So I’m back in the construction game once more, trying to earn a buck while paying off speeding fines and delivering top dollar, highly affordable, building jobs around town – this time with Construction Simulator 3 – Console Edition. I played and reviewed the previous Construction Simulator 2 that was set in an American desert town that I liked to call Hell 2, strangely enjoying the originality it delivered – albeit it was an experience that brought about tricky controls and some dodgy visuals. This time though I’ve been surprisingly intrigued to see where the franchise has taken us, and how Construction Simulator has evolved with this third edition. So put on your hard hat on, grab your hi-vis jacket and join me on-site as I lay down some solid foundations.
Construction Simulator 3 is set in Germany in the lovely little city of Neustin. There are three separate districts to the game though; a small hamlet/village area with countryside and forest, to begin with, before you get the chance to proceed into the big city and industrial areas which open up later on. There is a mad narrative at play here as well, one which unfolds after you’ve chosen your character profile and name. It runs something along the lines of you being a successful games designer who has got to a point in your career where you are now financially comfortable and able to pursue your one true love… building a construction empire. You’re then tutored by a well-mustached construction man, get to embrace some buddy dialogue and are thrust away to learn the trade.
If you’ve played Construction Simulator 2 then you’ll be right at home here as, being honest, there’s not too much of a change in terms of the setup of the game. If you haven’t then you need to listen carefully to the tutorial, because if you don’t you’ll be left scrambling around for ideas when things get tricky. Your main task though is to take up the jobs offered to you around the city, earn money, buy additional vehicles and level up in an RPG style to become the best of the best in the construction business.
The deep campaign is where you’ll spend the majority of your time, with a wide range of jobs to deal with and complete. It’ll all start off simply enough, with a basic task that might send you off on a delivery job, picking up some gravel and taking it to a building site. But there are other missions too, with them utilizing many different aspects of the construction landscape. For instance, you may need to dig up the earth on a plot of land, before getting rid of the old sewer pipes and laying in some new ones. It is here where you would use a backhoe to dig the earth out, winch out the old pipes, then replace them with new pipes in the ground, before filling in the gargantuan hole you just made. Simple huh? Well, you’d think so, but it’s trickier than it looks.
The UI that appears when you want help doing a job looks clean and simple, and for those who have played previous incarnations of this series it will be like riding a very rickety bike again. For newcomers however, it will be a bit difficult to get used to. Let’s say you have your backhoe (a big yellow digger for the layman) – you will first need to drive it to the correct position. Then with a touch of the button, you drop it into work mode where the vehicle will steady itself, before allowing you to unfurl the digger arms. One touch of the thumbstick up and the digger up will unfurl, one touch on the right and the scoop on the end of the digger arm will face down, similarly, the one on left will see it move up, before all hell breaks loose. From there, if you are anything like me you will have a little cry in the corner, drink half a bottle of whiskey, muster up some Dutch courage and then go back in for another go. It’s not that the controls are bad, but as with everything in Construction Simulator 3 – Console Edition, it just takes a bit of getting used to. And what doesn’t help matters is the camera.
With CS3, there are advanced camera controls that take you inside the cabin of a vehicle for that authentic feel. You can switch things up so the camera is behind you, aerial, fixed or more freestyle with your movement. However, whatever I decide to run with, the camera always – and I mean always – ends up in a different position to where I want it. This leaves me to constantly flick backward and forwards between the operation of my construction vehicles and the camera. After a while, and when you’re taking on a big job, this gets hugely annoying.
Construction Simulator 3 – Console Edition however does have many positives, and it is these which try to outweigh the negatives. One of these is in terms of the sheer amount of jobs to involve yourself with. Each mission feels different to the next, with a new challenge and a whole spectrum of options to choose from. And with your hard-earned money, you can buy a huge range of licensed vehicles that the fanboys and girls will have kittens over – the likes of Caterpillar, Liebherr, CASE, Bobcat, Palfinger, STILL, MAN and more are all included. Just make sure you save some cash though as you’ll need it to pay off the fines you’ll accumulate for driving through traffic lights or speeding fines. There are even RPG elements that see you level up and you are able to use skills like ‘Earn more Money and Experience’ perks which can be obtained. If you get deep into this game – and for many that will be a huge possibility – then there is a ton of content to keep you occupied. Hell, just the tutorial will take you a good few hours to complete.
Construction Simulator 3 looks nicer than the previous incarnations too, and I think that much of that is down to the new setting. The last game, with its reddish desert town, didn’t please in visual terms, but this time around the world is much more varied in its tones, colour, and pleasant German setting. There is also a nice visual upgrade to things, whereby everything from the authentic vehicles right up to the new buildings are cleaner and much more polished.
Apart from my own personal gripes with the camera and control systems, this version of Construction Simulator is the best I’ve played so far. There is a ton of stuff to enjoy in this new world with a real varied mixture of missions and items to collect. The RPG levelling up system and collection of vehicles are both great features and these deliver a real incentive for you to put on that hard hat in the morning. The German setting is a positive step forward from the last hellish world too, and Construction Simulator 3 – Console Edition on Xbox One is a fairly pleasant place to work in, and drive around.