Railway Empire 2, published by Kalypso Media and developed by Gaming Minds Studios, invites players to don the coat of a clever entrepreneur and embark on a journey to build the ultimate railway empire. Set in the early 1800s during the Industrial Revolution, this simulation and strategy game allows you to transform your small railway company into a sprawling network that connects cities and companies across entire continents. With its rich historical backdrop and a plethora of gameplay features, Railway Empire 2 offers a deep and rewarding experience for fans of management sims. Does it prove to be a serious step up from the first game? We checked it out on a PlayStation 5.
The game’s premise is enticing, as it taps into the allure of becoming a rail tycoon, creating transport hubs, and overseeing the movement of valuable goods and resources – a genre that emerged about three decades ago and is still going strong. While Railway Empire 2 can be a complex game to grasp initially, the detailed tutorials aim to guide players through its intricacies. However, some tutorial objectives may feel unclear or require significant waiting time, making the learning process somewhat challenging and requiring patience. Nevertheless, with perseverance and time investment, players can find a deeply engaging and rewarding experience that unfolds gradually.
One of the standout features of Railway Empire 2 is its attention to detail. The game boasts 60 historic locomotives that can be customized to reflect your preferred colors and company branding. The meticulously designed maps, covering the entire USA and Europe, are larger, more detailed, and livelier than before as well – though we’ll no doubt see add-ons post-launch. Additionally, the improved track construction mechanics streamline the process, with signals being automatically placed, bridges now accommodating more tracks, and expandable train stations featuring up to eight tracks. These enhancements allow players to focus on important decisions and witness the growth of their cities and economies.
Railway Empire 2 offers a variety of gameplay modes and scenarios to suit different preferences. Players can choose from a 5-chapter campaign that takes them through iconic regions of Europe and the US or opt for any of the 14 different scenarios. The fully customizable Free Play mode provides possibilities for building the perfect rail network without constraints, or just for a bit of experimenting. For those seeking cooperative play, the game also offers a multiplayer mode where up to four players can join forces and compete or collaborate in expanding their railway empires.
Visually, Railway Empire 2 impresses with its attention to historical authenticity. The sepia-toned map and user interface create a neat and uncluttered aesthetic that transports players back to the 1800s. The ability to seamlessly zoom in and out of the map adds to the immersive experience, allowing players to admire the intricate details up close. While the audio design may not be particularly remarkable or immersive, the game features nice, soothing music and informative tutorials delivered through gentle narrations, creating a soothing atmosphere.
In terms of playability, Railway Empire 2 successfully adapts its various systems and mechanics for console play. The controls, accessed via a controller on consoles, offer a mostly straightforward experience, while laying tracks has been made more accessible. However, some players may find connecting routes frustrating at times, and making adjustments to existing infrastructure can lead to minor setbacks or even to you wanting to reload a saved game. Despite these occasional challenges, the game provides a satisfying and intuitive interface for managing your railway empire.
One of the strengths of Railway Empire 2 lies in its immense replay value. The game offers infinite possibilities for players to build and expand their empires, ensuring that each playthrough can be unique. Balancing cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and meeting the demands of 19th-century historical figures becomes a central challenge. The extensive management aspects, including maintaining locomotives, managing resources, researching upgrades, and even sabotaging rival companies, create a dynamic and immersive experience.
While Railway Empire 2 may have a high barrier of entry due to its depth and complexity, those willing to invest time and effort will find a highly rewarding gameplay experience. The game’s attention to historical detail, improved mechanics, and engaging gameplay modes make it a worthwhile choice for fans of management simulations and railway enthusiasts alike. With its vast maps, captivating visuals, and the sense of accomplishment from building a successful railway network, Railway Empire 2 is a solid addition to the genre and an enjoyable journey into the golden age of rail transportation – though if you already have the previous game with all of its expansions you’ll find that the world got a little smaller again. In conclusion, Railway Empire 2 offers a deep and immersive railway management experience, and while the learning curve and occasional frustrations may deter some players, there’s dozens of hours of fun to be found in building a railway empire and reaping the rewards of your entrepreneurial endeavors.