This title was reviewed on PS4, but is also available on Xbox One. The base game was originally released on Steam.
The genre of Simulators has always been an odd one. While racing sims like Gran Turismo and F1 have proven extremely popular, in other countries there’s been a surprisingly large audience for simulators of more mundane tasks. That is why we have the meme that is Farming Simulator year after year as well as other simulators of the same calibre. One such simulator is Construction Simulator 2, which has now built its way onto home consoles from the PC. How does this port fare? Let’s find out.
The graphics on offer here are rather mediocre to say the least, and having never played the PC version I can’t tell where the graphics are bad naturally and where the graphics are bad due to the PC-to-console transitioning. The textures are mediocre, lighting feels baked on as opposed to dynamic, and draw distance on things like fences and pedestrians is very poor, with pedestrians in particular phasing in and out of existence whenever you get close. The models of the numerous construction vehicles you get during the game are quite well done however, so there’s that.
Given that the game is called Construction Simulator, the game attempts to be a realistic portrayal of the construction business and in that regard the game is a success. As mundane and slow as the game is, there is an incredible effort to make the game as realistic as possible in regards to construction. The game’s main goal is for you to start a construction company and have it flourish, and so you undertake jobs that start small, like replacing a water pipe in the game’s tutorial, to bigger ventures. To do this, you have various vehicles that you can purchase and operate, each with their own tools that you can use like cranes and boons. The game has you oversee every little aspect of a job, so you have to drive to and from stores to buy materials, and even have to switch between multiple vehicles to utilise all of their tools for the job. It’s this particular part that I can kind of see where the appeal for these kind of sims comes from, as it is quite satisfying to use all of the tools at your disposal to get a job done and have it done well. You also have use of a construction vision to highlight any usable objects, and while that may break realism for some, it’s a nice handy little tool for newcomers. There’s even a few extra realism options, such as being able to set realistic driving rules, so those who want to get REALLY into the business can do just that.
The game isn’t without its problems though, and there’s a mix of inherent problems and ones stemming from the transition to console. The main inherent problem is just how slow it is. The tutorial itself took over an hour to do because of all of the mundane tasks you have to do, such as slowly digging the ground to find a pipe. Even driving gets slow if you have realistic driving rules on, making every trip to and from shops that much more tedious. Some people may not see the slowness as a problem due to that being the nature of the simulator, but I’m still highlighting it as an issue as it may not be people’s cup of tea. The big problem that stems from the console translation however has to be the controls, and they may even contribute to the game’s slower pace. The PS4 Dualshock controller just doesn’t have anywhere near as many buttons as a keyboard, so a few compromises had to be made in the control department. While that’s fine for driving and navigating menus, the control issues rear their ugly head during the actual construction. The analogue sticks are used to control tools like the cranes and boons, and it’s downright frustrating. While there is an interface to help show the controls, it still felt dodgy to use, as each direction on the analogue stick controlled a different joint or direction on the tool, making it very difficult to use. You can’t even control the camera while doing this either, as you have to switch between camera mode and construction mode for the right stick using R3.
The game’s audio is also rather mediocre. The music that plays while driving just sounds bland and generic, and that also extends to sound effects like car engines. Some of the sounds are also repetitive like the chime that plays when you complete a task. There’s also no voice acting to speak of.
Construction Simulator 2 Console Edition suffers on a lot of fronts, with a lot of problems stemming from the transition to consoles. Graphics are very mediocre with a poor draw distance and textures, sound is bland overall and the gameplay is flawed. While I can see the appeal of realistic sims like this one, the incredibly slow pace and the tedium that comes with it may put a lot of players off. Even if this is your thing, don’t get this version, as the poor console controls are incredibly frustrating to use.