Graphically the game looks mostly top-notch. The interior of the ship's cabin are well detailed with high resolution textures and great quality models. You'll find all the small intricacies that you would in a real ship, switches, knobs, GPS, etc, which helps with immersion. The water and weather effects are also some great stuff as well. Though the ship's interior, and the ships them selves show some good quality, the game isn't 100% consistent at the moment. Some of the environmental models, such as buildings, the docks, and streets, are very low polygon and features low resolution textures. I'm hoping that these lacking elements in the visuals are just place holders until a later / final build. Audio wise I got no complaints as the sound effects are realistic with great background noises from the boat's motor and the sounds of the ocean itself keeping you company.
As far as gameplay goes, It's surprisingly easy to learn and to get adjusted to, as the main controls is "WASD". Some ships will feature the option of more intricate controls with the num pad, allowing you to manipulate each of the ship's engines individually. Even at it's early stage, the game does a good job at simulating what it's like to drive a ship...for better or worst. I say this because, though the game achieves good results as a simulation, due to what it's simulating it may make it an incompatible for some gamers. Unlike Euro Truck Simulator, where you have the micromanagement of traffic, following traffic laws, avoiding cars, etc, European Ship Simulator is mostly "set sails to full" then auto-pilot straight. There will be lulls where you are simply doing nothing but watching the waves as you wait for your ship to arrive in a straight line to your destination. For enthusiast of simulation games or sailing, this won't be an issue, as that demographic probably already understand this before jumping in, but for the average gamer who is just curious to this game, know that this is a simulation before it's a game.
Currently at the time of this impression (version 633), there isn't much in the way of options, graphics, or audio, and there is only 4 missions available with no linking campaign or side features. This is early access I do understand, but at the same time I think it's fair to let people know that in it's current state, it is the bare minimum.
Overall, European Ship Simulator shows a lot of promise, that I think will shape up to be some thing quite interesting. But currently, it does feel rather unfinished. If you are a simulation game or ship/boat enthusiast, it might be worth your cash to check it out, even in it's early stages, but for every one else, keep an eye on it, but wait for later versions or even it's final release.
- Mostly realistic and high quality visuals
- Feels realistic
- Varied amount of ships are enjoyable to cruise around in
- Shows promise of a bright future
- Visual quality not 100% consistent
- Feels very incomplete currently (ver: 633)
- Subject matter might not be as universally appearling as Euro Truck Simulator
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Steam Store page for European Ship Simulator