Before I close out my review of this product, there were some difficulties that I encountered that I’ll comment on. The difficulties I experience were few, and none prevented my enjoyment of the Railworks 2.
Firstly, my Steam client needs to be run with Administrator privileges for Railworks 2 to work. This was not at first obvious from the error dialog I was getting. The solution was eventually found through the web site, though the exact wording of my error was not anywhere that I could find. A sticky on the Steam forums would help here.
Having to run Steam in Administrator mode also meant that my screenshots taken within Railworks 2 were saved in my Windows 7 Administrator’s account, rather than my own limit user account from which I ran Railworks 2.
Another Steam related issue, the default key bind for requesting to pass a signal behind the train (Shift + Tab) is the same as the key bind to showing and hiding the Steam overlay, which will require some workarounds on the keybinds for either Steam or Railworks 2.
Again, though none of these issues were serious, I should mention them in any case.
As I reported early in this review, Railworks 2 presents itself as a foundation from which users can create their own railway, much the way a real model railroad would be built; piece by piece as the owner likes. I would have to say that Railworks 2 succeeds in offering this kind of experience. Aside from the various DLC add-ons the player can choose, the provided editing tools allow custom creating of even the world, scenery, and railway itself for those who will invest the effort to learn the software, very much like a traditional model railroad. And much like a pre-boxed model railroad kit, the base Railworks 2 package provides a satisfying starter selection of rail routes and trains to enjoy.
From a player’s perspective, Railworks 2 provides an approachable and interesting experience within it’s base package, with a quite decent collection of freeform and structured gameplay. While the primary target audience will probably already have a more serious interest in trains, even players wanting a much more casual experience can find satisfaction.
What I Liked
- Flexible experience suiting both casual and advanced players
- Highly detailed trains and rail routes
- Overall useful documentation
- Scenarios have decent replay value
- UI is clean and easy to learn
- Multiple train control methods to suit player interests
Could be Better
- A few documentation shortcomings
- Some Steam related difficulties
- A few minor graphics shortcomings
- Railsimulator web site
- Railsimulator video archive (product demonstrations and tutorials)
- Railworks wiki site (advanced editor reference manual)
Reviewer’s System Specs
- Processor: AMD Athlon 64 5000+ X2
- 2GB RAM
- Video: ATi HD3650 512MB
- Windows 7 32-bit