The European Country side (depending on which country you're in, and where you're from) - can be one of two things. It can be a magnificent, mythical fantasy world, lush with green grass, vegetation, and farmland - a well developed, centuries old infrastructure, evocative of the romanticism of the Dutch school of painting, featuring iconic cows everywhere.
Or, it can be a harrowing, tense journey behind the wheel of a mechanical stallion weighing more than one could possibly fathom.
I don't have any experience with driving heavy vehicles. In fact, I've maybe only driven seven or eight different vehicles in my life (if I count also moving friends cars, or driving the car of someone else for a short 10-15 minute jaunt) - Euro Truck Simulator 2 (using a controller) - is such a bizzare abstraction of driving that it feels entirely foreign.
Given that driving a truck with a multitude of gears, mirrors, sophisticated braking systems, and other driving technology is completely different to driving a passenger vehicle, it is without a doubt that my initial escapades (and only escapades) in the game resulted in several consistent things:
- Failed deliveries
- Crashed Trucks
- Traffic Offences
- Road Rage
And... every other traffic offence that the game can reasonably throw at you. I found it particularly frustrating that this wasn't an arcade game - it is a simulator through and through. Start the engine. Load the trailer. Ease it out of the depot. Give way with terrible visibility from within the cockpit of a ludicrously powerful (and expensive) motor vehicle.
What followed was a few highway drives along windy roads (but something that wouldn't be windy if you were in a normal sized vehicle) - and harrowing highway mergers where I couldn't see the trees from the oncoming traffic. It mattered not, I ensured I would hit them all.
As its name suggests, this is indeed a simulator - and it simulates everything that can (and does) go wrong when trucks roam about the country-side, roaring along the highway, with your precious cargo on their beds. The fact that there are actual lunatics in the world who do this as a profession gives me a new-found respect to those who bring my useless trinkets and baubles that are purchased online from far-away lands.
Euro Truck Simulator 2 is a phenomenally deep game - not only are the physics remarkable (ie, if you try to drive over a grassy knoll designed to stop a truck, it WILL stop a truck) (it will even destroy mechanical components of that truck!) - then your handling will be impacted, you'll get stuck, and you'll end up a trucker with a significant debt and an incredible series of disappointments.
It is a game that makes me long for a drive in the country side, flat roads, open highway, and some minor turns here and there to keep me awake.
It isn't the sort of game that makes me long for a steering wheel on my computer, a clutch and shifter, but I'm sure there's dozens, if not hundreds of people who get a kick out of being truck nerds, complete with an overhead pull-down string that sounds a blaring horn at whatever dares cross their path.
I'm not one of those people. I enjoy driving - but only because it isn't a job. I enjoy driving a car - not a truck. I can't wait, however, for Euro Truck Simulator 403, where all trucks are automated entirely, and it is your job to plan and perfect the most outrageously efficient routes, to the point of lobbying the governments of the world to ensure every road leads downhill to save on resource and torque.
If you don't want to take it seriously, Euro Truck Simulator is not entertaining. If you want to take it seriously, then there's everything you could possibly want here, with the exception of an actual truck crashing through your computer monitor's screen. Maybe one day...