Developer: weltenbauer. Software Entwicklung GmbH
Publisher: astragon Entertainment GmbH
Genre(s): Casual, Simulation
Platform: PS5 (Version Reviewed), PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC – Windows
Age Rating: 20/09/22
Release Date: PEGI 3
A code was provided for review purposes
Build Me Up
Construction Simulator 2022 rolled out for the PlayStation 4 and 5, and Xbox Series X|S and PC. With it comes over 70 real-world pieces of construction equipment from 25 world-famous brands. Unlike its predecessors, Construction Simulator has two separate maps with their own unique campaigns boasting over 90 contracts. Each map has a small group of land development companies looking to grow the town industries in various areas. These include business, residential, commercial, and more, each with their own manager for their projects.
Starting out in Construction Simulator requires creating your character complete with licensed workwear from Strauss. After you create your character you name your budding construction company and start off by meeting a soon-to-retire Hape. Hape teaches you the ins and outs of owning a construction company and is your mentor assisting in growing your business.
I’ve played the last few iterations of Construction Simulator games on the Nintendo Switch and Xbox. I can say that while Construction Simulator 2022 does a good job tightening up the controls in the game, they are still a bit picky when operating the machinery. Most of the construction contracts in the game require that you talk to a foreman on the project. Running around in Construction Simulator is fine, but jumping or vaulting over short walls, fences, etc. can look a bit funny. In fact, if you try running and jumping your character will jump higher and slower than a normal person should.
Driving in Construction Simulator takes some time to get used to. Vehicles that have a typical two-axel setup, or big rigs that pull a trailer operate with typical gas and brake/reverse controls using R2 and L2. Vehicles that have a tread, like most bulldozers, asphalt chippers, and excavators use either R2 and L2 to move the tread forward and R1 and L1 to move the tread backward. This method of movement means that you need to use an opposing button combination to turn right and left in them since the left control stick does nothing.
Once you are set up on a construction site you may need to turn on lights. Construction Simulator has a dynamic day/night cycle. I usually drove with my warning lights on to fully immerse myself while playing in solo or co-op games. Many of the pieces of equipment have secondary modes like filling up dump trucks with gravel/sand/dirt. Mixers and concrete vehicles you will drive also need to be filled up and emptied before storing away in your shop. Cranes come in handy when setting beams in place for bridges. Each of these modes of construction can have unique movement controls that require learning and training your muscle memory so that you can complete tasks in fast and adequate ways.
Looking Good in the Neighborhood
Visually speaking, Construction Simulator 2022 does a great job of detailing real-world equipment which is the hallmark of the series. Each piece of your fleet looks stunning and especially shines when the sunlight hits just right. There is a photo mode in the game which allows you to stage the perfect shot as you work on various job sites. The mode is simplistic but the addition of photo mode is a nice touch to an already decent game.
I did notice several glitches though, throughout my time with Construction Simulator 2022. My avatar for instance is bugged out and looks like a pixelized mess in my profile. The game has a decent draw distance, allowing you to see far-off roads and buildings, but trees and shrubs tend to pop in and out, even when you shift the camera ever so slightly in either direction. Depending on the time of day your vehicle shadow can also be jarring as the game tries to give realistic shading on the ground which tends to just look murky and messy.
One area in the game that has improved greatly is dirt physics. It may not seem like a big deal but games like MudRunner and SnowRunner have shown us that realistic modulation of dirt and mud is a must-have for deepening the simulation genre. As you trek over dirt and push it with your bulldozer or excavator you will notice a realistic simulation of the mounds of dirt as you dig. As you shovel dirt into a dump truck or into piles on the construction site, the mounds of dirt fill and shift as more dirt are dropped on top. It’s not 100% all the time, but there is a noticeable improvement over past games in the series.
Construction Simulator 2022 has two different maps, one in Europe and one in the United States. Both maps offer region-specific nuances like business and building types that look and feel unique to their map.
Hard Work is Hard Work
I feel as though I am a seasoned veteran when it comes to simulation games. I’ve played Power Wash Simulator, Gas Station Simulator, Truck driving sims, Farming sims, Construction sims, the aforementioned MudRunner and SnowRunner, and many, many more. Simulation games take typically unique jobs and place you the gamer in the role of running and managing jobs and tasks that the people that do them may find tedious and simple.
Construction Simulator helps fill the void of having been a kid playing in the dirt with Tonka Trucks and MatchBox cars. There’s just something serene about building up a new restaurant, a bridge connecting two parts of a town, laying the foundation of a college, expanding your own business, and much much more. Construction Simulator 2022 has layers to the gameplay as well from the ability to rent equipment for jobs when you don’t have the money to outright buy them.
Spend Money To Make Money
You can also set up a loan and work to pay it off if you need to expand or purchase new equipment for a contract. As you complete contracts and campaign missions, you unlock skill points that you can use to increase your run speed, crane movement, bucket capacity, lower fuel consumption, wear and tear, and more. As your level increases, you also unlock newer and more complicated jobs that need to be fulfilled around town. One cool aspect of Construction Simulator is the satisfaction I get while fulfilling these jobs and completing them and seeing the latest builds as I drive around.
Together We Can Build a Better Tomorrow
One thing I had been hoping for with Construction Simulator was a multiplayer co-op mode. Games like SnowRunner and Power Wash Simulator introduced multiplayer task list completion with your best friends or random gamers from around the world. Multiplayer in Construction Simulator is unlocked after you complete the initial tutorial phase.
Once you have unlocked multiplayer you can set up a private or public lobby where friends and random players can join your game session. Once the session starts you can help them complete contracts by jumping into owned machines. It’s nice to have someone help you in picking up supplies at stores, rent vehicles upon your approval, and dig, pave, and build based on the job needs. I had a few opportunities to play with random people and had a fun time working to complete jobs and assist in the various tasks that needed to be done.
One downside of the jobs that Construction Simulator throws at you is that many are step-by-step jobs, that don’t really need multiple vehicles at one time working to complete the job. Multiplayer is a welcome addition, though I found it lacking as the variety of jobs you can complete with a partner are linear, and some are very quick and small jobs.
A Job Well Done
Construction Simulator 2022, ahem, ‘builds’ on previous entries in the series, and adopts a variety of design mechanics and quality-of-life upgrades. Your decision to jump into Construction Simulator will depend on your interest in the genre of completing seemingly mundane tasks. There isn’t much in terms of an overall story narrative, action, or sense of adventure. The series has always been one I have enjoyed and with 90+ jobs that need to complete many of which take over an hour to complete, there is a ton to do in the game that will keep you busy. While there is a lot to do, your longevity with those tasks will depend on finding the zen-like gameplay loop fun.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
Construction Simulator is out now and can be purchased via the PlayStation Store here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.