On June 13, the successor of the bus simulation “Bus Simulator 16” appeared in the current version of the year 2018. In how far the new simulator differs from its predecessor, you will learn in this article.
Compared to the previous version from 2016, some new features have been integrated into the game and old bugs have been eliminated. At the start of the game we are asked to create a new company and a character, which is very quick and easy. In character creation, we can choose from a female and a male driver, which we equip with our favorite work clothes. Here, the developer leaves us free to choose from the colors of the clothing and also the details of our character. Thus, the individual garments, the skin and hair color can be determined.
Once we have created our character, we are led into a learning program, which is told to us by a nice assistant. Our assistant explains what we have to consider and also tells us some minor information to get closer to us and to get us into the world of the bus simulator. In the first learning mission, we learn how to control the bus, how to keep the timetable according to the timetable and how to sell tickets to our passengers. Once we have completed the learning mission, we are still very close to the menu explained and we already have room to make their own decisions.
The Bus Simulator 18 challenges us with constantly changing tasks that we have to fulfill in order to unlock more buses or stops on the map and thus expand our coverage area. Really well done here is the Auflevelfunktion. The more often we approach stops, the higher each stop reached in the level and more passengers are there in the game to ride with us. Also, our driving style is evaluated. If we reach our breakpoints punctually, bravely put the turn signal on and off the stops, blink on intersections, this is considered positive and receive a points bonus. If we drive recklessly, are flashed by fast driving, ramming cars, driving fast over bumps and potholes, this has a negative effect on our drivers’ rating and will be punished with fines. Retaining this driving style can lead to the bankruptcy of your own business.
But let’s get back to the good side, if you stick to the rules and have enough money. Here, the Bus Simulator 18 offers the opportunity to expand its business with new employees, who then drive the map on their own bus on the previously created lines and generate money. Of course, the bus must first be bought for our employees. Here we have eight original licensed buses from Mercedes-Benz, Setra, MAN and IVECO available. If the eight vehicles are not enough, the developer allows the player to create their own vehicles. However, this is not just limited to the vehicles, but extends to cards and paint finishes. Here, the player was thus created the opportunity, using the Unreal Engine to bring their own content in the game. This was criticized in the first part of the game series and the developers took on the challenge. To create your own content, it requires the Unreal Engine 4, as well as the specially developed modding kit, which you only get when you buy the game.
The AI in the game has become a lot smarter, but it still weakens at some intersections and does not drive, even though the road ahead is clear. This causes congestion in some places, but this is not really a negative aspect, as the AI realizes after a few seconds that it can drive. This could be considered negative, but we find that this increases the realism factor of a crowded street in city traffic. If the roads were always empty or you could always drive, that would certainly not be fun in the long run. So we do not see that too critically.
Graphically, the developers have done a very good job. The graphics are sharp, the buses look very good and the atmosphere was well implemented by the different times of the day and the weather. In the weather, we criticize the rain a bit. We miss the raindrops on our windows here. Here and there is a drop of drops to recognize, but it would have been nice if the rain is a little better. On the other hand, the evening twilight is well done, where the sun dazzles us. This is reinforced by rain wet roads. Here you have to look a little more concentrated on the road, as the sun sometimes so strong dazzles that you do not see pedestrians or bumps in time. Here is the utmost caution, so there is no accident.
There are already some bus simulations on the PC, these have been fixed on the realism factor, but offered no way to run your own company in multiplayer with other players. This should change with the new offshoot of the bus simulator. The Stillalive Studios took up the task and expanded the simulation with a fairly well functioning multiplayer mode.
In multiplayer mode, a player sets up a new company to which more players can join. Here, the bus simulator enables a common structure of the company, whereby the owner manages the finances and creates new lines and assigns them to the teammates. When this happens, players travel together on the same city map and can see each other in-game and interact with each other. So one can decide to ride in the bus of another player, to control the passengers or simply to tease the driver by closing the doors from the outside. In our test, this worked quite solid and there was no dropouts during the synchronization among the players. Unfortunately, the multiplayer mode is limited to just four players, which may mean that you do not see your teammates too often if the lines created are too big or too far apart. That’s not too bad now, but we’d be happy if the developers would fix this on more players through a patch. This would certainly benefit the hobby entrepreneurs.
There is basically nothing more to say about the multiplayer mode. It works very well, it allows the players to build the company together and is fun.
Overall, the Bus Simulator 18 is a pretty interesting simulation, which unfortunately has no realistic map, but rather relies on a specially designed, fictitious map. However, this does not detract from the game if you want to have a current bus simulation. There are minor flaws here and there, but Astragon assures us that the flaws are known and fixed by future patches.
The simulator is controlled via the keyboard and mouse, a connected gamepad or steering wheel. All controls are working properly. The keyboard and mouse controls are actually the unusual way to play such a game, but we’ve found this to work pretty well. While steering, we do not notice jerky movements on the road, everything is brought pleasantly gentle by pressing the button on the road. Of course, a steering wheel is ideal for steering. To make the most of a steering wheel, the game allows manual adjustment of each function in the control menu. Here you can assign a single function to each individual key or assign each function to any key. To ensure everyone gets their personal fun, this has been taken care of.
If you are interested in driving a bus and would like to set up your own company in multiplayer mode with your friends, Bus Simulator 18 is a good choice. There are minor bugs here and there that do not negatively impact the gameplay experience. We can safely recommend the game, we enjoyed it and recommend buying it.