GAME REVIEW: American Truck Simulator New Mexico and Heavy Cargo DLCs

SCS Software’s American Truck Simulator has long been a relaxation game for me. Taking to the open highways and byways of California, Nevada and Arizona in my pimped out (snakeskin decal and buffed engine) truck, taking in the views… and the idiocy of rush hour traffic. Recently, I got the chance to take a look at the two latest DLC releases for the game: New Mexico and Heavy Cargo, and this review will take in both offerings, popping an individual score for each at the bottom. Partly because it made sense, and partly because I decided to jump right in and not only explore the new state, but to do it with massive cargo at the same time.

Dawn light broke in Tucson, Arizona, as I headed to the collection point to connect up my rig to my heavy cargo: a milling machine on a massive trailer. Its destination is Clovis, New Mexico, 579 miles away. I’d taken the precaution of making sure my truck was brimmed with fuel, and that my driver was fully rested, to avoid the need for rest stops and refuelling along the way. Many of the stops in American Truck Simulator aren’t really big enough to squeeze a mammoth trailer into, so for this first job, I wanted as straight a run as possible. When I took on the job, a pop-up warned me about the necessity of having a truck suitable for heavy cargo duty. Thankfully, due to the previously mentioned pimpage, mine was already more than up to the task. I hooked up and headed out, the turning out of the industrial park became the first challenge to overcome. Let’s just say I turned wide, slow, and with one eye glued to my side mirror, watching the mass of wheels and metal narrowly avoid a road sign.

Once on the open road, things are easier, although the first thing that really hits home is how much the towing of something really really heavy saps your truck’s acceleration. It makes sense, of course it does, but until you take the hit and find yourself taking minutes to get up to a nice cruising speed, it really sinks in. You usually hit a decent speed just in time to come to a junction or traffic light. This then gives you the chance to experience the other side of things: how much longer your safe braking distance has become. That being said, I soon found that I’d adapted to this new kind of cargo, and besides a harsh “wrong lane” fine for a lane violation at an intersection to help make a turn, I didn’t really set a foot wrong.

A short while into my trip, the scenery began to change to the rocky arid environment of New Mexico. This places my mind firmly into Breaking Bad reminiscence mode as I find myself driving roads that I may have seen Walt driving as his life takes that massive change and he becomes very naughty. The change, compared to Arizona, slowly crept up on me, but the 4000 miles of new in-game roads to be found in the New Mexico DLC still have variety, from desert to forests and mountains, not to mention the various urban environments such as Albuquerque. After months of only having the other states to journey through, this new one has added a much needed dose of “new horizons” to American Truck Simulator. I very much look forward to the day when you can fully drive from coast to coast.

I reached Clovis in good time and made my delivery at the freight-yard. I was offered extra points for parking in locations of varying difficulty, but after taking a total wrong turn amongst the containers and truly messing up the reversing to get unstuck, I opted to skip the parking bonus points to save my blood-pressure rising too far. I pondered where I wanted to go next. Some cargo was available to deliver to Roswell, so I donned my alien-resistant underwear and set to it. In the days after, I’ve taken in many more of the sights, the multi-bridge intersection near Albuquerque is rather an interesting to drive, and yes, I managed to make a wrong turn which added time to my trip. I’ve also seen various truck-stops and vistas that continue to make me appreciate the way that it has all been put together by the developers.

The New Mexico DLC has an RRP of £8.99. The Heavy Cargo DLC one of £3.99. Both add lovely extra stuff to the game, whether by way of new things to see, places to go, or new things to deliver, and if you are a fan of American Truck Simulator, I’d say they are worthy purchases to expand the game you love.

Ratings:

New Mexico: 5/5

Heavy Cargo: 4/5

Reviewer: Casey Douglass

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: