Customer Review

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Trucking Game with Limitations, January 30, 2010
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: 18 Wheels of Steel : American Long Haul - PC (Video Game)
There are probably two types of people out there interested in this game: people who've played one of the 18 Wheels series and people who haven't.

If you have played on of these games, skip down a bit.

If you haven't, depending on what sort of simulations you're in to, this game may give you hours of enjoyment or boredom.

The basic tack of the game is, as you'd expect, you get some money, an entry-level rig and a lack of any reputation. Your goal is to grab loads to haul and drive them across the US and to some extent Canada and Mexico. As you haul loads, you'll make more money for upgrades for your rig (or a whole new rig) and you'll gain a reputation. Your success and your reputation lead to your ability to hire on other drivers and expand your trucking empire.

To counteract your success, you'll have to deal with long (and in some cases boring) hauls, police (checking speed, general driving rules, etc), and to some extent, the competition of your fellow truckers. There's also traffic on the roads including other trucks. There used to be a bug in older versions that made traffic hazardous (cars would just randomly hit the brakes like they were trying to cause an accident) but that's gone and traffic will even yield to your turn signal. But, to compensate for this, the devs decided to throw in something else to cause you grief. If you so much as stop one inch beyond the line at a stop light, you'll be flagged as having run a red light (a fine worth up to $9000 in the game!). This and people driving in obvious violation of the law (well, at least in the states I've driven) where they're making right turns across one or more lanes of traffic (thus colliding with you and getting you in trouble with the law again) can mean you'll be dishing out a lot to pay violations. Of course, the silver lining is that you only really pay for violations if you pass within a certain distance of a parked cop car.

The graphics are passable but dated. The graphic engine won't show up on a video games award show any time soon. Cities will have some hints at their landmarks and the like but there is no real attempt to map out the city in anyway. The cities are just small hubs where you'll find services and companies to grab loads from. That said, it does what it needs to do and the rigs themselves are pretty detailed. There are several cameras you can use to check your rig out while driving plus a great top-down cam that's been in the games of the series for a while and for good reason...nothing beats using that to hitch and line up trailers. Even so, the camera can be limited (you can only zoom out so far) and with a long enough (double) trailer, you can't really see beyond about half way down the second trailer. You'll have to rely on mirrors and other camera angles to get that right.

The driving is okay but has the same limitations as any other driving game. Ideally, you'll want to use a wheel or joystick (or gamepad). I don't have any of those so I used the keyboard. The keyboard works but driving can be challenging at times given the lack of a way to "finesse" turns and the like. Even so, you'll largely just be more worried about getting from point A to point B. There are short cuts in places but you're largely constricted to a couple of set highways to get from city to city. Still, you've got to manage your speed (cops), your fuel (only so many gas stations), and your route (watch for those short cuts) so there are things to keep you busy even on a long haul.

Overall, the game can be fun but it's a very specific fun. I personally like business sims and love the idea of running and managing logistics and just trucking loads across America. If you're looking for a fast-paced game or a complicated economic sim, this is not the game for you. But, if you wanted to strap yourself into a rig and drive around the country hauling loads, this is the game for you. And, it also helps that the price is nice and low. This version essentially rolls up all the various updates and changes made throughout the 18 Wheels series so you're getting the best version of the simulation (with the business side as well as the rigs and some of the bug fixes).

Previous 18 Wheels Owners (Start here)

For those of you that have tried an 18 Wheels game before you should know the drill by now. The games are more of a minor evolution than a revolution as you go from game to game. At this point, though, in the series, you're getting all the enhancements that have come down the pike (the more complicated business sim, the fix for the traffic issue, the expanded map with all of North America, etc.). At the same time, if you got Haulin', you likely got most of this anyway.

So, if you haven't updated your original 18 Wheels (across america?) game, you should probably just grab this sucker (it's nice and cheap anyway) and get up to date.

If you got Haulin or are like me and got every version in the series so far, this isn't going to be pushing the envelope for you at all. Still, the map seems to be a bit different and I noticed at least one thing that was fixed (that traffic bug...where cars used to just hit the brakes all the time) and, as I mentioned, it's dirt cheap (at least right now @9.99), it might be worth the pick up just to get some of those minor enhancements. It's your money so you'll know the best approach.

All in all, I like the series despite it's issues. I, like a lot of other fans, keep holding out for that graphics upgrade and some more sophisticated aspects to the business part (and maybe an autopilot for those times when you really just don't want to do that cross-country run again). Maybe one day...
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 16, 2010 11:27:49 AM PST
Mike says:
Cars still turn all-of-a-sudden when your passing them causing you to crash. This was a bug in Haulin as well as the older ones also.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2010 11:47:55 PM PST
Grieger says:
Really? Weird, I didn't get any of that (in this version...I know about that one from Haulin). Either I lucked out or there's some condition that needs to be met...Were you running an upgraded rig or speeding a lot?
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