Like most simulators out there, Construction Simulator is equal parts absurd, dull, and strangely engrossing.
It all begins on one stormy night. Seeking assistance when dealing with the damage wrought by the storm, your friend Hape gives you a call. Springing into action, who would have thought that it would lead you to a sudden and drastic career change? Not us, that’s for sure. And is Hape really your friend? He seems a bit formal to us.
But enough of Construction Simulator‘s attempts to somehow shove a narrative into the mix. You’re not considering this game for its story, are you? No; the real draw of Construction Simulator is going hands-on with a wide range of heavy machinery. And needless to say, it delivers.
From flatbed trucks to giant cranes, Construction Simulator lets you loose with the lot throughout its numerous campaigns. And the controls are pretty intuitive no matter what you jump into. When it comes to pretty much all machines with arms, for example, the left stick moves the arm up and down and side to side, while the right stick is used for extension and manipulating what’s at the end. Some machines have their own unique quirks to get used to, but within minutes of getting behind the wheel of something you feel pretty confident using it.
What might disappoint some is that despite being called a simulator, Construction Simulator doesn’t give you unbridled freedom. Across its campaigns you’ll find your hand very much held, guiding you from one task to another. It’s very prescriptive, even stipulating where you place your materials. Some won’t mind so much, but others will undoubtedly find it too restrictive.
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There are other issues, too. The camera can be a pain at times, for example, and it can be a little buggy. When it comes to visuals they can often be bland, yet sometimes you encounter a situation that’s picturesque. And some of the physics could do with some tweaking. We’ve never driven a flatbed truck in real life, admittedly, but we doubt they drift as easy as they do here. At least there are no penalties for, let’s say, wiping out a street sign. Or running over a civilian. In fact, you’ll go right through the latter as if they’re ghosts.
Construction Simulator is very much on the gamey side when it comes to simulators then, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you have a hankering for operating heavy machinery – moving heavy objects, digging and suchlike – you might want to consider picking this up. But just be aware that there’ll be some frustrations along the way, and also little in the way of freedom.
Construction Simulator is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC