Not so much a train simulator as a train set simulator, Trainz 2006 gives you as many engines, carriages and consists as you can handle, chucks scenery from around the world into the toy box and lets you drive around over 50 pre-existing routes. Or you can make your own, usually in the shape of your initials or a cock and balls. You know it's true.
Apart from the amount of content, things haven't moved on very much since the 2004 version. A few nips and tucks here and there, refined content controls, better tutorials and a slight expansion of the simulation 'rules' to make driving your choochoos a touch harder, but otherwise it all looks much the same as before. Even graphically it hasn't really moved on, content to wallow in its own little corner of the gaming world.
Just because Trainz is aimed at a niche market, that doesn't excuse shoddy presentation and a lack of overall polish though. It may do exactly what it sets out to, and the existing community may well create webloads of extra content, tracks, trains, routes and scenery, but that doesn't mean it's any good. Just lacking in competition, that's all.
Once EA's attempt to plant a flag in another sector of gaming comes to fruition (with
Rail Simulator - the extension of the brand once owned by Microsoft), bringing with it all the usual EA production values, half-hearted efforts like Trainz simply won't stand a chance. The railway children are about to grow up.
Off the rails