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Reviews

SimRail – The Railway Simulator: A Solid Foundation (review)

SimRail – The Railway Simulator, a train simulator set mostly in Poland with over than 500km realistic routes, offers a mixed but largely positive experience for gamers of the genre. While the game is still in early access, it showcases potential and delivers a range of enjoyable features. Let’s get into the details

Graphics and Sound Design

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SimRail has really realistic graphics, capturing the essence of trains and railway systems in impressive detail. From locomotives to train sets, the developers have clearly put substantial effort into creating authentic models that are both visually appealing and faithful to their real-life counterparts.

The graphical presentation, although visually stunning overall, could benefit from some fine-tuning. Textural glitches occasionally emerge, particularly noticeable during nighttime scenes at Katowice station. Additionally, the nighttime ambiance feels a bit bright compared to reality.

SimRail’s sound design is commendable, further immersing players into the experience. The soundscape captures the essence of train travel, from engine noises to station announcements, effectively enhancing the overall realism. One small improvement that could heighten the immersion would be adding variations to the sounds when players open windows in the cabin.

Level of Realism and Content

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One of SimRail’s strongest suits is the level of realism it achieves. The meticulously crafted routes make gameplay an absolute joy. Each kilometer is faithfully represented, with signals, crossings, and speed limits accurately placed. The attention to detail is commendable and highly immersive, ensuring an authentic train ride experience. Furthermore, the inclusion of Polish routes and rolling stock offers a refreshing change from the usual selection of locations.

However, SimRail falls slightly short in terms of content. With two routes and a handful of vehicles, the game’s limited variety may leave players craving more after several hours of playtime. The absence of a “timetable” mode, akin to Train Sim World, where players can create their schedules and ride with their chosen train, could significantly extend the game’s longevity. As it stands, players are restricted to predefined scenarios, leaving customization options limited and replayability somewhat diminished.

User-Friendly Features

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While SimRail provides an impressive foundation for train enthusiasts, a few aspects require refinement. The absence of a save feature is a glaring omission, one that hampers the overall experience. As scenarios can last up to four hours, players could find themselves unable to play beyond a certain point if they lack sufficient time. Including the option to save progress would be a welcomed addition.

Another area that could benefit from improvement is the absence of AI traffic. While the multiplayer mode mitigates this to some extent by allowing interaction with other players, the lack of computer-controlled trains makes the in-game world feel static. Introducing AI traffic would inject life into the rail network and enhance immersion.

Additionally, the inclusion of comprehensive tutorials or explanations of signals and signs would be beneficial for players new to the world of railway systems. While online resources provide ready access to this information, it would be more accessible and immersive to find such information within the game itself.

Verdict

SimRail, in its early access state, shows great promise as a train simulator. Its strengths lie in its faithful reproduction of trains and routes, creating an immersive experience for players. While there is room for improvement, particularly in terms of content variety and user-friendly features, the developers’ commitment to listening to player feedback is encouraging. With continued updates and the eventual inclusion of modding support, SimRail has the potential to become a standout title in the genre. For gamers looking for a solid train simulation experience without a tons of DLCs, SimRail is definitely worth considering.