Ryu’s Musings – Bounty Train (PC)

Note: Apologies for the lack of activity the past few weeks. Both the PS4 and PC died within a day of each other, so we decided to take the time to renovate the office a bit, as well as go for new PC altogether rather than just fixing the old.

box artLanguage: Audio: English; Subs: English
Developer: Corbie Games
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Format: PC
Type: Simulation, Strategy
Demo Box: PC
Synopsis: Explore the dangerous life, the accurate historic events and contemporary inventions of the North American/US 19th century. Acquire one of the most legendary steam machines and transform it into a fortress on rails.

The concept of this game really appealed to me, wild west, train heists, trying to turn a profit on a train line while fighting off bandits both on and off the line! While the game does certainly deliver on those promises, it does so in a rather weak way, and for me, ultimately ends up being a bit of a let down.

There’s a lot wrong with this game, besides it’s weak delivery, yet despite that I have found myself playing on and off since I got it, no long sessions (looking at you ME: Andromeda and your 28hour sessions!!), just short bursts of 20-30 minutes.

The game itself is visually ‘average’ there’s nothing really stand out about it. Yet it’s by no means an ugly game, nor is it a colourful game. Honestly, I can only describe it as average. It docent leave any sort of impression on the player.

Now lets move onto the meat of the game, the gameplay. For me this is where the frustration set in.

The start of the game is an annoying ride, little to no direction on what you’re supposed to be doing. Tied with tool tips that for some reason are hidden off screen, and overlapping others, hiding them.

The game is text heavy, especially the campaign, at times it felt more like a visual novel than a game. Which admittedly is neither a good or bad thing, but it is something you’ll need to consider. If you’re not into reading this could be a turn off.

The tutorial is all over the place and at times I found it a little confusing, and ended up just pressing random buttons to see what happened. Thankfully though once you get a grip on the game you’re off and running, and it’s surprisingly fun!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The game is split into 2 parts. First we have the economics side of things, which is amazing fun. Your father has been murdered (presumably by his business partner) so you return and take up his mantle. Your aim is to stop a war with the indians, stop your fathers old partner ripping off the government (how dare he!!), and basically make a but load of money.

You do this by running from city to city on your clunky train carrying cargo and passengers while looking for your remaining family. The split up family is a very weak plot contrivance, especially when you find your brother, and he says ht while he gets letters regularly, he docent know where they are.

So yeah, ignore the story!

To be honest, I had a lot of fun trundling around, trading, moving passengers and letters, basically treating the game as a economic sim of sorts. If thats the way you play (and you can in the sandbox mode) it’s actually not a bad game.

However there was one damn annoying things, illegal goods. While checking out the prices I found alcohol was selling for insane prices in New York, so I bought as much as I could and set off. It would be a close thing,  having just enough coal and no money left. Off we went, fought off the roving bandits and finally arrived in New York, to be told alcohol is illegal, if I go into the city i’ve 100% chance of being caught, and i’ve no coal left.

For me, this was the frustrating point. Surely I (as in my character) would know what’s illegal and legal in which city? This was made worse by some actually having a a notice on them in the trade market saying they were illegal in which city. Talk about frustrating!

That said, if you take your time, plan, it’s a lot of fun, almost cathartic! It reminds me a lot of the old Sid Meir’s Trains game that was just as relaxing to play.

It does sadly have this honking big wart attached to the game, combat.

The combat in the game is mind numbingly dull and frankly enough to send you to sleep. There’s nothing satisfying in it, nor anything rewarding, its just there, sucking out your soul.

So you’re trundling along on your train and you get into combat, which for some reason stops the train, no idea why! You have to get the train going again from cold, which takes ages, and no i’m not kidding. There’s nothing else really to do in combat, other than watch them try and shoot each other in the most dull way possible.

Then the bugs(?) crop up. Horses running through the train, men being shot dead, but still keep on shooting. Barricades on the tracks being half ignored, as in the train will go through the barricade a little before stopping. Then the event s over, and I celebrate.

Overall I have to admit that despite the great big ugly wart that is combat, this is actually a fun game. What’s more it’s not a triple A release game, running only £18.99. At this price i’d say the game is worth a gamble, especially if you liked the afore mentioned Sid Meir’s game. While its not an exact comparison, the feel of it was there for me!

I think adding an option to turn off the combat, make it a behind the scenes thing, would greatly improve the game. For me the combat really holds the game back and makes me want to walk away every time it crops up.

But I do still feel the game is worth playing!

Author: Ryu Sheng