the most unfortunate aspect of car mechanic simulator 2014 is probably its visual and functional resemblence of car building-tuning-racing classics like (prehistoric) street rod and old but more recent street legal. expectations need to be right from the get-go - this is not a game of the same building-racing genre. there is no real tuning, there is no engine swaps, there is no bodywork, you will not have your own car to work on. and that is completely fine.
this is a simulator of the somewhat boring life of car mechanic, complete with vague issue descriptions from car owners (at least in the campaign mode). and while there may be some aspects of the game that are not made in the best possible way, being true to its name is where this game undoubtedly excels.
you get access to a garage and are given a car that needs a mechanic to fix it on a given budget. rinse and repeat. there, that is the entire game.
more precisely you do get access to 3 garages over time with increasingly better interior and a different added diagnostic/tool. from start, you can test drive cars and use odb tool, with the second garage you get brakes and suspension test track and with the third - ability of chiptuning.
you can work on engine, exhaust and suspension of the car, naturally it's simplified and streamlined but works surprisingly well. the goal - diagnose and fix the car. you can either use diagnostic tools in your disposal or just look at each part manually. looking at deeper parts mostly requires dismantling to actually get to these deeper parts which will take more time and be more annoying (as it is in real life). state of parts can be highlighted with colorcoding from green to red which will be very helpful to give a good overview.
campaign consists of 75 broken cars with predetermined scenarios with descriptions sounding from serious to hilarious and i recognized more than one that i myself have given to a car mechanic. you will also get a list of (vague) objectives that you need to complete. you can also play endless more which is mostly the same but with no worded issue descriptions and generally goal being "fix all the broken parts". in both campaign and endless, you can level up 4 aspects of yourself which ultimately make things just faster - not significant but this provides some very welcome bits of convenience.
now, to the not-so-good side of things, in no particular order:
- detection of parts to be fixed is rigid. a broken part must always be replaced with new, 100% part. understandable, but very annoying. say you need to change a wheel. you may have taken off two wheels and one looked good enough at 98% and you bought only one new wheel. if you happen to put that 98% to where a new one was supposed to go it will not count as fixed.
- coupled with the previous point, used parts store is much more trouble than its worth and after a couple failed attempts i stopped looking at that completely.
- camera, oh that camera. i can understand that camera in a game like this is very difficult to do but they could do just a bit better, right? click on a part will try to center camera on the part, often causing you to try and aim the camera again. there are couple parts that are difficult to remove due to camera - drive shafts, i am looking at you!
- driving in test drive feels utterly disconnected. that's not the focus of the game and cars do feel considerably different based on fwd/rwd/awd but it just fails to actually feel nice.
to summarize - it does provide a very calm and relaxing fun virtually fixing virtual cars. i spent a lot more time playing this than i initially expected to.
Posted: February 16th, 2014