Not along after the release of Train Simulator 2014, fans eager for more content can already expand their game through the downloadable Pacific Surfliner LA - San Diego route. While the downloadable route can be added to the collection of current Train Simulator 2014 owners, it also functions as a standalone game as it includes the necessary core technology. As its title suggests, the route encompasses the 128 mile Pacific Surfliner railroad service that runs between downtown Los Angeles and San Diego. The route has players navigating their locomotive through and alongside sprawling cityscapes, valleys, hills, and beaches to name a few. In addition, players travel by a variety of landmarks from Angel Stadium and San Clemente Pier to Miramar Hill and San Juan Capistrano Station.
For traveling along the route, the downloadable content includes the Pacific Surfliner consist that is powered by the EMD F59PHI diesel locomotive in navy blue and grey Amtrak livery. A neat addition to locomotive includes a drivable cab car as the route doesn't contain any turning facilities, which results in a push-pull service. The locomotive's interior is fully-modeled with active buttons and switches along with dynamic gages that display speed and other such indicators. Passenger cars also have detailed interiors in which players can relax in and enjoy the cityscapes and countrysides as the train moves along the route. Tutorials are included for series newcomers that feature both the game's controls as well as an introduction to the F59PHI locomotive.
As with other Train Simulator series routes, a selection of career scenarios are included that range from simple passenger trips along sections of the railway to events at night that showcase the environment covered in neon lights and illumination from the locomotive. The scenarios vary in difficulty with only a few that are focused on series newcomers. The route between Los Angeles and San Diego can be more challenging for beginning players as sections of the railway include frequent speed changes in addition to sharp turns in rural areas. The frequent speed changes in particular make completing some of the scenarios difficult as negative points add up quickly, which in turn results in lack of experience for career progression. Fortunately, the quick play mode is always available that allows for players to set start and end points, weather, season, and time of day.
While much of the route between Los Angeles and San Diego contains a variety of locales and landmarks, the lack of interesting content between them is disappointing. Much of the buildings used in city sections are excessively copied and unfortunately, not that visually interesting to view. As well, the city areas are lacking in dense traffic of automobiles and people walking along streets. Ultimately, the downloadable content suffers from the modest visual improvements in the recent Train Simulator 2014 version. The best visuals on the route occur in the rural areas during the day, while the city sections are more impressive during the night. Even with the route authentically-modeled after its real-life counterpart, the journey between the two cities isn't that interesting or exciting as others in the base game or downloadable content.
The Pacific Surfliner LA - San Diego route is best recommended to series veterans as newcomers to Train Simulator might have difficulty navigating through the frequent speed changes. As well, better routes exist in the Train Simulator 2014 base game that are more welcoming to beginning players. Yet, even fans of the series might be disappointed by the lacking visuals and overall slow route. Still, the majority of content included in both the route between Los Angeles and San Diego and the Pacific Surfliner locomotive are solid additions to the base game.
The Pacific Surfliner LA - San Diego route for Train Simulator 2014 is available now through Steam.
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