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Fernbus Coach Simulator Review


If you have been on a National Express coach travelling from Manchester to London on a cold winter’s day, when the heating has packed up, you will know the joy of coach travel. But what about the joy of driving the coach yourself? Miles and miles of motorway at your disposal, a place where you are the monarch of your destiny, the ruler of the open world and carer for a bunch of people who want to get to Dresden on time and in one piece.

Fernbus Coach Simulator puts you in the driving seat, but how does it feel?

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Fernbus Coach Simulator is an ambitious sim game, one that takes place over 50,000 square kilometres of motorway, as you go tripping through Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, and Switzerland. You plot your routes from city to city and off you go on your journey. 

Story wise there isn’t much going on in Fernbus Coach Simulator apart from what you can usher up in your imagination. If you want to give a back story to your driver it’s up to you. Maybe they are an undercover spy or an alien from another planet observing transport systems. The story is in the journey. 

When you start the game you have the choice of entering free mode or career. I started with my career and feel that would be the place for many. Now I am not a big fan of hand-holding in games, but I like some instructions to set me off. In this mode, there is basically nothing to help you apart from a few visual clues about what to do. You can choose between an arcade mode and a realistic mode too, with the former much simpler in terms of driving where you just deal with reverse and accelerate. In the realistic mode, you’ll be dealing with door controls, wipers, gears, and everything else for that true experience. Go to the arcade if you want to get going. . 

From there you get to place your route on a map, so for example my first route was a simple one from Prague to Pisen, running at just over 100 km. You start at the bus station of the city, climbing into your bus. It’s not a case of just getting behind the wheel though and Fernbus Coach Simulator gives you a list of passengers that have booked to travel, standing there looking at their phones – something which they do all the time, even when you’re crashing the bus. You first must open the luggage compartments for them and then check their tickets against the list. Some of them won’t be on the list sadly, trying to get a free trip; it’s up to you to reject them and watch as they sadly stand there looking lost. Then when you’re ready you’re off. 

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The route you drive is shown on your sat nav and it’s a case of just following a red line and obeying the rules of the road. You have a time limit to get to your destination though, something which can take a fair while if you’re doing the big journeys, so you’ll want to buckle up and listen to a podcast or something. Along the way you need to keep an eye on your speed limit and make sure you don’t go and hit anything; especially not a police car which I did on my first journey. When you get to the cities, you’ll need to be prepared to wait in traffic a lot. After you complete your journey you let the passengers off, gather up some experience points and enjoy what opens up, like some extra things like express check-ins. 

If you love driving across motorways then this is the game for you. There are such a lot of countries to explore and travel to, but you will probably get bored, especially on the longer journeys and as a career mode it doesn’t offer as much variety as other sim games in this field. The lack of direction doesn’t help either. 

Visually though I think Fernbus Coach Simulator does the job. The buses look good and the passengers are fine. But it is the dynamic weather effects that take place through day and night that is very impressive for a game of this size. Cities look good with famous landmarks dotted around for keen eyes and on the whole there is some very good work done on the graphics. Sound is limited though, with an annoying jingle at the start, some in-bus announcements, and ambient noise. . 

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The Xbox version of Fernbus Coach Simulator contains not just the main game but a host of DLC too, and that makes it a brilliant bargain in terms of content. And if you like sim games and love the idea of driving a coach over long routes, then Fernbus Coach Simulator will be for you. However, the career mode is lacking and confusing, but even then there’s a bit of draw involved. 

One thing is for certain though, National Express trips won’t ever be the same now that I’ve seen behind the curtain. 

Fernbus Coach Simulator is on the Xbox Store

Gareth Brierley
Gareth Brierleyhttp://www.garethbrierley.co.uk
I am an actor and a writer. I act quite a bit on stage, a little bit on tv and never on tuesdays. I have had some of my writing published and have written for TV and stage. I have been playing games since they begun and don't seem to be getting any better.
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