by Howie Howard
reviewed on PC
The life of a construction worker
Construction Simulator is the newest iteration of the popular construction game by developer Weltenbauer Software and publisher Astragon Entertainment. Although the series doesn't have an annual release similar to that of the EA sports titles, Construction Simulator has had three previous versions released in 2015, 2017, 2019. Construction Simulator is an extremely detailed game about operating construction vehicles and running a construction company. Players start out by creating either a male or female character and a company, with both needing a name. Character creation is rather simplistic in nature requiring a choice from one of a different set of characters which can be customized later on as desired. Customization is somewhat limited only to type and colour of clothing, hard hat colour and whether safety glasses and hearing protection is worn or not.
Once the character is set, then it's off to meet up with an old friend named Hape. Hape is the owner of a small construction company that is looking for someone to take over so he can retire. After completing four introductory construction contracts under Hape's supervision its on to running the company by yourself. Hape then serves as mentor where he provides titbits of information along the way. Interactions with Hape and others - namely city officials - takes place in narrated cut scenes complete with audio dialogues. You can listen and read or even skip over them if you prefer.
Construction equipment is amazing
The introductory phase of the game is actually a tutorial and a pretty good one at that. Construction Simulator takes place in either a United States or European setting. Upon starting, the surrounding locations can be looked upon as being struggling areas in need of a construction company capable of building structures that will entice people to move there. In the beginning, road and highway traffic in the city indicates the lack of city dwellers. As construction projects are completed people will move to the city and it will become more active. It's nothing like Sim City but the numbers of vehicles on city streets will visibly increase. This will make driving around more difficult for a budding construction company owner. More on that later.
There are numerous and different types and models of construction equipment from bulldozers to excavators to big rig flat bed cargo haulers that need to be operated and driven. All of these extremely detailed construction vehicles are operated by using a different combination of WASD keys, arrow keys and the numerical key pad keys. Sometimes the keys need to be used in conjunction with other keys. If that sounds difficult, it is, but a game controller can be mapped if you deem that will be easier for you. There is a fairly large learning curve but as the old saying goes, "practice makes perfect." In addition there is an excellent manual that describes everything in great detail and it can be a lot of help.
It's all about the licenses in the construction business
Weltenbauer Software has licenses with all of the major construction vehicle manufacturers such as Bobcat, CAT, Kenworth, Mack, Bomag, Meiller, Kipper, Hamm, Still, Man and more. You will find these company's dumpers, tractors, flatbed trailers, backhoes, rollers, mobile and static cranes, and so much more in the game. All of it is presented in great detail. New to Construction Simulator for 2022 are manufacturer's Doosan, Nooteboom, Scania, and Wacker Neuson. I knew about construction vehicles from Kenworth, Mack and Bobcat but I didn't know much about the others, so the game can help to teach those of us that might be interested in such things.
Game scenarios consist of a mixture of missions or as the game calls them, contracts. Mission contracts can be quite involved and a lot of time may be necessary to complete each one. There are smaller contracts available that aren't part of the main scenarios that can serve to gain extra money and experience points along with providing practice in the operation of the different vehicles. There are three company levels, S, M and L and you need to complete tasks such as adding to vehicle inventory in order to achieve the levels. Rented vehicles don't count. Purchasing equipment adds the benefit of being able to complete contracts cheaper in addition to allowing the opportunity to grow the business and add employees.
My, my, that traffic is so annoying
I mentioned earlier about traffic in the city and region increasing due to the construction of new infrastructure. This does happen and it adds to more vehicles being on the road. Unfortunately the traffic moves extremely slow. Some vehicles pull out right in front of your speeding vehicle which causes an accident and this can add to the annoyance level of driving in the city. All traffic violations bring a one hundred dollar fine and damage to your vehicle if you happen to run in to a guard rail or other obstacle like a car. Being in a rush is normal but being stuck behind slow game traffic moving at 20 MPH is annoying nonetheless.
With such expensive equipment, damage costs a lot of money and time to repair. And there are numerous ways in which you can damage your company vehicles. A lot of the road ways in the country consist of sharp turns, narrow roads, slow traffic and road configurations that remind me of a snake wiggling along on the ground. Maybe this was designed in to the game in order to give shop mechanics something to do after that upgrade is earned. It made me wish there was a contract available to redesign and rebuild all of these snake looking roadways in to roads that aren't such a pain to drive on!
It seems like that red light will never turn green
When traffic is added in to the equation the violation fines for speeding, not stopping at stop signs, making an illegal turn and for running red lights takes a big bite out of company profits. Granted, Construction Simulator is not an on the road driving simulator game like the Hard Truck big rig driving series was. That's fine but the length of time that red stop lights stay on red is really too much. The red lights take in excess of a minute real time to change to green! Sitting at a red light when absolutely no other traffic is around is so annoying you can always lay on the trucks horn and get your frustrations out that way! That, or just pay the fines like I was want to do. The only saving grace is that once you have driven to a specific location, then fast travel can be used.
Folks, I did gripe about slow moving traffic and annoying red lights but everything else about Construction Simulator really is great. There are other bugs but I'm thinking that might have been due to the game version I was playing, but they are so minor that they simply do not affect the fun factor of Construction Simulator. Vehicle graphics look absolutely amazing and the vehicle manufacturers partnered with Weltenbauer Software should have absolutely nothing to complain about there. In fact all of the graphics look excellent. With that said, if you love operating big construction vehicles then Construction Simulator will be the perfect game for you. Even if you don't particularly like the genre it can still be a whole lot of fun.
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Great construction simulation and all of the construction vehicles look absolutely fantastic
The amount of time that red stop lights stay on red can be rather annoying