Genre: Simulator, Driving
Developer: Red Dot Games
Publisher: Playway S.A.
Released Date: July 27, 2017
Edited by Eden
This successor to the popular Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 was released to the awaiting fanbase in late July/early August 2017 and it quickly became obvious something had gone very very wrong. To say the game released to the public in a buggy state would have been very kind. Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 was quite simply unplayable.
How did it go so wrong then? Well, for one thing, Red Dot Games added far too many new features based on the fan base’s requests. Secondly, when it came to testing these new modules the developers tested them individually – as opposed to testing the game in its complete state. Sadly once compiled into a full game, there was a flood of bugs, glitches, and crashes which were not apparent until that time.
Red Dot, while unprepared for what was coming i.e. a torrent of bug reports and recriminations from irate and angry players, did the only responsible and honorable thing – they apologized profusely to the fans and quickly went about the task of getting the game to a playable state. What followed was a marathon of bug hunting and eradication at almost frantic speed and within a couple of months, Red Dot had released 36 patches and the game was largely patched and at least running for most people.
It is far from any game that could have survived such a tumultuous release. It is only due to one of the more loyal fan-bases and the lack of any real competition that Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 has gone on to become quite successful.
The humble and timely reaction by the developers also helped smooth things over, even though the game should never have released in the state it was. It is good to see the fans respond favorably to a developer taking responsibility for their missteps and moving to fix it. Red Dot also added free content as a thank you to the fan base for being patient with them while they cleaned up after their mistakes. Still, I have to tip my hat to one of the most loyal, forgiving and faithful groups of fans out there.
So is the game now perfect? Not really, (is any game?) but it is getting there inch by inch. There are still some issues from the newly added modules but they are rare. In other words, the game is getting there. The release day should simply have been an Early Access release or delayed a few months and everything would’ve been fine.
Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 is enriched by the new features. It has added an RPG like feel to the game and if you can deal with the grind of getting your shop off the ground (maybe my one big complaint) it’s quite enjoyable.
Once you unlock the new features you see how much it has changed the game. Especially cool is the new barn finding feature where you travel out and find hidden treasures in remote barns, which you then bring home and restore or strip for parts. It brings some of the feeling of the car restoration TV shows to the game. There are also new tracks for you to test and race around on once you have restored the cars.
The realism and ambiance has been pushed to new heights as has the sound and visual quality. The game is quite stunning and the atmosphere is even better than it used to be. The mechanic’s shop is small and grimy in the beginning but the shop can be outfitted and expanded into a large busy 3-lift shop as you unlock these features and upgrade your shop. There is even a DLC which adds multiple customizations to your shop.
It seems that Red Dot Games wanted to add a lot more RPG feel to the game and by adding plenty of new locations, they are adding a new depth to the game. It may not be to the point of completing simulating the popular TV shows where barn finds are restored to tricked-out hot rods, but there’s enough to get a close feel for it. Add some more custom options and easier full engine swaps and fans will be ecstatic.
There has been some critique of the driving physics – but this is not a racing game, nor has anyone ever claimed it was, this is car mechanic simulator so that particular critique seems a little out of place.
There has also been a fair amount of criticism of the new circular interface. Now this will likely split people into two camps. My experience was that soon as I started working with the new UI instead of fighting it and lamenting the loss of my old interface (CMS2015) the new one was actually faster; it just takes a little bit getting used to. Once mastered, however, plenty of the tasks are much more fluid and fast than in the old user interface.
Already plenty of DLC with famous brand models have been added and lots of cars and tracks are available in the steam workshop. While there are, still some loading time issues, it is worth waiting for and once you start fixing the cars and expanding the business, they are forgotten or at least they were for me. The usual tool sounds have been expanded with ambient sound themes and there is a nice playlist of music you can choose from in the shop radio that adds enough to enrich the atmosphere a bit more.
It has been a long bumpy road – Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 while not perfect is once again a zen-like experience but even though the game has been patched extensively, it is, if not entirely bugfree then as close as any game gets these days. Once you get all the new features unlocked such as the barn-finds and rescuing classic cars, etc the game shines and whatever few issues I have, are forgotten.
With the bugs eradicated the game has finally become not just a worthy successor but has surpassed the previous version. The added new features combine with the old into a fun and varied experience, I especially enjoyed restoring barn-finds to their former glory. It isn’t hard to immerse oneself in the game and lose endless hours fixing car after car. The only real con I found was that it was a grind to unlock the more exciting features and get to the real fun in the early stages.
It may have been a long road but after one year of fixing, tweaking and adding features and famous car brands, this game has finally become the experience it was meant to be. It’s now bigger and better than its predecessor. I have to applaud Red Dot Games and PlayWay for sticking with the game and not only fixing it but also improving on it beyond the original premise.
- Graphics improved a lot over the last version
- New features add depth to the game
- Grindy in the beginning
- Loading times
Adarkchylde gives Car mechanic Simulator 2018 a 9 of out 10 (90)
I can wholeheartedly recommend this game in its current state, especially to car-lovers and gearheads. With the price being only $19.99, I have no issue at all recommending it to anyone who loves a relaxing and zen-like gaming experience.