Review: Car Mechanic Simulator
The variety in different simulation games out there is something that really shouldn't be missed, or underestimated, cause most of them are really good, and some are ridicolously realistic. PlayWay is publishing their 100% realistic Car Mechanic Simulator game for the Xbox One, and I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I can safely say that I'm very impressed. I've unscrewed a LOT of bolts, fixed a ton of cars, driven and tested many of them, all while earning a lot of money, and I definitely have some things to talk about.
Platform: Xbox One S. Introduction There's not much of an introduction other than a cut-scene explaining what the game's about in short, before getting to the main menu, and a tutorial mode that doesn't really tell you what to do.
The menu is simple, and features the options that you'd expect to be there. I had to spend a lot of time fixing a car only to find out that I just had to check the oil, drain it, and put new oil into it. Of course, that could be my fault, but I'd argue about that since the only "help"
I received was a text in the top that said something in the likes of: "Fix test track to complete tutorial", which didn't make sense at all. This didn't really take away from the experience, though. Visuals/performance I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of visuals, partly due to the fact that there hadn't been much gameplay footage released of the console version before I received it,
but I'm actually very impressed with the final outcome. Graphics are good looking for being a simulator, textures are of high resolution, the anti aliasing might look a bit weird sometimes (as if they haven't implented it fully) but doesn't ruin the experience, cars look super detailed and realistic like in Forza, shadows are pretty defined, and outdoor scenes are decent looking
(though it's clear that they aren't made to be looked upon in detail). All these visual traits are accompanied by performance that works well most of the time, but can fall short due to some odd small drops here and there, though with there being absolutely no bugs present during my playthrough. Audio is really just like I wanted it to be like, realistic and believable, but the music,
while not bad, doesn't sport a lot of variety, so it gets a bit repetitive after a while. Overall, it's a highly attractive game that runs very well, and one that doesn't force you to sit through hours of loading screens. I'm very impressed, especially by all the amount of detail! Gameplay Now, I'm not an expert when it comes to cars, but I do know a thing or two about how a car works, yet this game manages to make me feel like I've never even seen the inside of a car's hood. Why? Because it's literally 100% authentic, and every single part a car has in real life, is removable and interactible with in Car Mechanic Simulator,
making me think twice whether or not I actually knew anything about cars before, because believe me when I say that there's a surprisingly HUGE amount of parts in a car. There's four options to choose from before starting a playthrough, and they cater to every kind of Car Mechanic: Normal Mode, Normal Mode without tutorial, Sandbox mode, and Expert mode. A lot of the gameplay consists of accepting, or declining, orders from people that need their cars fixed, and the thing is, it's super dynamic,
so there's all kinds of different orders all the time, cycling in and out frequently, some are more ambitious orders that have their own backstory. This system keeps the game from ever becoming boring, or too much of the same, especially since I'm able to pick which one I want. One car might have a problem with its brakes, so taking the wheels, brake pads and calipers off is ideal to complete the order. Another car might have problems with various different parts of it, and so it'll take a lot longer to fix, but the pay is better.
The general gameplay works like in any first-person game, and I'm free to walk around however I want in my garage, where I'm also armed to the teeth with various equipment tools and rooms such as an oil drainer, path test, paint room, toolbox, computer, and more. They're all vital to finding out what's wrong with a car, but I was never really forced to use them, as I was always able to examine car parts individually by taking them off, or manually examining them in the Examine mode. Taking parts off a car is done by pressing A on the desired part, switching to the part removal mode by pressing Y and navigating to it,
and later just holding A to take it off, where a mandatory bolt or screw removal process is needed (though not always), as well. The desired part might be broken, so there's two options, I was either able to repair it myself with my repair bench, or just buying a new part. The repair bench is cheaper to use but might not guarantee that the part will be 100% fixed. Once the part is fixed, I had to place it back by using the part mount mode, and it is very satisfying to watch as the part is replaced with one that is a lot more shiny. I wasn't always just spending time in the garage, though, since I sometimes had to test the car in a test track, to see if it held up.
Driving works pretty well, but it's clear that the development time of the game has mostly gone into making sure that the garage and mechanic section of the game is as authentic and realistic as possible, which is fully understandable, and I wasn't even expecting there to be much driving anyway. Still, it works pretty well and is a lot of fun. Controls, both in terms of fixing a car, and when driving, can be a bit "janky" and weird, but I never really cared that much about it, and it didn't degrade the general quality of the game. Spending time in a barn trying to find parts as well as cars is also a part of the game,
and serves as a way to earn a bit more money than when completing orders. For example, one might find an old Dodge Charger in a barn, buy it, turn it into a whole different car, and then later sell it. Of course, keeping it is possible, but selling it will be smarter in the long run. The game features a ton of cars, all the way up to around 40 of them, all being customizable in their own ways (with colors and decals, too), and all sporting their own unique looks, internally and externally.
Fixing parts can see you fixing tires, engine parts such as the ABS module, battery, drive axles, fuel pump, fuel tank, interior parts, brakes, brake calipers, camshafts, engine head covers, rims, fans, rubber bushings, wheel hubs, and a lot more. Everything is removable, and I mean everything. It's insane and I love it. Nearly every game has it these days, and yes, Car Mechanic Simulator has loot boxes, but I was always only able to receive one by leveling up (I think), resulting in one waiting for me in my inventory, containing random car parts.
There's also RPG elements in the game, so every time I leveled up, I was able to use skill points in a skill tree system, to become faster with removing bolts, or getting cheaper prices in the store, for example. It's something I wasn't expecting to be there, but I welcomed it. Every game has its share of cons, though, and there are a few I noticed in Car Mechanic Simulator, such as the fact that there should be an autosave system,
I should be able to buy different parts in bulk at the same time, I was hoping for there to be fully customizable designs, I should be able to paint my car on my own, not just by clicking a button, and the tutorial should be a bit more transparent. Other than that, Car Mechanic Simulator is among the top three best simulator games I've ever played, I'm super impressed by the amount of detail, realism, and fun. All in all Not knowing at all what to expect from a game like Car Mechanic Simulator, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's actually one of the better simulation games out there, not only cause it's fun, but also because it offers an insight into the world of car mechanics in the form of ultra realistic and detailed gameplay. Performance goes well with the gameplay due to how stable it is, both for the framerate as well the amount of bugs - pairing it with graphics that are very good looking for a simulation game, results in a spectacular experience. The ability to test my newly fixed and customized car in a race or test track is a very cool feature, but also serves as a reminder that the "fix, replace, and customize" part of the game is far more important, due to how rough it can look & feel at times. In general, the game is superb, and the amount of detail put into every little part is incredible. Some might think the gameplay is boring, but I can guarantee that that's not the case in any way cause of how dynamic and varied it is. I've had a ton of fun in it and can't recommend it enough to every car fan, especially since it truly is a dream come true to car enthusiasts.
Car Mechanic Simulator is available both digitally and physically for the fair price of $30 in the Xbox Store. Interested in buying the game? That can be done here: Car Mechanic Simulator - Microsoft Store. A review code was provided by PlayWay for review purposes. This review is written by Jesper Ingemansson, and is based on his honest opinion about the game.