Game Review: Railroads!

Published on Jan 05, 2009 Games Reviews « Prev Next »

I’m a bit of a Sid Meier’s fan – He will likely go down in history as the king of turn based strategy games with the introduction of the Civilization franchise in the early 1990’s.

Having said that, I must admit that I don’t enjoy the civilization franchise at all..  In fact, I really can’t stand that game.  I have tried to like them but I just don’t enjoy any of the civilization games..   But his other games are great!  To this day I still have very fond memories of F-15 Strike Eagle.. I played the hell out of that game..hehe

The games of his that I enjoy most are the business simulation games revolving around the rail roads.  Specifically the Railroad Tycoon games.   I have played all three and I enjoyed them very much.  It’s been years, of course since the last game came out and thus the whole genre sort of fell off my radar.

I was watching the history channel the other night when they were talking about railroads and steam engines and was reminded of the good ol’days of Tycoon’ing and thought I would check out the franchise to see whats happened in the intervening years.  Needless to say I was stoked when I saw a new addition.

I hopped on to Direct2Drive and picked up a copy of  Sid Meier’s Railroads! for the low price of $19.

I must admit – I’m disappointed.  The game was billed as the sequal to Tycoon 3 and I say pshaw!   It’s no such thing.  While very pretty, it’s extremely simplified.  They removed all the stuff that people enjoy with business simulations.. like.. I dunno.. the business..and managing that business..

This game is almost juvenile in it’s game play in that you don’t have to do anything.. just lay track between two points, throw down a train slap on some cars.. leave the room.  The game does everything else.  Usually poorly.

The train routing is just awful!  One of the things I enjoyed about the old games was the designing of the track layout and then routing trains in such a way to take advantage of that.  The new game has 100% automated train routing and it’s just bad.  The trains often will use the wrong set of track, no matter how many different routes you lay.  So you then have 2 trains head to head when there are 3 and 4 parallel tracks that one of them could have used.

The map is tiny!!  Remember the days of laying track from New York to LA?  Gone.  The new maps are a tiny portion of any given land mass..

Simply put, Railroads! is very much the dumbed down and simplified version of Railroad Tycoon 3.   If you’re looking for a good game for a kid then it’s probably great.. but if you’re looking for the challenge of complex economic cycles and rail road management… pass this one up and reload Tycoon 3.