Railway Empire 2 review |
Railway Empire 2 reminds me of the good old days. Where simulation games put you at the helm of a starting company, and where you need to bring that same company up to par with the current competition, and then make them eat your dust… Or railways in this regard.
Welcome! This is Railway Empire 2. Brought to us by Gaming Minds Studios and released by Kalypso Media. This next installment brings us back into the ‘olden’ days, with a set of improvements that build upon the foundation set by Railway Empire 1. If you were a fan of that one you’ll probably be wanting to dig into this one as soon as possible, but is it actually worth it? Or are you better off staying with the first one? Let’s quickly find out in this review of… Railway Empire 2! Choo choo!
|Developer||Gaming Mind Studios|
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Music| If there’s one aspect that I absolutely adored and loved in Railway Empire 2, then I got to tip my top hat towards the people who directed the music and ambiance in this game. It is soothing and relaxing at the same time, while perfectly attuned to the times that the game is set in. It brings out that ‘olde tyme’ feeling perfect. Even more, the ambiance that the audio department just poured into it just resonates perfectly with my inner steam engine. Great job guys!
- Visuals| Sadly enough, where the audio part was truly worthwhile, the visual department instantly breaks down some of the experiences. Sure, you could say that the game has to render many details. But that just doesn’t cut it in my books. We’re 2023, and having graphics that sometimes resemble a game that came out of 2008? I could get myself to love it if that was the precipice of the game, like some others that came before it. But it isn’t, and thus loses the right to justify blurry backdrops and seeing the same tree model repeatedly. What they did do good, was the steam visual, but that doesn’t give Railway Empire 2 the allowance to be in the ‘what we liked’ section.
- Tutorial vs Readable| The tutorial, while decent, still lacks a lot of crucial information. Sure it quickly goes over the basics like how to build things. But… The real deep details? They’re not there, at all. If you really want detailed information, you’ll have to go into the in-game Wikipedia. Unfortunately, this isn’t what I was hoping to find in a simulation game. Sure, I can understand some deep-dive info, but the amount of reading that this game forces up on you if you really want to understand every minute detail is just crazy. There’s so much stuff to read within this wiki that if you really want a tiny novel? You’re better off just reading a real book because this thing is just crazy.
- Campaign| Railway Empire 2 offers you a couple of campaign missions. These give you set number of objectives that you need to get. Completed them? Good. The next set will unlock for you to chase after. This… Really doesn’t feel like a campaign to me. Sure, you get a bit of story now and then. But a true campaign? Is not what I would call this. Rather, I would call them time trials for you to beat and improve your knowledge. And that was what really struck me as a missed opportunity. A simulation game that had a real story rather than just some bits there and some scraps over yonder would’ve been so cool to experience. But, alas… Nothing of the sort. Just the same thing, spread across a couple of ‘missions’.
- Game modes| Other than the campaign, Railway Empire 2 offers a few extra modes. There are your scenarios, where you got to complete the set objective, with some things already been put into place. I call them ‘campaign +’ missions. Then you’ve got your typical Sandbox mode. Where the world if your oyster and you fill that world in just the way that you like it. And finally, the game also comes equipped with a multiplayer mode. However, I have to admit that I did not get an opportunity to test this one out myself. So I cannot pass judgment on this one. So as you can see, there are a few extras for you to dig your claws into if the campaign mode doesn’t suit your liking.
What we Disliked
- Buggy| Ho boy, I wish that I wouldn’t have to write this part but… Believe me, the game isn’t in the best of states, as of writing this review. There’s literally a bug in every corner of the room. One of the most annoying ones that I experienced was the ‘incomplete track’ bugs. Let me explain. If you want to set up your railroad, you need 2 points of destination, aka your stations. You use a quick-snap tool that scans the terrain and offers you the quickest railroad that could connect you from point A to point B. If there’s an obstacle, the UI will prompt you with a red bar along the line, and then you’ll have to figure out a way to remove the blocking parts. When you’re done creating your custom line, and it hooks up perfectly, you can cash in the plan and continue on linking the railroad together by putting a train on its tracks. Or at least, that would be the case if it weren’t for the bug that ruins this all. Namely, the incomplete track bug. You’ll notice this happening when you can select your Point A or Point B station, but can’t find the station on your map to link the railway together in the planning section. That means that somewhere along the line, the track isn’t complete, or at least, the game doesn’t register it as complete. The only way around it? Delete both stations and do everything over… Again. Yeah, I’m sorry… But excuse me? I didn’t just fiddle around with some track markers for over 15 minutes, to now hear that it doesn’t recognize my railway!
Another bug that I experienced (this time more hilarious though) were the pedestrians just ‘yeeting’ themselves through the terrain. If you zoom in on a town, you’ll see the townsfolk. This gives the town more of that ‘being alive’ feeling. Though that last part might be put into question after you notice that often times the carriages on the roads just ‘fall through’ the map at break-neck speeds. Come on guys… At least put a little effort into bringing the game out in an orderly fashion.
- Camera| Aah, the classic ‘camera is your foe’ schtick. It’s happening so often lately, that I wonder if it’s becoming more of an automated feature in games rather than anything else. Let me explain. You have your basic camera controls. Up, down, left, right, zoom in & zoom out. Which would serve you perfectly, weren’t it for the gosh darned oversensitive zoomed-in flailing about? The camera acts like a true gentleman the further out it goes, but once zoomed in it boogies around more than Duff-man after a drinking binge. And this isn’t even an action game.
How long to beat the story | 10+ hours.
How long to achieve 1000G | 20+ hours.
You’ll love this game if you like these | Railway Empire 1
Honestly, I was hoping for this one to really draw me in since I like me some simulation games. But alas, where I was hoping to hop on the hype train for Railway Empire 2, I quickly came to realize that my hopes weren’t going to be answered. The buggy state that the game is in really doused the flame that was stoking my coals. I’m sure a set of patches will solve most of the issues but for me? The train already left the station.
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