Reviews - Updated on April 15, 2022

– What it is?
“Don’t you understand? This is the station. And the city around it.
“Listen, Harmonica. A city built around a train station… You can make a fortune out of it, right? Hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hey, and even more – thousands of thousands.
They are called millions.
– “Millions” … Yes, millions!

film “Once Upon a Time in the Wild West” (1968)

Wild West, 1850s. Letters from the east coast of the American continent take six months. Yes, yes, this is several times longer than your slowest package from China. On the eve of the Civil War, the lack of sane roads (at least a liquefied primer from my grandmother’s village) puts the current government in an uncomfortable position. It seems that you want to win, but how, if commanders receive orders from Washington only by the end of the war? The time has come to implement gigantic infrastructure projects and use all the resources of the states to launch fast and reliable transport.

Transport Fever game review

The gaming campaign takes a brief digression into history and makes you make money.

Journey to the very heights

The whistle of a locomotive, the swirling smoke on the horizon of the Mojave Desert and the click of a whip on the sirloin of an artiodactyl – this is the atmosphere of the American frontier. The area attracts adventurers and moneybags hungry for prosperity. Behind them, citizens with their families trudge to the construction site of the transcontinental railway. And here the Swiss studio Urban Games in Transport Fever will take the player with the problems of a businessman in the transportation business. He has to get to the heights of wealth and become a transport tycoon.

Even in the preview, I touched on one of the best additions in the genre of city-building strategies and “tycoons” – the introduction of a story mode. Over the course of fourteen missions (about eleven hours), we are included in the history of the formation of transport corporations in the US and Europe. It’s a fun way to get your head around the gameplay – with quests and chronological storytelling.

In the name of skyscrapers! Harness the horses!

But a hard part of the residents and workers will remain behind the scenes in the free play mode. Fortunately, the predecessor in the face of Train Fever inherited a complete catalog of models with an improved look for both continents. An impressive list (more than one hundred and twenty units) was diluted with ships in order to reduce the cost of transportation, and aircraft in the name of conquering long-distance routes. In the twelve years since OpenTTD, nothing like this has ever been created. An interesting and capable addition – tankers find their way even in narrow river systems and allow you to benefit from water bodies, and beautifully animated aircraft reflect the rise of aviation at the turn of the 60s. You don’t even know if against this background it is worth mentioning the classical laying of roads and railways with bridges and intersections, modified to an adequate state.Transport Fever game review

Steamships are scurrying along the river, aircraft have risen into the sky – the villages have received new perspectives.

All vehicles cover a wide historical period from 1850 to 2005. Outdated steam locomotives are replaced by new high-speed electric trains, and the ancient horse-drawn trams. Familiar from Simutrans and the masterpieces of Chris Sawyer (Chris Sawyer) system. True, in terms of the range of models, the Urban Games project is much inferior to its competitors. The small size of the development team (ten people) affects. But they managed to subordinate visualization of cities to epochal changes, where with the onslaught of the 21st century, with proper economic nourishment (if you don’t pick your nose), skyscrapers will mature with a mirror image of our magnificent region with an area of ​​​​as much as two hundred and fifty-six square kilometers.

Building in a scientific way

The system of automatic construction of cities was the property of the first game of the Swiss studio. Their simulation of urbanism and zonal development has scientific roots (we talked about it here). It takes into account the types of building materials produced for buildings of different time periods – wood and stone in the 19th century, steel and concrete in the 21st. At the same time, the procedural structure of buildings from blocks strives for the unique appearance of settlements. Trees, billboards, garbage cans, benches, boxes and many other details flood the streets, which are tied into realistic knots and take away more and more territories from nature.

In Transport Fever, zones are divided into residential, commercial, and factory zones. High-rise buildings are exclusively near wide roads, inhabited houses are obsolete by industrialists to the periphery, and in the most crowded places white-collar workers settle in their offices. But there will be no progress if production is idle. In Train Fever, enterprises on their own (more precisely, by the hands of the proletariat) transported products to the cities. Urban Games decided that it was unfair – the villages turned into megacities without exception. From now on, the region sours in oblivion, while factories scattered around the map are patiently waiting for the will of the player. Such a person will come and build industrial chains – and then we will live!

Transport Fever game review

“In the midst of the evening lights and the horns of cars, the quiet light of my soul rushes!”

Small inner-city manufactories produce all the final consumer goods and expect supplies of mechanisms, building materials and fuel from giant industrial centers. Commerce needs tools, food and provisions. They, in turn, require raw materials in the form of grain, meat, oil, timber, coal, iron ore, and stone. Part of the processing is undertaken by intermediate links – a sawmill, a steel mill, an oil refinery and a chemical plant. Only eighteen loads. A distinctive feature of Transport Fever from OpenTTD and other games of this class is that if you do not complete the entire supply chain from beginning to end, then sooner or later, when warehouses are full, it will stall and incur huge losses.

