Train Sim World 2 heads into Rush Hour

Dovetail Games’ Train Sim World 2 just received the first part of its new “Rush Hour” DLC pack, which will consist of three parts that will all launch this summer. The first release features the ‘Boston Sprinter’ line, which we’ve been taking for a spin this past week.

One word that initially comes to mind for me when thinking about sim games is “overwhelming”, but the fact that Train Sim World 2 was also released on consoles felt like some encouragement (and speaking of which: a free upgrade for next gen systems was also just launched). Nevertheless, the game’s included tutorials and references are certainly welcome, as controlling your train is about more than just pushing the throttle stick down to speed up and hitting the brakes to slow down for a stop.

There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve to the game, as I overshot my first stop by quite a large margin. My last carriage was still sort of in the station though, so I wanted to count it as a success, but the game disagreed – and I assume the passengers wanting to board my train did as well. Taking a slower approach on my second try made sure I got to the station, but I didn’t make the designated time – I now have a newfound understanding for when and why trains are late.

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As a casual fan of train travel, I enjoyed being able to explore the interior of the new (and officially licensed) trains, which for fans include the Amtrak ACS-64 and MBTA F40PH-3C. The surrounding scenery has also been designed to be as accurate as possible, including recognizable landmarks as well as points of reference that help real life train drivers determine when it’s time to hit the brakes, all based on research done by the development team. The route between Boston and Providence is 43 miles (or 70 kilometers) long, and if you’ve never been on there you can also choose to explore it as a passenger instead.

A recent update to the game also makes stations look more lifelike, with more wardrobe diversity for passengers and more dynamic behavior for walking – which no longer results in everyone walking in a single file line. The Boston Sprinter line has a busy commuter train network, and it’s nice to see this reflected in larger passenger numbers both in stations and in your train.

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We’d also like to draw special attention to the game’s sound design, which makes sure that stations sound appropriately hectic with the sounds of train engines pulling into and leaving the station. Leaving the city of Boston and seeing more green appear on the horizon isn’t just literally a soothing view, you’ll also appreciate the relative peace and quiet because of the sound design. Your stress levels rise when it’s time for a stop, but once you’re past the learning curve this is a lovely way of spending about 45 minutes on a one-way trip and “traveling” during a time where that has its challenges.

Upcoming additions in the Rush Hour pass will include a return to Germany for the Nahverkehr Dresden line and a London Commuter route that spans from London’s Victoria station all the way to Brighton – iconic locations we can’t wait to see recreated. This week, however, we’re rolling into Cologne for Gamescom. Virtually in Train Sim World 2, as the nearby station is featured in the base game and is the closest we’ll get to heading out there this year.

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