Sponsored By: Discoursian
Estimate: 48 minutes, but we’ll round up to an hour.
Regular Scheduled Maintenance Review
About two years ago, give or take, I reviewed Car Mechanic Simulator, where I was promptly taken to task for reviewing the 2014 edition when 2015 had just come out.
Well, I’m always happy to entertain requests. I just make no promises about punctuality or timeliness.
”Oh, your A-Frame is falling out” Review
Annualized sequels have it tough. Almost nobody respects you when you’re an annual sequel. You get called names, like Cash Grab, and your parents’ work ethic is brought into question. And don’t get me started on how you get treated on social media. Sheesh. You’d think trying out a whole new engine was like changing underwear or something.
I’m sure there are developers that just crank out the same game every year with a new number on it, but I can’t think of any specific examples. Even that most maligned Madden game gets rebalanced and re-rostered every year, and sometimes EA even throws in some new mechanics to boot. An annual sequel is a labor of love that, occasionally, pays really well.
Look at Farming Simulator, for example. Every year they crank out another sequel with another dozen modes, graphical updates, vehicles, and maps. There’s value in that sequel – value that cost money to make – so I don’t mind buying a whole new standalone to experience it. I like this model more than, say, the Train Simulator model where every expansion is between $10 and $30, and some of them are standalone while others aren’t. Aside from being confusing, it opens the internet to ill-informed rage bursts about how outrageous it is for a game to have nearly $6000 worth of DLC on Steam, as if there’s a person walking the earth who could ever consume that much content. Note to non-sim people: Virtually nobody who cares about steam engines bothers about diesel trains. It’s like complaining that buying all of the food in the grocery store is too expensive. Nobody in the real world does that.
But what about Car Mechanic Simulator 2015? It adds a complexity. You can now manage more than one job at once, for example. Also, the game has turned into an RPG. You won’t be able to take a car out onto a test track until you’ve earned enough EXP, and you’re not even eligible to take certain jobs until you’ve spent some time grinding oil changes and brake-pad replacements.
It’s a good way to ease the player into the world of vehicular maintenance, because the cars are more complicated too. There are more types of cars, for one thing, so you’ll no longer be able to just head to the computer and buy any old swaybar. You have to buy the appropriate swaybar for the car you’re repairing, and sometimes you have to go to a specific vendor for the part in question. I like it in principle, but it caused me to waste a lot of in-game cash on oil filters and serpentine belts before I realized that the make and model of your customer actually mattered this time around.
The interface has been streamlined somewhat, while the vehicle complexity has gone up, making it more difficult to find the bad parts you need to replace. Mechanic Vision is still there, but there are more parts in the way to block your view of what might need replacing. In addition, inspecting the parts is gated by your abilities, Certain things can’t be diagnosed without tools that you can’t use until you’ve met the EXP requirements. Fortunately, the early repair jobs provide a list of what needs to be fixed. The downside is that, if you’re like me, you’re stuck tearing the car apart until you actually located the part you need to replace. Car Mechanic Simulator 2014 let you get away with a rudimentary knowledge of how an engine works, but in 2015 you’re expected to know where all the rubber bushings go.
Overall I’d say 2015 is a worthy successor to 2014, but if you don’t know your way around a car, maybe go back and play 2014 first.
I like the game, I do, but got my fill of Car Mechanic Simulator with the last version. I might putter around in the garage a bit more, but I can’t see myself putting much more time into it than I already have.
It’s a quality product, through, so if you have any interest in the back end of mundane vehicle sims you will be well served to check it out.
Is it the Dark Souls of Simulators?
Most simulators expect some prior knowledge of the subject matter to get you started. Some versions of Farming Simulator, for example, expect you to know what a given farm implement is based only on its catalog number.
2014 ramps the difficulty up slowly, and the tutorials walk you through everything to get you started. But 2015 assumes you already beat 2014 and just want to get into fixing some cars. The result is a game that’s much closer to affirmative on the Dark Souls scale, as new players will find themselves floundering a bit.
Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 doesn’t expect that depth of knowledge from the player, but it doesn’t help you much if you don’t know how to lubricate a zwieback.