Train Simulator 2015, is the latest of the yearly updates that seem to have become the norm from this developer (Dovetail Games).
Not a great deal has changed from TS2014. The similarity is OK, because if you already owned 2014, then this is a free upgrade, although I’d prefer to have a choice in the matter when it comes to upgrades. With this series, the upgrade is compulsory.
Train Simulator 2015 Review
The most noticeable difference between this and the 2014 edition is the user interface, which is completely overhaul again. I can’t say that the new interface is really an improvement. In fact found it somewhat counter-intuitive and clumsy.
There also seems to be a push from the developer towards “career” and “quick drive” scenarios, while “standard” and “free roam” scenarios seem to be getting deprecate.
This is something I’m not happy about, since from the point of view of a rail enthusiast, the “standard” and “free roam” scenarios offered the best options for simply enjoying a simulation platform freely, without any constraints or gaming themes.
A “standard” scenario is one where you have to follow a dispatcher and signals, in order to avoid conflicts with other traffic, and is quite a realistic and immersive experience.
The “free roam” scenario is one where only your train is active on a route but where you can arrange for a few switches to be set against the main route and place static trains anywhere.
Free roam is the only scenario type where you have full manual control, and where you can swap which train you are driving during the scenario.
This makes the free roam scenario very good for yard activities, testing, experimenting and exploring without interruption, which to my mind is essential in a train simulator. So naturally as a rail enthusiast, as opposed to a “gamer”, I am concerned when these type of scenarios are deprecated in favor of “career” and “quick drive”
The “career scenario” is basically a racing option, that I find utterly mindless. The alternative, “Quick Dive”, although avoiding the gaming aspect, unfortunately does not allow points to be preconfigured or changed during the simulation, or for any other flexibility, making for a very uneventful pre-programmed run from A to B. Fortunately, Career scenarios can easily made to work like standard ones, and “free roam”
scenarios still work (albeit not was well as they used to). So for now, things are manageable, but as always, one wonders where they are heading in the future.
Apart from the interface changes
There are very few changes to the simulation experience. The graphics have been improved and optimist somewhat, yet still remain somewhat dated. This is partly due to the old game engine used, but also due to the large amount of legacy graphics from earlier routes. Newer routes have much better graphics, with improved water, buildings and people. For the techie / developer crowd, a few new features have been add to the editors.
But as I said, the only real difference in the simulation today, compared to that of last year, is access to the new official DLC that has continued to appear on Steam throughout 2014, such as the very high quality GWR 14xx loco add-on (with AutoCar) from Victory Works.
You can also still use third party add-ons, and for that I would point you to Just Trains website who have recently produced some excellent add-ons such as the Class 20 and the Clan Class locomotives add-ons. However, be warn. Such third party add-ons will not work with the Steam Workshop (which is the platform for sharing content with other players).
So, in summary, my experience of TS2015 is pretty much the same as TS2014, with the addition of the opportunity to buy new DLC. If you already own 2014, then the upgrade to 2015 is automatic; but if you’re new to the series then I would definitely recommend this purchase to any one who likes locomotives…especially British Steam and early Diesel locomotives.
Watch out though, because the quality of DLC is varied and it can be expensive.
Wait for the sales and you can pile up a lot of quality DLC for very little!
We gave Train Simulator 2015 Review