Дальнобойщики 3: Покорение Америки
Издатель в России:
P4-2.4, 1 GB RAM, 128 MB 3D Card
Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0, 2 GB RAM, 256 MB 3D Card
Игра вышла: 27.11.2009
Welcome to California!
We have the most pleasant job in the world:
whole day sitting near a bed and staring out of the window.
A joke of the German truckers.
If your gaming experience started from the ZX Spectrum platform, probably you remember the old game named Juggernaut (1985) which had to be loaded from an audio tape cassette. There you could ride your truck through the city, gathering specific numbers of fruit, coal and other commodities, trying not to damage the vehicle too much and watching the gas levels. Since then, the key foundations of this concept have remained virtually unchanged. Russian series Hard Truck was successfully launched in 1998, with the release of the first episode, called The Path to Victory, which received fair accolade from users and critics, especially in its country of origin.
Successful mix of racing and business elements has allowed the concept to be aimed at a wide audience. It helped the line-up to build up its strong fan-base. The sequel has appeared in 2001 and featured three dozen of licensed trucks produced by famous automakers. The place of action switched to the Russian territories. A player had to interact with local police and avoid any road criminals. The soundtrack of the game was recorded by a Russian heavy metal band, "Aria".
Almost immediately after the sequel, the developers of the SoftLab-NSK, Russian studio based in Novosibirsk, started the work on the new game entitled Rig'n'Roll. SoftLab-NSK is a small team comprising about 20 people who also make professional simulators and visualization systems. Designers came up with a very ambitious and complex task. Instead of a fictitious map, they decided to digitize the real-world territory – the roads of California. Indeed, the landscape of this Golden State with its capital in the city of Sacramento is very diverse: here you can find mountains, hills, canyons and cliffs, rising more than 4 km above sea level. This region is home to a well-known basin, nicknamed Death Valley, and the famous peak of the U.S., Mt. Whitney.
The developers have decided not to rely on the data taken from satellites or the Internet and went on the transatlantic voyage, where they traveled the roads of California and became acquainted with many long-haul trucks and their drivers. The team actively videotaped all the interesting details they encountered. Moreover, the authors didn’t forget to pay attention to common weather conditions and in-game forecasts of meteorologists settled in Rig'n'Roll. California and its coastline is known for its moderately hot summers, warm winters and an abundance of sunny days throughout the year, which allows orange groves and vineyards to flourish. California is called the "Golden State", and not only for its favorable climate, but also for the fact that in the XIX century deposits of the precious metal were discovered there. Many modern companies of the region are working for Pentagon's contracts.
The American Dream
The main hero of the game is a Russian trucker, Nick Perepelov, what allows the project, which will be published in the Western countries, to remember its roots. In 2014 Nick arrives to the U.S. to create his own transportation business, where he meets his old friend, Matthew Tearson, working for a shipping company of Spyros Topoquinaki, who also employs Cochraine Jones, a plain and down to earth trucker at a first glance. Matthew helps Nick to establish his first office and even drives him straight to its building, as soon as two friends discuss the new opportunities. Nick's enterprise is named "Nick Trucking". Inside there is already a secretary doing her duties and a working fashionable computer system that allows you to manage your company through visiting different screens and giving out new orders. Since then, you will be on your own to make any decisions.
One of the main strong points of the game is its detailed and opened to exploration world. Due to the special data compression algorithms on a scale of 1:10, two thousand kilometers of virtual roads show 20 thousand kilometers of those that actually exist. On a trip between the two farthest points on the map you will have to spend up to two hours of real-time depending on the skill of your virtual driving. On average, a game day passed for about one hour of real-time.
Three modes of difficulty determine the initial capital, although from the start Nick gets his Freightliner Argosy, one of the best trucks available in the game. To earn the new money, you need to get behind the wheel and sign up various freight contracts. The most of them is offered by the California Coast Warehouse Association (CCWA). To cooperate with its representatives in different cities, you'll need to open new branch offices in certain regional centers. The total number of settlements in the game reaches 40, though you won't find a cargo terminal in all of them. You have to invest tens of thousand dollars to open a new office selected from the list with 11 names. You’ll have to fulfill 10-15 profitable contracts over short distances to be able to acquire the necessary sum to be able to expand for the first time.
