Construction Simulator 2 was released for the Nintendo Switch on 6 November 2019. It was developed by Weltenbauer. Software Entwicklung and published by Astragon Entertainment.
This is the first time I have ever played any form of a construction simulator. The closest I have come to a game like this is the Farming Simulator series, so I had no expectations when starting up the game on my Switch. However, I was very eager to find out what it had to offer, having been offered a plethora of simulation games to review over the holidays, including American Truck Sim and Euro Truck Sim 2, and the adorable Bee Simulator that my four-year old daughter is still playing long after completing the game. (Feel free to click on any of the above game names to read those reviews. No please, I insist.)
When you start CS2, you are treated to a small tutorial. It is easy enough, once you spend time getting to know the controls. Very thankfully, this is one of the few games where you can have all the main controls displayed on the side of the screen out of the main central view, with the click of a button. It is neatly out of your way and really helps for the first few minutes of gameplay until you get the hang of it. And, you can toggle it on and off at will.
Once you pass the tutorial, which teaches you the basics of operating your first vehicles, you can start your own company and start hunting for jobs. The jobs are like small missions, and each mission clearly gives you details on what you need to do (as in, each step in the task), how much you will, be paid for the job, and what equipment and rank you will need. Your main mission is simple: amass a construction empire and become the richest sod in the world.
That is one of the main reasons I have taken so long to review this game. Besides my Switch giving me some issues (thanks, children), completing the game in the true sense of completion takes days and days of gaming. Although the game is peaceful and you can take your time, making it a game you can play whenever you pick up the Switch, there is so much to do in CS2 that giving it a solid treatment in gaming will chow up hours of your life.
Which is wonderful.
Yet, just because you have completed the tutorial, do not think that your training is done. Once you access the jobs that require equipment and vehicles you don’t have, you can either rent or buy them. If you have never used them before, then suddenly a new tutorial becomes available at the Training Centre. And then utilising the machines at the construction site levels up your skills and abilities specific to those machines.
You start off doing small jobs in Desert Springs, like excavating and building small residential homes. But as you progress, three more areas become available with higher jobs. Eventually you get to build some impressive high-rise buildings and even get to tar some roads. It really gives you a feel for the construction industry. Sure, it won’t make me sign up as a contractor in real life, but being able to do it in the comfort of my own bed is really enjoyable.
As a final point on gameplay, I want to say how I love that the functions are so easy to access on the Switch controls. The directional buttons are all mapped to essential shortcuts, such as key locations to fast travel to, your vehicles to select and climb into, and all the available contracts. The analogue sticks allow you to move and look around, but click them in, and suddenly you have new vehicle functions to operate your cranes and machinery on the back or front of the vehicle.
I also want to applaud the reset function. At the start, I was frustrating myself by getting stuck in the very holes that I excavated. Thankfully, the reset function puts you back on the road near the construction site. Also, to start driving again, you need to move the vehicles machinery (like cranes and diggers) back into place first. The reset button does this for you while in Function mode. This has saved me a lot of time and irritation.
All is not sunshine and glory though. I did have a few gripes in the beginning. Like fighting with a water pipe that would not latch on to the front bucket of my tractor. Having to close or reload a previous save because I made too many mistakes. Not realising that I have to pay for any materials (like sand and gravel) that I need for the construction, which will be repaid to me with the contract money when the job is done, and then ending up with a loss when I used too much material.
Which brings me to the economics in the game. If you just play casually and don’t pay attention to some finance management, you can go bankrupt very quickly. Things means taking into consideration such things as material costs (as mentioned), vehicle leasing, and purchasing of equipment for specific jobs. Every month you will get a tally of whether you managed to make a profit or a loss, and it is best that you pay close attention to that.
When it comes to graphics, I get the feel of the some of the first 3D GTA games, like San Andreas and Vice City. The scenery is beautiful and can get very busy at times, but sometimes everything feels boxy and not neatly rounded off. I was left wondering if this was a Switch thing (where they had to cater for the graphics that the console has to offer), or if they intended to go this route.
This doesn’t make the graphics bad, but worth mentioning. I don’t want you buying this game after I say “The graphics are spectacular”, and then load up and think “What the *beep* was that writer going on about?” Having said that, I personally like this style of graphics, even if the movement of the vehicles on the road feel a bit unrealistic and comical at times. You should ram your truck into the sides of traffic (with traffic fines switched off, of course) and have a good laugh at how they go flying. And survive to ride off into the sunset.
There as many great things to say about the graphics too. For instance, how the graphical user interface is so easy to use and access. The day / night cycle that is stunning to behold. How well the Switch can handle all the buildings and vehicles later in the game without lagging. How good it looks when you handle the machinery on the vehicles and when you build some really complex structures. It really negates anything bad I’ve had to say about it so far.
As far as sound goes, there is no voice acting, so consign yourself to reading dialogue instead. Some of it are really funny and witty. Most of the time, your eager beaver of a character will end of with “Let’s do it!” like he just had his shots of Monster Energy Drink and is ready to lay some concrete with his bare hands. (I was like that once. Sigh. Well, not laying concrete with my hands, but an eager beaver.) For all other sounds, the vrooms and crunch of machinery and materials sound great and fit perfectly with this world.
So there you have some of my viewpoints on this spectacular game. Should you go buy this game? Well, if you are into simulation games, specifically construction sims, then I say hell yes. If you are more into action games, then maybe skip this one, but feel free to grab it if you are looking to enter the simulation gaming world, as this game makes it so easy to play and learn. There may be some frustration at the start if you are not used to it, but believe me when I say that a few hours of playing will make you feel and look like a pro. Just ask my 9 year-old son, who I compete with for time to play the game.
Of course, there could be some improvements, and I suspect that future installments will only get better. So here’s a solid 8/10 from someone that truly loves these type of simulation games (much to the chagrin of my family, who chase me off for the likes of Mario Kart and Lego World.)
**PLEASE NOTE: We were supplied with a review copy of the game. This has in no way influenced my views on the game as per Air Entertainment’s Review Policy**