American Classics - Train Sim Pack
by Just Trains
In the words of the developers: 'This add-on was created to represent the New York Central equipment from the late 1930's to the 1950's. We felt that this was an exciting period that not only saw the boom of the railroad passenger service but, also the dawn of the diesel locomotive age.' Exciting is definitely the word we would use to describe this expansion pack.
American Classics includes five diesel locomotives and four steam locomotives. They are as follows:
In addition to these locomotives, there are the stylish and curvaceous Signature Trains passenger cars in the Empire State Express, 20th Century Limited pre-war and 20th Century Limited post-war liveries. You also get a bonus of six beautiful postcards that depict some of these fantastic locomotives.
Of course these new locomotives could initially cause a problem if you're not used to the layout of the cab, which covers most of us. Never fear, the manual does an excellent job of introducing you to the different cabs. Screenshots of each cab are included in the manual and all the different components are labelled. Even a complete novice like myself was driving these locomotives in no time at all thanks to these screenshots. Of course like in Train Sim everything is tooltipped but these screenshots made becoming familiar with these cabs far simpler.
Train Artisan have also made some nice touches with the interiors, on both the steam locomotive cabs and the passenger cars. A Cab Switcher utility has been included to enable you to change the flat cab view to a more realistic skewed view. This enables you to see where you're going far more than the usual view. The passenger cars have all been wonderfully recreated. Some even have passengers, (they're only 2D characters but at least it's better than looking at empty seats).
American Classics also comes with 14 activities. The manual fully explains how to access these activities on page 6 and the activities are explained in detail on pages 32-35. The activities have been well thought out. My favourite by far has to be the The Big Race. You can either choose a steam or a diesel locomotive, whatever you don't choose will be your opponent. The idea is to race from Washington to Baltimore while still observing the speed limits. Do you choose the faster steam locomotive and take on the extra stop or do you go for the slower diesel locomotive? The other activities are also good stuff and involve commuter runs and even a train robbery.
As the game fits snugly into Train Simulator, American Classics is also wonderful for deaf gamers and features the same tooltips, and text instructions for activities etc. The manual is something special though. It explains everything and is very easy to read. Each of the locomotives are given useful descriptions, hints and tips are given on the procedures for driving the steam and diesel locomotives and the keyboard controls are also given which is very helpful indeed.
American Classics is an absolute first rate expansion pack for Train Simulator. The locomotives, the activities and the general attention to detail is first class. To be honest I wouldn't claim to be a fan of American locomotives but even I have been really impressed by the quality of them and the different flavour they give to Train Simulator. This is a must purchase for Train Simulator enthusiasts.
Overall Game Rating: 9.3/10 Quite simply a superb expansion pack. American Classics is a must purchase for Train Simulator enthusiasts.
Deaf Gamers comment: Like Train Simulator, captions and text information have been well done and make the game enjoyable for deaf gamers. The manual is excellent.