Your Headquarters is located in Oxnard which is also a place where new plot triggers could be activated. Once you establish a relationship with the "CCWA" in a certain region, you will be able to enter nearby warehouses and pick out a new cargo there. The most common tasks are presented in two types: simply racing and racing with a trailer. In the first case, you have to get ahead of the competitors on the road to reach the destination being the leader in a race, while the latter asks you to deliver a trailer without damaging the goods inside.
A Delivery Man
Rig'n'Roll features more than 200 goods' types, including food, electronics, industrial equipment, tools and construction vehicles, animals and even toys. Informative display lets you track up all the necessary information while visiting any warehouse: the amount of cargo, the presence of competitors on the track (usually - up to 6), the allotted time for travel, weight and fragility of the goods carried, as well as the money sanctions for the failure of the assignment. The map instantly shows you the path to the destination with arrow. If you think it is too far away, you can pick up another freight contract. Sometimes if your thinking takes too long, a very attractive order with the payment being up 1,5-2 times, than the usual rate, can be taken up by other truckers, since you aren't the only one carrying cargo for money in this game world. Every successful trip raises the confidence rating of Nick in the eyes of his partners. Later on, it will help you to sign more experienced drivers for your company. If you inflicted any damage to the trail, you’ll have to compensate it to your employer, who will not pay you a specific money bonus if you lose a competition race with trailers.
Certainly, the game isn't only about visiting different warehouses to find new contracts. There are other places where you could look for a job for various people and companies. For example, you can visit a local bar in almost any town and read a newspaper there. One of such mission types is called "Tender" and resembles an auction where for free you have to rush out to the specified place and get there first to be able to sign a much more profitable contract. If you win such a race, and fulfill the next assignment after it, your services will be paid with double or triple fares. Some NPC will also ask you to take them or their parcels on board (on at a time). If you are offered to ride to another town, probably you can find a new good order there, even if you heard information about it from local news coming out to the radio in your truck.
There is also a separate mission type involving the transportation of trailers. There is some variety in the context, though you will still have to haul goods from and to the places specified by a customer. At one time you will be asked to assist the local casino network and deliver the necessary equipment. You may decide if you wish to help to save a wounded trucker on the road or upon request to fulfill a contract of another driver by picking up his cargo and completing the associated task. Such employers prefer to provide assignments in sequences. When you successfully finish one of them and visit the place where you took the quest earlier, there is a high chance to be able to get some new goals. Unfortunately, if you decline the offer at least once or fail the mission, it'll block the new optional tasks along this branch till you start a completely new game.
For the first time in the Hard Truck series Rig'n'Roll features a storyline, though we've got an impression that the original draft of it was longer and filled with many more events, that settled in the final version of the game. Inside the game we were able to find enough signs to make such a suggestion. For example, Nick is often surrounded by different women and he is attracted to some of them, but the spark enhancing the story this way is missing or was postponed for the future updates, where developers promised to expand the game world up to Las Vegas.
The fate will make Nick quickly dive in the maelstrom of unusual events happening at the highways of California. A mysterious company, Storm Express, and its drivers are hunting out for valuable cargo. Matthew suddenly disappears and Topoquinaki is going bankrupt. You will have to face police intervention, meet a special agent leading the investigation and find sudden ways to solve dangerous problems.
Completion of a storyline is one of the two main objectives of the game. In the process of reaching it, you’ll have the chance to ride an unique racing truck named "Cheetah" and get the feeling of the charming traveling across the country. Also this way you'll be able to earn the title of "The Best Trucker of the Year" and get additional 500 thousand dollars to develop your own business, so it all is worth it. To get a new storyline quest you just have to check up your Oxnard's office regularly, somewhere in the city limits you will get a new mission. Many of them assignments are obligatory to perform. When you catch up the villains, you can keep on playing as long as you want with all the other options the game offers.
If you take on a meaningful story quest and fail it, sometimes it'll lead you to an immediate bankruptcy or even Nick dying in an accident. In the most dynamic moments of the adventure, it is forbidden to save your game, so you'll have to try hard to be able to get to the specified places on time till it is too late. Sometimes your dialogue choices will only affect the possibility to see an additional in-game video or simply learn facts about the events from a phone call. In general, you have to save your game as often as possible, since we noted, that an emergency restart of your computer while being in the game, can make a save file corrupted and completely inaccessible. Save files are safe though if you managed to exit the game successfully.
