Prague based SCS Software have been in the business of trucks and lorries for two good decades. Their Euro Truck Simulator series has an active community of players and modders. American Truck Simulator is the latest instalment with maps of US states, starting with California, Nevada and Arizona. A driving as well as management simulation, American Truck Simulator lets you drive lorries to transport goods against dollars and experience points. Money is used to purchase, upgrade and customise vehicles, hire staff, expand and purchase garages and eventually become the “Trucking King”.
Playability: Master of the roads
With its basic introductory tutorial, American Truck Simulator seems to believe in learning by driving. The controls are straightforward: steer left and right, accelerate and break, turn on lights, blow your fog horn… A route advisor works as a dashboard GPS to the delivery destination, with inns, rest areas, garages and petrol stations conveniently indicated along the way. American Truck Simulator assumes that you are familiar with road rules and signage, which actually vary across countries and even across states in the US. A few lessons on how to handle an eighteen wheeler would have been useful, even if an auto parking option is available.
Annoyance: Drive safely
American Truck Simulator forces you to drive safely and rewards the pernickety driver. Speeding and collisions with other vehicles result in experience penalties and fines. Repairs will easily burn hard earned cash making defensive driving an absolute requisite. There is no causing mayhem or wreaking havoc (or grand theft truck). This is generally a commendable attitude, but sometimes you might just want to speed a little over the limit to hear your engine rumble.
Beauty: Truck porn
American Truck Simulator may not be the best looking driving game around, but it finishes second to none (bar Euro Truck) when it comes to modelling and customising eighteen wheelers. Whether you are a fan of lorries or trucks, or not, American Truck does not fail to make a lasting impression with its attention to steel, chrome and leather details. An absolutely essential element of the Truck Simulator series is the possibility of listening to your own music playlist and to add streaming internet radio stations from around the world. A little bit of music and expansive vistas make driving long distances surprisingly pleasant. A train rumbles by, waves crash along the Pacific Coast Highway, gliders soar into the sunset. Somehow American Truck Simulator brings back the simple pleasure of listening and watching (without the need for countless explosions, flesh eating zombies or pointless side quests).
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: Have truck will travel 8/10
American Truck Simulator shares the same daft name and qualities as its Euro counterpart and is likely to age as well as a great wine. Euro Truck has years of community mods under its rusty belts while American Truck is a relative newcomer. There is little doubt that one day deliveries from Halifax all the way to Tierra del Fuego will be parts and parcel of American Truck, but for the time being driving will remain confined to a handful of US states. Part driving simulation, part management, part role playing and wholly wandering, American Truck Simulator is a worthy addition to the Euro Truck Simulator series.