Rating: PEGI 3
This is possibly one of the most ultra-realistic truck simulators that I’ve ever had the chance to play, and the refreshing experience is unabashedly backed by no other than the Scania Group themselves.
It looks like Czechoslovakian developers SCS Software have come a long way after their many years of developing truck simulation games. In case you are not familiar with them, then perhaps this review of 18 Wheels of Steel: Pedal to the Metal will jog your memory.
Yes, the developers of Bus Driver, the Hunting Unlimited series, the 18 Wheels of Steel series, and the Euro Truck Simulator series, are back with Scania Truck Driving Simulator – The Game, one of their most impressive games to date. For convenience, I shall be abbreviating the game as “Scania TDS” for the remainder of the review.
There’s one thing I have to say before moving on: Boy, do the trucks in Scania TDS look powerful, sexy, and ultra-sleek. This is a truck driving simulation dream game come true!
|Enough talking, let’s start driving already!|
If you checked the website for Scania TDS, you will find that there are currently two demo versions of the game – a Full and an Extended version. The former is the complete game while the latter adds a bonus media gallery that contains some great Scania 18-wheeler eye candy to ogle at. Do note that the Extended version clocks in at 1.5 GB, but I feel that it is definitely worth your time.
You should also not forget to apply the latest update as new content has been added to Scania TDS; in fact, this review is taking reference from version 1.4.0. Before you being, you have to create a profile: choose an image to represent yourself, decide the appearance of your truck, and pick whether you prefer your steering wheel on your left or right.
|Pay attention here and get your Driving License|
After creating your profile, you can choose to play from six interactive modes: Driving License, Driver Competition, Dangerous Drives, Freeform Driving, Time Reaction Test, and the aforementioned Gallery and Media. The first five modes will feature a challenge list, while the last option is a series of special videos and slideshows that is very educational, exciting, and at times nail-biting.
Driving License is the first game mode you should attempt when you first start off with Scania TDS. It contains 10 challenges that cover simple tasks like a brake test, straight line reversing, to more sophisticated maneuvers like the stress inducing backward serpentine. The biggest challenge for first time truck drivers will undoubtedly be the offset reverse challenges; once you master that, you’ll be on your way to passing this challenge series with flying colors.
|Inch by careful inch|
Driver Competition takes you through a series of events that are inspired by the annual Young European Truck Driver (YETD) Competition. Precision is not only important in the 13 challenges lined up for you, but you’ll also need to be swift and resolute in your driving skills. The entire series culminates with a reenactment of the actual finale from the YETD – can you step up to the challenge of dropping the red poles with just the use of your truck?
Dangerous Drives changes the pace by taking you on scenic driving routes that are not only perilous, you’ll need nerves of steel to maneuver through some of them. There are 15 challenges that will bring you to narrow and curvaceous mountain roads, surviving sticky short cut situations, and trying your hand at completing nerve wracking bridge crossings.
|All too real!|
Freeform Driving brings you 2 challenges. The first takes you to a fictitious industrial city and its rural environs. The second challenge brings you to a virtual version of the Scania Demo Centre located in Södertälje, Sweden. Keep on the lookout for Scania logos scattered on the map; it’s like a mini treasure hunt for those who like this kind of game play.
You have a handy map that will help you navigate; use it to visit marked green circles where simple jobs await you or pick the red circles if you want to try your hand at trickier delivery parking situations. Once at a job, you only need attach the trailer and then find your way to the delivery point. If you do your job perfectly without damaging the goods and complete it in good time, you will be awarded points.
|Deliver the trailer over at the marked spot|
Time Reaction Test features 4 challenges that finds out how fast you react to a hazard that suddenly springs out in front of your truck.
As you can see, there’s a lot of activities for you to see and do. Whereas the game’s predecessor – Euro Truck Driver relied a lot on freeform driving, it seems Scania TDS is happy to supply you with challenge after challenge to test your mettle (and throw in a little freeform driving at the same time). Now that is a really good thing!
But this leads to the next question: How’s the driving experience like with Scania TDS?
|The top down view|
Driving a truck in Scania TDS is an incredible experience. I’m no trucker, but the things you can do with this game can put some so-called aircraft simulators to shame!
You have a fully functional dashboard and the extra option to display a tachometer in greater detail. The wing mirrors are really big and do an excellent job of raising your situational awareness. You can even use your mouse to pan your view around the cabin. There’s a complete set of steering controls (via keyboard, mouse, or controller) including automatic and sequential transmission. You also get a working set of indicators, lights, wipers, and cruise control. Finally, there are 8 camera views to play with: there’s cabin view, bumper view, and top view; just to name a few.
But most importantly – operating a Scania 18-wheeler feels very very real in Scania TDS.
|Keep to your lane or suffer a penalty|
Scania TDS is a game that excels in its graphics. The interior of a Scania R-series truck looks nicely reproduced, right down to the dashboard. I would have loved to have seen more gadgets (like an in-built GPS) as well as the beds in the truck, but will have to make do with the current truck model view provided for. The exterior landscape is accurately detailed – a lot of effort has gone into making them and you can tell by all the little details that have gone into the cities, rural areas, and competition grounds.
The driving experience is reinforced by the powerful and authentic sound effects – hear the low engine sounds and bask in all the wonderful resonance as you put your truck into gear; the sound team have truly done an incredible job here (as you will see in the bonus video found in the gallery). At the same time, you’ll also love the music that powers the main interface and the game. You have the guys over at Silentnoise Audio Productions to thank for their hard work here.
|Care for a spin in the wee hours of the morning?|
Scania Truck Driving Simulator – The Game is an impressive simulation game that should get more attention than it currently deserves. A lot of quality, detail, and hard work has gone into the making of this niche simulation game, and it comes highly recommended!
- There’s a whole lot of challenging game modes to play through in Scania TDS. From driving school, to the challenging YETD mock-up, to the impressive vistas in a series of dangerous drives, and to the freeform driving where you seek to accumulate as many points as possible.
- The freeform driving mode even simulates traffic and pedestrians.
|The hustle and bustle of city driving|
- There’s unparalleled beauty in Scania TDS in terms of graphics; you’ll even love the occasional rain as it splatters on your window.
- You’ll fall in love with the accurate sound recordings taken from an actual Scania truck.
- There’s an online leaderboard for every challenge; check out how your truck driving skill compares with players from all over the world.
- The gallery and media found in the Extended Version is worth the download, so go for it.
- There’s enough material here fit for serious truck driving simulation lovers and everyone else who loves a high quality game. Don’t expect a racing game from Scania TDS, because it’s not!
Just a few minor points to raise here in this advertising vehicle for the Scania Group.
- Except for the first two challenges in each mode, the remainder are locked.
- You may score terribly in a non-competitive challenge, but if you cross the finish line you’ll still get to unlock the next challenge. The Driving Competition segment is dependent on you not triggering a fail condition.
- Although there is a lot of variety in terms of challenges, there is a dearth of choices in the number of available rides and cargo. That means you’ll only get to drive the Scania R-type truck and can’t get to choose the cargo you wish to haul without travelling to another location in freeform driving mode.
|Are we there yet? I can’t bear to look…|