But if you work hard on improving logistics, you can achieve the effect of a rubber multi-million dollar Moscow – all roads are drawn to the center, neighboring agglomerations are absorbed by the boundaries of the metropolis, monstrous traffic jams and crowds appear. There is one more point in the requirements – the development of transport accessibility. Richer residents are looking for a quick way to get to work or to the store, willingly leave for developed areas. Others want to travel on a minimal budget and short distances. A high percentage of the indicator motivates everyone to become more mobile and provides fertile ground for huge regional centers.

Without flight attendants and champagne, but with a first-person view

Urban Games have done a great job providing the game with the best graphics and the smallest details. The picture brightened, the sky cleared up, homogeneous textures are a thing of the past. All movable property now has an interior — in 2016, we finally got rid of opaque windows in strategies! Inside there is a driver or driver, and a little bored passengers look at the player’s camera. And not dummies with a stretched texture, but characters animated by animation. They read books, talk to fellow travelers, cross their legs, gesticulate, and so on. It is a pity that for the sake of productivity, the diversity of local crowds had to be neglected – representatives of social groups seemed to be cloned.

Thanks to high resolution textures and a flexible LoD system, the player can “move into” any inhabitant and observe the world from the first person. At the stage of the closed beta test (they signed up for it during development), they were allowed to sit inside the car, bus, and even the plane. But out of concern that the public would underestimate Steam for angular interior models, the feature was removed in the release. Making high-poly seats, tables and flight attendants with champagne is the level of a simulator, not a strategy. And tycoons should not be engaged in “rides” when they paint the future of their corporation.

Transport Fever game review

Forget Forex! Just lay the lines in Transport Fever and you will have the same cool screen!

Over the years, speeds are growing, the number of routes exceeds a hundred or two, the rolling stock is aging, stations need to be expanded … It is becoming more and more difficult to control the quality of transport services with an increase in corporation. Here the interface should save the situation. It was redesigned, improved in comparison with Train Fever. But still, it is overloaded with the same parameters and lacks important reports. For example, we added graphs of income and expenses for each rolling stock. The information is not aggregated. It cannot be analyzed in any way for different eras or detailed by months. Station coverage areas, land assessment layers, change schedules, financial calculations are either unreadable or detailed.

“Great game without multiplayer”

Lacks game and competitive spirit. Here you can understand ten developers from Switzerland – with an obvious shortage of resources, they are not able to write advanced artificial intelligence (and you don’t need a weak one at all). It is limited only to urbanization and finding ways for residents to scurry around the game world on foot, horses, cars or public transport. The multiplayer mode seems like a great alternative to the silicon rival. Exactly where OpenTTD has found a gigantic community support. “We were faced with a choice: a great game without multiplayer or so-so, but with multiplayer,” Urban Games said in one of the diaries, thus signing the verdict on the idea for the next couple of years.

But they still have things to do. After a successful launch on Steam (Transport Fever was included in the list of global bestsellers), the game mechanics will have to go through several improvements, most of which come down to more informative content and interface changes. Urban Games will then cheer up the performance of the engine for the later stages. With the advent of megacities and the ubiquitous creep of transport, frames per second drop to single values ​​even on top-end video cards. The developers promise a major update that fixes known problems.

Transport Fever game review

Urban public transport in Transport Fever is no less important than long-distance cars or freight.

And very soon Transport Fever will finally be dedicated to mods with the release of tools and documentation for the community. The project is already linked to the Steam Workshop and offers over two hundred objects. Among them you will find the .ru logo for branding your corporation (don’t forget to attach mods to a save or a new game, otherwise they won’t work). In the foreseeable future, the community promises to convert a massive 1520 DLC from Train Fever with one hundred and fifty transport models and objects of Eastern Europe from the times of the Russian Empire to the formation of the USSR and the current realities of the CIS countries and Russia. Some of them have already been posted.

***

On that, the developers will not finish their work. The continuation will come for sure. After all, Transport Fever is a significant improvement on Train Fever from two years ago, with new vehicles, intricate supply chains, improved cities, an optimized interface, a decent pathing system and a whole head of improved graphics quality. Yes, it was not without flaws. The most offensive lies in the controversial economic balance (the cost of rolling stock, the cost of facilities, and so on). There are also minor drawbacks, such as a tanker penetrating a bridge support, an Airbus with a flight path through a mountain range, or a coachman with an animation of reading a book instead of holding the reins. Fans of the genre will forgive and not notice. And new players will not want to drag themselves through a viscous swamp. A commendable idea, but the implementation is only for their own.

Pros: significantly improved Train Fever; two historical campaigns; neat graphics and high resolution textures; detailed models of transport with interiors and the effect of aging; added ships and planes; cities dynamically develop taking into account a realistic system; expanded support for modifications and Steam Workshop; lulling clatter of wheels.
Cons: the questionable balance of the economy; interface redesign failed; the need for schedules and route micromanagement since Train Fever has not been satisfied; minor imperfections like the absence of waves from ships and liners flying through the mountains; very weak procedural map generator.

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