I’ve never built a PC before. But now I’ve played PC Building Simulator 2, I feel like there’s no stopping me.
Simulation games have taken over the world and, quite frankly, they don’t get much more immersive than PC Building Simulator 2. You might argue that a second instalment wasn’t necessary when the original PC Building Simulator remains so beloved by many. But when it’s as good as this: why not? A little narrative hook explains the need for a sequel right from the off: your old shop burned down. Crap. And so you’re having to start from scratch.
Thankfully, things get up and running very quickly, and whether you’re a newcomer to the sim or an old hat, you’ll quickly find yourself settling into the flow of things. Sure, some things are brushed over and simplified – your entire shop can be fitted out overnight for just $500, for example. An absolute bargain. But when it comes to the meat of the game – that is, repairing, modding and building PCs – it’s very hands-on. And if you’ve never touched the insides of a PC before, a bit of time with PC Building Simulator 2 may well give you the confidence to tackle that next RAM upgrade yourself.
The amount of detail here is actually rather incredible. There’s a huge range of official brands on board, and you’ll be fitting NVIDIA RTX 3080s and Ryzen 5s into Corsair cases, with Thermal Grizzly paste on hand to help. It’s perhaps these real-world brands that help immerse you into PC Building Simulator 2‘s world. The fact you’ve got such a nice shop and workshop after losing everything is less believable, but once you’re stuck into repairing a PC, it’s a small detail that hardly matters. After all, it’s nice to have pleasant surroundings.
There are two ways to play PC Building Simulator 2. There’s Career Mode, which we’ll talk about in more detail in a moment, and Free Build mode. Free Build gives you access to over 1,200 components with your only goal to “build your dream PC”. You don’t need to worry about money and profit here: simply put together a beast of a PC and make sure it works. Go all out with RGB lighting, watercooling, as much RAM as your motherboard can hold – the works. And with the game taking component compatibility into account with everything being designed to scale, Free Build mode could feasibly be used to test out a real-world upgrade before you tinker with your actual PC in real life.
But the real timesink of PC Building Simulator 2 is of course Career Mode, where you’re thrown head-first into selling and repairing PCs as your full-time job. You’ll be eased in gently, with simple jobs at first: spray-paint a case (more fun than it has any right to be), or swap out a faulty SDD. All jobs come to you via email, and so you’ll need to check your own PC daily to ensure you’re picking up jobs as they come in. The emails will tell you everything you need to know, and so you’ll need to pay attention to the job description. Do you need to buy a replacement component? What colour paint will you need to use? Early on, you’ll be guided through each step by the game, but it won’t be long until you’re on your own. And those small details are important.
The nature of how jobs come into PC Building Simulator 2, then, makes for a very satisfying gameplay loop. Once you accept a job, it’ll take a day for the PC to arrive with you. But that gives you time to order any relevant parts. Complete your jobs from the day before, collect your payment via email, and check out for the day. Rinse and repeat. It sounds repetitive, but because every job you receive is different, it never gets tedious. Well, as long as the idea of tinkering with PC components appeals to you, anyway.
The repair work isn’t all you have to contend with in PC Building Simulator, of course. Not only do you have a workshop, but you also have a store front to maintain. Here, you’ll find yourself buying broken PCs at a discounted rate, diagnosing them and fixing them up. The best thing about this is it can be done at your own pace. It’s a great source of income – the key to any successful business – but you don’t need to worry about deadlines as you do when working on a client’s machine. Take a few days to repair one if you need. When it’s ready, pop it in your shop, set the price, and wait for it to sell.
What ties the whole package together is an absolutely fantastic presentation. Cutting-edge graphics hardly matter when you’re only seeing the inside of a store and workshop, but everything is realistic enough that it just works. Heading to your PC or tablet, you can navigate to emails, an online store, and plenty of other tools you’ll need to do your job. Perhaps my favourite function, though, is the in-built music app on your tablet. Access the game’s own soundtrack (or that of the first PCBS), pull music files from your own PC, or listen to any one of a huge selection of internet radio stations. My choice? Repairing PCs to the sound of 90s bangers. Incredible.
PC Building Simulator 2 sets a new benchmark for simulation games. The attention to detail, the ease of play, the presentation – everything is second to none, and we can’t get enough. Even if you’ve never stared into the insides of a PC before, if you’re intrigued by the idea of tinkering with components, you owe it to yourself to give it a go. Just be sure to set yourself plenty of time aside, because you won’t be able to drag yourself away.