Was American Truck Simulator a Step Backwards?

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Amassing a mammoth cult following by sheer accident, SCS Software’s Euro Truck Simulator 2 became a completely unexpected hit upon the game’s release in late 2012. With an authentic scaled-down version of Europe available for players to explore as they saw fit, and a robust single player campaign lasting as long as the player’s attention span, the relaxing gameplay offered a welcoming change of pace to gamers traditionally scared off by hardcore driving simulators. SCS Software was fully aware of the mythical beast they had created, and recently attempted to capitalize on the enormous popularity of what is a very simple free roam driving game by bringing the successful formula across the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, it appears they have failed. Early reports indicate American Truck Simulator is a bit of a letdown; a mere shadow of what Euro Truck Sim 2 had accomplished.

Our sources say that while the game is still good and many will ultimately sink hundreds of hours into the title, there are some noticeable issues and questionable design choices. The game retails for the very affordable price of $20, and ships with only California, Arizona, and Nevada accessible. SCS plan to expand the map through several premium DLC expansions, though the current size of the map is smaller than what’s offered in Euro Truck Sim 2 – and even the longest deliveries don’t take very long. The lack of content also extends to the truck roster: just two trucks are available, though the game’s familiar file structure has already spawned dozens of mods converted from Euro Truck Sim 2.

In terms of the scenery, native California and Nevada residents have also remarked that the overall landscape doesn’t represent what these locations actually look like. Now it’s obvious SCS had to take some creative liberties when crunching California and Nevada into bite-sized caricatures, but the overall lack of authenticity has disappointed virtual American truckers. Lastly, the entire download weighs in at just over a gigabyte. It’s clear that SCS are planning to build this game through numerous expansion packs, rather than offering a huge roster of content at release as they did with Euro Truck Sim 2.

Again, these are early reports from our connections that actively play & enjoy these games, and from what we’ve been told, the base gameplay is still quite good. It’s just unfortunate that while Euro Truck Sim 2 came out as a relatively finished product, the intrusive DLC approach will be used on what was once a highly anticipated title.

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Help us understand why Euro Truck Simulator 2 is so popular

11258559_10206808825728584_744391955_nA longtime PretendRaceCars.net reader sent this in today; a picture he’d taken a few weeks ago during a university lecture where one of his fellow students was deep into a session of Euro Truck Simulator 2 and didn’t want to stop.

As North Americans, myself and Chris don’t really understand the obsession behind this game. Both of us own our own vehicles, so if we want to go on a road trip some where or run a remedial errand, we grab our keys and walk outside. We seem to be in the minority, however, as SteamCharts shows that Euro Truck Sim 2 is blowing away¬†the combined active player count of Project CARS, DiRT Rally, and Assetto Corsa.

schartsMy theory is that due to Europe’s fantastic public transit services, and the fact that very few Europeans own their own vehicle compared to North Americans, ETS2 provides the freedom and exploration they otherwise don’t usually get with subways, trains, buses, and cabs. Others have stated that it’s perfect for a rainy day or as a way to unwind after dealing with stress in the real world, but doubling the active player count of every other major racing title combined on a daily basis?

So we need your help! Tell us, in the comments, what makes this game so addicting – neither of us get it!