Saturday, 13 February 2010

Big City Rigs: Bus Driver review

What would you expect from a driving game? Fast cars? High octane excitement? Something with enough glamour Jenson Button and co would be jealous? Well then, go and buy Race Driver: Grid because speed, excitement and glamour are not to be found while playing Big City Rigs: Bus Driver.

Yes, you read that correctly, Bus Driver. This game is about driving buses - possibly the least glamorous form of transport (Unless you happen to be a rock star with your own pimped out home on wheels) You have to pick up and drop off passengers, follow the rules of the road and well... not run anyone over while you drive various routes trying to make as much of a profit as possible. Yes, it's almost an attempt to join driving and simulation genres which unfortunately is badly well executed. Despite the concept being a rather original idea for a game, Bus Driver is so full of flaws it's almost as un-enjoyable as a long trip home on a London night bus... when the nutter decides to sit next to you for the whole journey.

Let's start with the basics in that the game just doesn't work very well. Now, buses aren't exactly the simplest vehicles to drive but it would help if Bus Driver actually started with the correct controls. For unfathomable reasons, I needed to go into the options and edit the control scheme before the bus would even move! However, it's when you start driving that the real issues occur thanks to the poor clipping and an apparently non-existent physics engine.

Bus Driver isn't the best looking game in the world; in fact it's graphically poor. (It looks a lot worse than the publicity photos would have you think)But the real problem for me was just how the whole games world just doesn't work- cars just disappear from the road in front of your eyes while buildings and other features will lose their entire textures you drive past. While these problems don't stop you playing outright, I often discovered an issue that was completely out of my control yet meant the mission was over. A combination of poor pedestrian A.I. and terrible graphical issues occasionally led to passengers getting stuck in a place that was neither inside nor outside of the bus. This is a huge problem because with a passenger stuck like this, moving your bus will injure them meaning you fail the tour instantly which is massively frustrating - more so than the useless maps that don't make it clear what direction you're supposed to go.

Now games are supposed to be fun right? Apparently the creators of Bus Driver didn't get this memo because this ‘game' is as boring as hell. Yes, it involves driving, and yes it involves check points in the form of bus stops or specific locations to drive through, but there's no excitement or fun in it because you have to drive very slowly. Waiting at a traffic light - which you have to do or risk failing the tour - is dull. Bus Driver claims to have variety in the various types of buses you can drive, but the game is extremely repetitive. You're basically just driving around very bland environments, stopping, starting and struggling to turn corners. You can't even try to gain enjoyment through messing with the minds of passengers by closing the doors as they walk up to the bus...every passenger HAS to get on, not matter how late you're running.

Unless you have a particular interest in buses and driving them it's probably a good idea not to purchase Bus Driver. It's an individual game I'll give it that but it's hard to enjoy and costs far too much. It's more disappointing than a 10 hour bus journey to Land's end and probably shouldn't be on the roads. (The road is your rig by the way)Avoid it like, well like you would a bus that was hurtling down the road at 50 miles per hour.

2.5/10

(Originally written for Game-Debate)

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