STAFF REVIEW of Train Sim World 4 (Xbox One)


Tuesday, February 20, 2024.
by Brent Roberts

Train Sim World 4 Box art All aboard once again for the pinnacle of train simulation experience, Train Sim World 4. With all kinds of simulation games appearing almost monthly, the growing trend that could be argued is that a lot of these entries are just cash grabs. Simple programming to get something easy out there where you can charge a few dollars, and that pretty much is it. Dovetail though has engineered this latest release to provide the most realistic train simulation on any platform. So, is Train Sim World 4 another quick cash out copy, or is it the pinnacle of train simulation games? Get your tickets ready because we're about to go for a ride.

When it comes to a train simulation game you need trains... lots and lots of trains. Throughout the years Dovetail has been modeling and providing numerous, highly detailed trains for you to enjoy, and this release is no different. With a focus for more inclusion of steam engines, Dovetail Games decided that this release would be the time to drop the most legendary steam engine of them all, The Flying Scotsman. A pure icon of legendary trains, this Flying Scotsman will test your nerves as you go through the in-depth process of operating this masterpiece.


This latest addition though isn't the only thing Dovetail Games has up its sleeve. If you purchased DLC from Train Sim World 2 or 3, that content will automatically be included in Train Sim World 4. This is a feature that I would love to see incorporated in other games as it truly showcases that the developer wants you to "own" your content. Speaking of content, there's a ton of it at your fingertips.

Starting your journey off, Train Sim World 4 gives you the ability to go into the training center. You don't have to do this, but with Train Sim World 4 not holding your hands, hunting and pecking for the correct order of things will rapidly become the source of tremendous frustration. These are incredibly detailed engines so don't expect just press 'A' to go and 'B' to brake. The training center is very thorough and will help you quickly become used to the various train functions, and the order in which things must be activated and operated to ensure proper function. This also applies to the steam engine trains that require some more work in order to make sure things run smoothly.


After you have passed the tutorial and are somewhat familiar with the mechanics of connecting and unhooking cars for transport, passenger pick up and drop off, switching tracks, and more, you're now on your way to a tremendous amount of railroad content, and when I say tremendous amount of content, it really is staggering. From the main menu you can select My Profile and that will load up your trains, routes, and route tasks. In Train Sim World 4 there are 385 total route tasks alone. The number of tracks as well only naturally increases when you factor in Train Sim World 2 and 3 content can also be used in this game. For a sim game, Dovetail Games has literally gone the extra mile to provide an overwhelming wealth of content that can be accessed from day one.

Dovetail Games also brings you what they call "guided experiences" within the game type Rail Journeys. Here you can undergo various tasks and scenarios that will teach you how to operate other trains within the game. These journeys provide a fun way of experiencing multiple types of trains by breaking them up into several chapters, but also grade you on your performance. I'll touch more about that later.

The content though continues with the store. There are content packs that range from $5.39 to $35.99 and even lines, locomotives, and Routes for sale. Should you also decide to jump right in, pick a train and start working away on the 1,360 services you will have to do across your train collections. If you think that adding some more "sim" to your simulation experience, the scenarios offer some enjoyable variants to experience. There's only 31 in total but hopefully this leaves tremendous room for expansion. It really isn't like you're hurting for content to play.


The content itself though is a step up from Train Sim World 3, but nothing that would be regarded as dynamic until you start talking about the train models themselves. The focus is on the trains, and Dovetail Games shows you why they are some of the best in the business. The detail of the cabins, the sounds of the switches, brakes, hydraulics, and even wheel spin add such an audio and visual sensory experience that these tremendously massive metal beasts can provide. The cabins and trains themselves are replicated with the utmost attention to detail.

Throughout the game, however, you're tasked with making sure you stay on schedule, park the train as close to the marker as you can, and then watch your speed. That last part is quite frankly one of the worst. You'll have sections where you'll be flying along at 80mph and then within moments you have to slam on the brakes and drop the speed down to 25mph. Needless to say you also get penalized if you drive over the speed limit. All of these factors into your overall grade, so it will boil down to managing your speed and stopping point above all else. Oh, and if you think "I'll just deal with the penalty and get there 10 minutes early", just remember that the tracks aren't always straight. Taking a 200-ton piece of steel and engineering to 80mph, making a sharp turn and expect to come out the other side will quickly have you wondering what other wrong life choices you made before you derail the train and go soaring off the tracks.

The only drawbacks are felt within the scenery and the online aspect of the game. The Creators Club allows you to customize your train through livery designs and you can unlock new logos and design elements through completing route challenges, but it would have been nice to offer some type of head-to-head challenge or something that would be far more engaging. Despite a few shortcomings with the graphics and the online content, Train Sim World 4 is a top tier simulator that exemplifies what it means to be a true simulation game. Recreating the experience down to the finest small detail should be the goal of any great sim game, and Train Sim World 4 by Dovetail Games is the definitive train experience.

**Train Sim World 4 was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**




Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.5 / 10

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