reviews\ Jan 13, 2004 at 7:00 pm

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 (TRS2004) - PC - Review

The sedate countryside passes by in a most leisurely way. Yes, there is time to admire the scenery, but there is also a mission, of sorts, at hand. The waybill demands that you collect your load and then deliver it in a timely fashion.


For fans of the railroad series by Auran, Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 offers a host of new features – such as the waybill, which is generated automatically – to enhance the game play of one of the premier railroad sims on the market.


This PC title is not for those craving intense action, but for those who want to sit back, enjoy a diverse amount of scenery and even work against a clock to accomplish some tasks, TRS 2004 is a nice little ticket.


Auran has upgraded the graphics engine for the 2004 edition of the series, which adds shading and highlights and results in some nice touches to the environments. There are, though, some instances where the environments do have a bit of a breakdown. The texturing on the tunnels is not so much rock as it is pixels that look blocky. And while the engines are bright and nicely detailed, some of the cargo cars look a little blocky as well.


The game also features a new streamlined interface. This makes getting into the game a relatively easy task. Everything is set up for ease of use.


Other new features include allocating a driver for each locomotive, interactive industries that demand and supply goods and use waybills which are automatically generated, support for animated loading and unloading of goods and resources, an unlimited number of save driver sessions, improved signaling with the inclusion of semaphores, a free-roaming camera, and access to third-party utilities.


The game comes with a small manual that explains the overall concept and controls of the title. There is also an online manual, which can be accessed, as well as a link to the online community, which can answer a lot of questions that players may have.


The game begins with a simple tutorial, which will introduce new players to the style and tempo of the game. The locomotive used is simple compared to some of the other engines used in this title (more than 50 in all). But this tutorial will give players a chance to see the British countryside while getting used to the waybills and how industries fit into the scenarios presented.


The game presents several modes of play: surveyor (in which you design routes, although this does act more like an world editor/design feature), driver, scenario, rail yard (you can examine the details of your collection of trains), and the Trainz Exchange (this is primarily a showcase for the latest content offered).


At its core, this game is about driving trains, making schedules and understanding the mechanics of the trade. The sound is not fancy, although it does an excellent job of rendering the sounds associated with a working railroad.


TRS 2004 has a few graphical stumbles, but the developers put in a free-roaming camera for a reason. This game does look good overall, and they want players to see it and experience it.


This is not an action-packed title, which will keep players on the edge of their seats, but it is a complete railroad experience. From designing routes to the intricacies of guiding a monster steam locomotive down the tracks, this title is on schedule to provide a solid simulation-gaming experience.


This game is rated for Everyone.



Gameplay: 7.8

The game moves smoothly once you get into a scenario. Remember that trains don’t stop on a dime, and there are a host of operations you must perform to keep your locomotive chugging along.


Graphics: 7.8

Some of the cars look a little blocky, but the scenery is – for the most part - well rendered and the animation is excellent.


Sound: 8

If you like the high, lonesome call of a train, or the peaceful sound of a locomotive working its way down a track, they you will undoubtedly like this. The sounds are faithfully rendered.


Difficulty: Easy

This is a game that is not hard to slip into and play. Some of the locomotives require much more work to drive than others, but the game will allow you to work through and learn the intricacies of the task.


Concept: 8

The developers did a very nice job in upgrading the graphics engine and streamlining the interface.


Multiplayer: N/A

While this is not truly a multiplayer game, this title does link to and have a terrific community base for fans to share thoughts and get questions answered.


Overall: 7.8

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 is a niche game. If you love railroads, model railroads or trains in general, then this is the game for you. This game captures the experience and flavor of working a train yard or driving a locomotive.


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