Construction work is not fun. It is not a game. It is hard, grueling work that demands total physical commitment and full spatial awareness to avoid injury and do your job well. Not only that, but the down times are spent in hot warehouses with a gang of roughneck idiots or in fart-filled company trucks with racist loudmouths. Despite all of this, working construction can also be very fulfilling and rewarding. If only all of the poor elements could be removed, the job would be a fun experience.
Construction Simulator 2 eliminates the noise and the smells and the pains of construction work, and leaves behind just the process and the satisfaction of a job well done. The game provides an overall fun experience that also tends to frustrate and annoy, mostly due to poor angles and animations. There is a lot to work with, but a lot to be worked on as well.
To start, you create a character who runs your business, and go into a partnership with a local company who provides you with work space. The game is simple: take jobs from surrounding businesses and homes via contracts, and use your fleet of trucks and machines to get the jobs done. Each of these different vehicles serves a work function, and you operate them in both driving and working conditions.
The game makes it very simple to change between driving and work functions, and gives a lot of shortcuts that make more minute movements much easier to complete. That doesn’t mean that everything is simplified, however. There are plenty of work tasks that take some thought to complete. For example, piling up dirt with a backhoe can cause obstructions if you don’t spread it evenly as you dig.
There isn’t an overly large fleet of vehicles to start with, but there are plenty of different styles of work trucks that keep things fresh. It also takes some time to build up funds needed for each one, meaning you’ll spend a lot of time wanting. As you purchase new vehicles, more complex jobs will become available.
The jobs range from simple dig or transport jobs, all the way up to building houses and other structures. The simple jobs can provide quick funds while the more complex work is where the action is. There is a repetition of the jobs, however, and there are these little cutesy moments in them that when repeated start to grate on the mind. I can only bring the oil man a gross burrito so many times before I start to wish for a little variance. How about some burgers for once?
As you advance, you unlock new towns and jobs along the way. These towns are all designed around convenience for the player, which is merciful due to very poor vehicle controls. Trucks accelerate far too quickly, and if you are using the keyboard to navigate, it can be near impossible to keep things straight. Other vehicles on the road are poorly AI’d and can cause obstructions easily. Short stopping is a problem for many of them, and each collision or law broken costs you hard earned cash.
The story is flipped when performing work tasks. I am impressed with how smooth each work function is completed, and feel satisfied with it as a “simulator”, even as a very simplified one. Cranes operate like cranes, and the backhoe demands that you use it at the right angles. Things are complicated in a good way, and the work feels satisfying to complete.
The biggest issue of all is the game just feels slow at times. There are these lulls where it is much more attractive to stop playing than to start another job. In short bursts the game provides a lot of fun, but there is so much in between movement and slow action that bogs the fun down and makes it feel like a chore. It is fitting for construction simulation to feel tedious and difficult, but as a game it is a poor quality.
Graphically the game is basic but passable. Everything is realistic looking and the scenery is sparse but fitting for each area. The sounds of the game are just a series of machine and street noises, but it sounds fine. The vehicles themselves look beautiful and highly detailed. I appreciate the overall design of the game menus as well, as they are easy to navigate.
Construction Simulator 2
Construction Simulator 2 has some rough patches, but overall provides a fun and semi-realistic experience of one of the roughest and most grueling jobs out there. The game suffers from lulls in action, but when the action kicks in there is a lot to appreciate. A so-so affair throughout makes for a niche game for those looking for a casual experience.