Most people buying this DLC don't live in South Africa or wasn't in South Africa. I've seen this DLC has receive a lot of bad recommendations, because of shoddy craftmanship. I agree, but the reviews pointing it in the wrong places. I, for who lived in South Africa and travelled on these trains, going to give a proper review for which I think is wrong and right in this DLC.
Here is a brief summary of what you can expect of this DLC
- Lenghty route
- Drive through plains, hills, mountains and a dam
- Many tunnels and long tunnels
- Narrow gauge
- South Africa
This route is the best representation of what its like in KwaZulu-Natal. You see lots of plains with grass, lots of grass. Trees is abudant in the mountains, usually pine or "Bloekom" as we call it. I've seen people complain about rivers being full of grass and dirt, well, in most cases it is dried up, because this is a dry area. It usually rains in the summer, but the scorcing sun vaporises all the water in the rivers. We have a serious water problems here and have to save as much water as possible. Most building is "reused". The buildings looks similar in Natal as in the game, I cannot see any fault with it. I 've seen many HOP houses alongside the tracks, those "mud" houses. They are government houses for the poor people and they do like those in the game.
- There is only this one electric locomotive
- Its LOUD
The reason why only one locomotive is available is this package is there is only this type on the corridor. Transnet have began to upgrade the 6E1 to the new 18E in 2009 nationally. This route setting is clearly as it was in 1999 and thus the 6E1 only existed for this line. We have over 3000 of these locomotives in our country and its our main locomotive. Diesels is extremely rare on this corridor, because it is expensive to run them. We don't have oil and have to import them, thus make them expensive. The 6E1 uses electricity which is generated by burning coal and we got reserves of coal.
People complain about the noise, but if you travelled on them, then you will complain. They ARE that LOUD! Especially the blowers when they accelerate. Those blowers can make you deaf, therefore train drivers got headphones for ear safety. The texture is well made, actually the locomotives is too clean. I've seen much dirtier ones in my life. I only got a complaint about the cab. They remember the stove, but it has low polygons. The instruments is okayish. The only real problem what I have with it is, WHERE IS THE SERIAL PARALLEL switcher!!! This locomotive work exacly the same as those Class 76 on the Woodhead DLC.
The rolling stock:
- You only get 5 different versions, a coach, open wagons, tank wagons and a caboose.
- They small variants
- Not so highly detailed
The rolling stock is good and they invested time to get the bearings right, those big chunky spinning rings on the wheels. The texturing is a bit dull, to neat to be precise. I've expected some dirt on the passenger coaches! The freight wagons texturing is well made.
The route is well made, but the locomotive need attention if you mostly drive inside it. The sound is perfect, they sound exactly the same as those in the game. The DLC feels it has been made 2 years ago, the developer remember to put cab lights in, but there is no superelevation.
If you live in South Africa and considering buying this, then get it! It's the best representation of how it looks in Natal. For people outside, you can buy it to get a different feel of our country, it feels different, for sure. If you are serious about the quality aspects and expect this DLC to have completely different stuff, then you might be dissapointed. The developer used what this game offered to create this route which represent the actual one very well.
The price is a bit high, I must say. Buy it on a sale or something of the like, but I recommend it to my fellow "vriende en burgerlikes"