Euro Truck Simulator offers the first real changes in the 18 Wheels of Steel series in years. Or does it?

User Rating: 6.5 | Euro Truck Simulator PC
Back in 2002, SCS Software abandoned the Hard Truck series and started the 18 Wheels of Steel franchise. Since then, many reincarnations of the original 18WoS have appeared, from 18 WoS Convoy to 18 WoS American Long Haul. However, these games were in fact more like patches with only subtle changes, kind of like Electronic Arts's infamous FIFA games.

With Euro Truck Simulator they dropped the 18 Wheels of Steel name and set the game in Europe. The good and the bad in a nutshell:

The Good:

- Graphics. A huge improvement, it puts features on new videocards to use. Detailed surroundings, cars, trailers and trucks and a good viewing distance.

- Gameplay goals. Driving around in previous games felt, at some point, utterly pointless. In ETS they included goals like make x undamaged deliveries in a row, etc.

- Europe. Obiously. The diversity of Europe (culture, landscape, architecture) makes for an ideal setting for a game like this.

- Removal of the the stupid, useless redneck radio calls. "10-4 on that hand". "Thick as pea soup out here hand".

The Bad:

- Smaller map. In the previous, USA-based games there were at least 5 times more cities, companies and roads to drive.

- No police. For some reason, they removed the police which were fun to outrun in 18 WoS (which hardly ever worked). In ETS, traffic offences are witnessed by some omnipresent being and when you make a delivery, you are presented with the ticket(s).

- No drivers you can hire. Maybe this feature comes later in the game (when I unlock more gameplay goals) but it seems they removed the feature that you can hire AI drivers and let them make money for you. Having a fleet of trucks was pretty cool, apparently SCS thought otherwise.

- No truck customization. Upgrades are offered by levels rather than actual parts. No custom paintjobs.

The Bad for which I can forgive them:

- Factual errors. Many roads don't make any sense. In my country, The Netherlands, there are no hills in the east (only a few in the south). The highways don't match with actual roads, not even closely. But I can forgive them for that.

- Fake truck brands and not many of them either. But this is pretty realistic, since the huge American rigs don't drive on European roads.

All in all it's a nice change from the American roads. The graphics and gameplay goals are very nice and tie the whole thing together. But at the same time, they removed some of the previous games' coolest features which leaves Euro Truck Simulator as a mediocre game.