Bus Simulator sets you within the fictional city of Megacity and offers the opportunity to complete 34 missions on 18 different tracks, using a variety of bus models and styles.
Whilst I may be in a minority when I admit to having now played more than one bus simulator, I am by no means embarrassed to have played the likes of Bus Driver by SCS Software.
Such a game has a quirky addictiveness and is unexpectedly well produced, impressive looking, fun to play and rewarding.
I have never had any particular desire to become a bus driver, nor will this game realistically teach you to be one. It is what games should be; a game that rewards, surprises, and ultimately contains that all-important balance between satisfaction and frustration that keeps you wanting to play it.
Bus Simulator 2008 by Avanquest Software contains none of these qualities.
Bus Simulator sets you within the fictional city of Megacity and offers the opportunity to complete 34 missions on 18 different tracks, using a variety of bus models and styles, with the option of downloading additional buses via the internet.
Bus Simulator 2008 advertises itself as a realistic driving simulation, with detailed graphics, and tycoon elements. Perhaps here lies the key problem in the conception of this game. In my experience any game that tries to be all things to all people will ultimately fail in every aspect. Concentrate on one key area and do it well and there will be a hope of succeeding.
In Bus Simulator 2008, animation is non-existent to the point that other vehicles will simply go from being like bricks floating down the road to bricks suddenly facing in another direction, with no animation in between. Similarly, the whole driving experience feels horribly unrealistic and your bus will essentially slide down the road, or bounce off the kerb like a dodgem.
Artificial Intelligence is another key area in which Bus Simulator 2008 performs woefully. In essence, there is none. Cars don't seem to realise that you've actually bothered to stop at a red light and frequently just carry on driving until they crash into you, whereas people are like zombies. At their worst, people have even been known get run over by your stationery bus by walking into it at random locations.
The ‘tycoon' aspect of Bus Simulator 2008 is superficial and largely revolves around trying to encourage more passengers to travel by running marketing and advertising campaigns on the side of your vehicle, and by altering the price of tickets. The aim being to be able to afford more expensive/different buses. It features an interface littered with spelling mistakes and one section still written in the game's original language of German.
This German theme continues on the website made available to download additional content and much needed bug fixes and patches, where most of the English sections are actually written in German. The resource itself is futile, as the only fixes and upgrades available at the time of writing were for the German version of Bus Simulator 2008. These fixes are already at the 1.40 stage, so I wouldn't hold your breath to find a fix/upgrade for a UK version of the game.
Graphically, Bus Simulator 2008 is extremely poor. Try and run the game on a mid-upper level PC by today's standards at its highest level of ‘detail' and it not only isn't going to happen, it's still going to look appalling. Little effort or talent has clearly been put into the graphics engine, and this is the story throughout the game.
Compounding the issues is the complete inability to run Bus Simulator 2008 within Windows Vista (despite the rather unhelpful FAQ entries on the separate support website suggesting that all that is required is administrative privileges).
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