now, this isn’t exactly what driving a train is about, but these things shouldn’t happen.
Luckily, though, the audio makes up for most of the shortcomings. Accordingly, the sound of each train is unbelievably on point and it never ceased to amaze me. Moreover, I loved the environmental noises and the hammering of rain, the squeak of the windscreen wipers, and the honk of the horn. Then, there is the rickety sound of freight trains profiling on banking curves, and the whoosh of an EMU. In short, the developers got it spot on.
Excellent controls but clumsy exploration.
Transferring the feel and mechanical controls of a train to a controller is no easy task. However, Train Sim World 3 has done an excellent job. With a simple cursor system, you can flick switches, turn the master controller, and play with many elements of the cab. Furthermore, acceleration and braking are achieved with the use of the bumper buttons. Subsequently, it is easy to achieve and helped massively by the excellent tutorial. Sadly, though, the on-foot exploration moments don’t fare so well. Moving across platforms or through the train feels lethargic and clumsy. As such, I tried to keep this to a minimum, as it annoyed me.
Thanks to the 900 or so scenarios that need completing, there is plenty to do. What’s more, each run requires patience and an awful lot of time to complete. On top of this, you’ll need to master each train and tidy up your surroundings. In short, this is a jam-packed simulation title that ticks many boxes. However, one downside, if you don’t own the deluxe version, is the additional cost factor. If you wish to increase your routes and traction, you’ll have to pay a pretty penny. This isn’t so bad if you have Game Pass, but it works out as an expensive game if you buy each element separately.
Train Sim World 3 is unbelievable, mostly.
I was amazed by nearly every element of Train Sim World 3. The developers have put their hearts and souls into creating an awe-inspiringly great simulation title. Consequently, its gameplay is unbelievably good. However, you shouldn’t be able to jump from a moving train or merge with one when it collides with you. These issues aside, this is a phenomenal title that will be loved by many train enthusiasts. Furthermore, if you include the FOC access via Game Pass, you have nothing to lose. Accordingly, it is easy for me to recommend that you buy it here! Forget the tests, exams, and training, and become a virtual driver in an amazing simulation experience.