by Murray Lewis
reviewed on PC
CAR MECHANICS FOR DUMMIES
Once you get to the actual repair work, though, it's really rather enjoyable. Everything is intuitive enough that you can get stuck in without too much fuss, and a robust system of upgrades means there's an incentive to get jobs done. It rarely gets terribly complicated, though, which surprised me. In fact, the closest I came to stress was when I took an entire engine apart and then discovered the problem was a single component at the other end of the car. A great deal about car mechanics has been simplified here in the name of accessibility. It's understandable, but an 'expert' mode could have added a wealth of deeper gameplay opportunities and challenges that aren't presented by the base game.
Every car in the game uses exactly the same kind of bolt, for example, whereas a real mechanic would have to deal with a dozen different sizes every day, often on the same car. Similarly, at no point do you encounter parts which have rusted together, or bolts which shear off, rendering an otherwise pristine component useless. Working on cars is far from a clean, simple job, but that just isn't represented in CMS2015.
Bizarrely, many gameplay features from the 2014 edition seem to be missing; features like adjusting on-board computer chips, a story mode with multiple garages, and the aforementioned realistic customer reports. Even the neat UI, with job details being written on a form attached to a clipboard, has been tossed out of the window in favour of a bland, electronic interface.
It's not clear exactly why these things have disappeared in CMS2015, but there are many areas in which this new entry feels like a distinct step backwards.
A NEW COAT OF PAINT
Visually, the game is sleek and attractive, with each car being well-modelled from the bodywork down to the smallest nuts and bolts of its innards, which is fortunate since you'll spend a lot of time with your head crammed inside them. With the visual options maxed out, the depth of field and SSAO effects look great, although there was some slow-down when several cars were on-screen at the same time.
Sound, too, is good overall. There's lots of clanking metal and whirring machinery, which really helps with immersion. The music, which is mostly electronic/dance-type guff, gets a bit repetitive after a while, but at least it can be turned off so you can listen to your own music. Still, it would've been nice to have a Euro Truck Simulator-style radio, playing live internet streams.
OPEN UP THE WORKSHOP
From top to tail-pipe, Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 is every bit a fun game, but it doesn't always live up to its predecessor. Much has been improved in terms of added variety in cars, but there are still many areas that feel under-developed and lacking in substance, even in comparison to that earlier title.
That said, it's still a cracking ride, and an easy recommendation for anyone interested in cars and practical, mechanical puzzles. As long as you don't take the 'Simulator' part of the name too seriously, this is probably the closest you'll get to the sweaty, filthy joys of running your own chop shop.
Great variety of cars and engines. Slick graphics. A fun diversion.
Many CMS2014 features now AWOL. Over-simplified gameplay. Clunky interface in some areas.