Train Life: A Railway Simulator - Review - Xbox
Now I must admit I had never played a train simulation game before. Since starting this journey on Youtube and the website I have had the "pleasure" to play a whole host of simulation games from Bus to Lumberjack but never have I sat down with a game about trains. For my first toe dip into the wonderful world of rail based transport I'm going to be choosing Train Life, developed by simteract and published by Nacon which for the first time in railroad simulation, play as both the driver and company director! Sounds intriguing, but will it be an enjoyable first class ride or will it be bricked up in a dark tunnel until the end of time like poor old Henry? In the game you will drive your passengers or goods across 10 countries and explore the countryside, towns, forests and mountains of Europe from your cab. Each locomotive has its own characteristics (power, braking, etc.), which you need to learn to control them expertly, while following the railway signs and adapting to the weather conditions. As well as driving trains, you need to operate a successful company. Create your own company; buy and maintain your trains; hire conductors and give them new contracts; explore new routes; and optimize your Passenger and Freight activities. Make the right choices to earn money and grow your business! It's the business side of this game I ultimately preferred. After playing through all the tutorials in the game to get me up to speed with some kind of capability I jumped into the career mode. The controls on the train driving side seemed much easier to master than other sim games I have played in the past (I have since looked online and this seems to be the general consensus of this game). It's much less finickity and feels more like you're playing an actual video game than driving a train in real life - and I am all for that because driving trains doesn't seem to be the most exciting of past times.
Key Game Features:
Drive faithfully reproduced iconic trains, such as the ICE 3, ICE 4 and NEWAG Griffin
Create and customize your own trains, from their outer appearance to your cab interior
Manage your company: hire conductors, choose contracts, build your network, maintain your locomotives to prevent breakdowns and emergency repairs
Travel 10,000 kilometres of track through the towns and countrysides of Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the Alps region
Visit a wide range of true-to-life stations, such as Berlin Central Station and Zurich Main Station
Follow the railway signage while adapting to the switches and managing speed, track changes, braking distances, station arrivals, and the opening and closing of doors
Handle unexpected situations, such as a tree on the line, snow build-up on the tracks, or another train on your track Adapt your driving to the weather conditions and the time of day to prevent accidents, day and night, through downpours and blizzards!
Graphically the game isn't too bad with the trains and their carriages looking pretty detailed. The environments are another matter and whilst they look fine, there just feel pretty bland and generic so you wouldn't always realise you're in a different area. The UI is nice and clean and does the job for a sim game, although the menus will take a bit of getting used to. As with most sim games the soundtrack is a rather simple and generic one, but that seems to be the staple of this genre of game.
If you do enjoy the game there is also some paid DLC that includes the Orient-Express steam train. This DLC lets you drive the Orient-Express train of the 1920s, operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits as well as the 231C Nord steam locomotive and a new tutorial to help you learn how to drive it. There are more missions as well with 5 exclusive scenarios in which you are at the controls of the Orient-Express train across the historic route from Paris to Vienna with 2 new stations: Strasbourg and Vienna being added to career mode.
Train Life Simulator had a rocky launch, with players reporting of it being broken/unfinished. I can safely say these issues appeared to have been fixed as I didn't come across any game breaking glitches during my time playing it. Overall for my first foray into the world of Train games, I rather enjoyed Train Life: A Railway Simulator. The fact that the developers seem to have taken a simplified approach to the train driving (compared to other Train Sim games) and there's alot of focus on the management aspect that appeals to my business sim side as well. It's nowhere near perfect, and it doesn't have the graphics of some of the other games of the genre, but as a complete package it's well worth taking a ride. TOTAL SCORE:
Train Life Simulator was released onto the Xbox store on the 22nd September 2022. It's playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S consoles. The game is priced at £24.99 and can be purchased HERE.
A copy of the game was provided for the is review. A big thanks for that.