It’s been a couple of years since Xbox announced that Train Sim World was coming to consoles. I’ve been playing Train Simulator on PC for a long time so I was quite excited to see how things would turn out with a console version, in the end I was disappointed.
Train Sim World: Founders Edition, to give it the full title, sees you living the life of a train driver. You’ll begin by playing the tutorials, where you’ll discover how to start a train up, before setting off and stopping again. You only have three types of train to learn, a High Speed Train, a commuter train and freight train.
Once you have completed those you can either play through the scenarios or drive a train service from the list available. There are only 5 scenarios, ranging between 45-60 minutes long. You’ll help move a broken down train, fill in for a stranded driver and move freight. The trouble is, it’s just a bit boring, anyone who has ever travelled by train will know it’s not all plain sailing and I would have liked to see a bit of problem solving involved, it’s a simulation after all.
It’s also very buggy, for example, one scenario has you catch a train to Paddington Station, where you’ll need to prepare a train to depart for Reading station. Everything seemed to be going well until my approach into Reading, I slowed my train perfectly in front of a red signal, and was told to unlock the doors to let the passengers off, except I wasn’t at a platform, except I was and the game just refused to load the assets, I went with it and the game told I’d done a good job, I shut down the train and headed into the invisible station to get to the exit, that was on the upper level I couldn’t access because the stairs hadn’t loaded!
Thankfully saving and reloading the game sorted the problem, but that was just one of many problems I encountered. You can move around trains you aren’t driving and interact with all the buttons on the train, all while looking at the zombie like passengers scattered around the carriages. If you go into the drivers cab, the driver just sits there motionless, it’s very odd when the train is moving at 125mph.
The trains and the world all look very realistic, but it’s a shame to see the tracks ahead of you load in increments, even on the Xbox One X, the game starts to stutter when there is a lot going on in the environment around you, which explains why stations are pretty lifeless and you don’t see many trains passing despite being on a busy stretch of the network between London and Reading.
Over 8 hours I completed all the tutorials and scenarios, but I haven’t driven all the other services, it’s really only the achievements that will see me drop back into the game in the future.
It’s really disappointing having to give this game a bit of a kicking, as it’s quite cool showing my boys how trains work and what sort of things drivers need to do, but until more content becomes available and bugs and performance are addressed I can’t really recommend this.