I have taken a BMW M3 round the Nürburgring, a Toro Rosso F1 car round Silverstone, so the next logical racing simulator step? Trucks! I am talking about FIA European Truck Racing Championship, which was recently launched on the PS4 and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy. Time to see if racing trucks makes a good choice for another racing simulator.
Brought to us by BIGBEN and N-Racing, this racing simulator steps outside of the super-fast lane and into the heavier, limited to 160KPH lane. This game will put your driving skills to the test in the European Truck Racing Championship series, as well as a made-up World Series Tour.
This game has 45 race manufactures and 20 official teams on offer, and will have races across 7 ETRC circuits as well as 6 iconic circuits from across the globe. The trucks and circuits are extremely detailed, including a great in cab view for each truck. The visuals for this game are pretty good. A range of weather conditions add to the racing challenge but look fantastic as well.
To start, the game pushes you through your licenses, which isn’t skippable before you can start your truck racing career. This isn’t a bad thing, as driving one of these trucks is certainly a new experience. Learning the huge amount of breaking distances these trucks need to slow, or how easily these trucks spin out on you when accelerating are lessons you need to learn before racing. Plus, there are some added mechanics which you don’t have to worry about in other racing simulators.
You have the choice of taking part in the actual European racing Championships across their racing series, or to take part in a World Series. The main difference between the two is the type of trucks you will be racing. Your two options are a faster truck or a more agile one, but overall they feel pretty similar when it comes down to the racing.
After you get your license sorted it is time to get on with your career in truck racing. This takes on the form of a racing calendar, which is filled with practice events to learn the tracks and actual race weekends. As you progress you will get offered racing contracts with different teams, with different demands and contract lengths on them. Weekend contracts are common earlier on, but you are looking for a full season contract. Once you have one of these the game opens up a bit more, allowing for truck upgrades and a full season of racing.
Once you get onto the track it is a whole new experience compared to other racing simulators. Contact is pretty much expected when trying to get these machines round corners. 160KPH is the top speed you will be hitting, and you need to really slow down before any corners. You will also need to balance cooling your breaks with an onboard water tank just like the real world. With no weight over the back wheels you have to control the acceleration, otherwise you will find yourself spinning very quickly.
What I really liked was that your fellow AI racers who you share the track with seem to be equally learning the ropes as you are. This means the races are full of excitement and fun. Instead of all racers being perfect and following the racing line, you get drivers going off the track at the corners and spinning out just as often as you.
Something you have to understand is that races can sometimes feel like they are dragging out. Most races take close to 30 minutes even though you are only completing 12 laps, and if you get out in front early on then it is a very quiet race for you. But to be fair, when isn’t it in any racing game.
The game has a few elements that could have done with a bit more attention to detail though. There is the odd message from what I assume is your engineer or pit wall team that is just on repeat with only a few lines. You never get to actually see any of the racers faces, which is a shame considering they are official racers. Damage is displayed by cracks appearing in your windscreen which seems pretty basic.
FIA European Truck Racing Championship does a fantastic job of bringing the fun of truck racing to consoles. Realistic looking trucks, varied weather conditions and interesting racing makes this a great racing simulator. There are a few negatives in this game, but screeching tires and overheating brakes as you race your 5.5-ton truck towards a hairpin corner quickly make up for them. Overall this is a different racing simulator, but one I enjoyed and would recommend people give a chance.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*