Another dream of Nick is the Economic Victory. Your competitors are other transportation companies, which are gradually building up their might and increase the controlled market's share, although this fight never reaches an aggressive phase. Instead there is a statistical struggle for the title of the "Best Golden State Transportation Business", where everything is decided by the number of employed drivers and the amount of your turnover, although it would be interesting to see some more clashes with the opponents and personally to contribute something to ruining the assets of your rivals.
Your Personal Directorship
In any his office Nick can buy new cars for the employees or change his own truck as well as hire new drivers. The longer you collaborate with the same manufacturers, staff agencies and car dealers, the bigger discounts you will get for their offerings. You'll personally select people to work as the truck drivers of your company considering their experience, criminal records and safe driving statistics.
Managing staff includes working with different sliders: wages, types of missions allowed (racing or racing with trailers), the fragility of the picked goods for transportation, the average distance traveled, the conditions of a vehicle, its dynamics and control smoothness. There is some trial and error task here and there to get the perfect balance between these indicators to maximize your profits while ensuring the loyalty of your subordinates not to lose any of them. There is a neat red cell on this screen, if you adjust sliders the way the number in the cell is at its maximum, you can get really high income fast, though this possibility might be removed with one of the upcoming patches.
The game each day will notify you about the overall losses of your company and will report the revenue amount and the expenditures given out as a cash advance to your truckers. The economy model is interesting enough and allows you to experience the growth of your business and its rising profitability, although perhaps it is still happening too quickly, what the newcomers will enjoy, though it could disappoint experienced players, and you should keep that in mind when selecting a difficulty mode before the start.
Rig'n'Roll offers you 13 trucks' models for buying, including such famous licensed titles as Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star. Some trucks are accurately modeled, though they had to be added without an appropriate license, you will still see the similarities with the Kenworth and Peterbilt brands. Most likely, SoftLab-NSK will add new cars in an expansion pack for the game.
The physics of the engine has been improved, but it is still in line with the previous Hard Truck episodes. If you own a Racing Wheel Controller which is a DirectX-compatible device you'll get additional pleasant emotions while driving, but usage of a simple keyboards is comfortable as well. It isn’t totally realistic that you can fit almost in any of the steepest curves. Clearly, some simplification of the real physics has been made in this area counting the skills of the target audience and to strike a balance between the controls complexity and entertaining value. However, there are some nice points implemented: appreciable wear of a braking system and tires after careless driving, their influence on the dynamics of the truck, etc. In other words, you will actually feel there is something wrong with your car as soon as it gets some damage from crashes.
Collisions with other objects at times don't look very convincing or realistic and hardly you’ll be able to slow the movement of other vehicles on the roads. Much more often, you will be sent out behind the sideline and your engine will stop working after an impact with a road's borders. The damage model is detailed though. You can expect seeing the cracked front window, shaking bumper, car body defects and if you delay the necessary repairs you will get a bunch of additional difficulties while controlling your truck. Reckless drivers with fuel trailers can even blow up a whole gas station and make Nick die in the process.
While driving, you have to monitor your gas level and periodically visit gas stations for refueling. Such objects are usually located at truck stops, where there are also other useful buildings. At the service station you can change the appearance of your truck and exchange car parts for better ones (engines, brakes systems, nitro, and others), spending some money on upgrades and new devices (a rear-view camera, rain sensor, cruise-control system, GPS, a spare gas tank). Modernization is complicated by the fact that all the components are randomly scattered across different service stations, so you must actively travel around the state to collect everything you desire. If you urgently need money, you can always sell some upgrades at any service station. You can handle your improved truck to one of your drivers, though then you will have to start the enhancement of your new car from the beginning.
You can customize the appearance of your truck which includes changing the color of a car body, tinting of side glasses, modifying the decor of your driver's cabin, instrument panel, the style of sensors, the color and decorative properties of paint, varnish coating, and so forth. You can even look behind the seat to learn a bit more about the living conditions of the truckers.
There are also road motels for a short staying. There you can specify how many hours you will rest and Nick will be charged for every hour spent there. Sometimes you have to wait till the desired character arrives to a cafe or maybe you just don't want to drive in the night or in bad weather conditions. It is an unaffordable luxury to take such a break when you are on a mission though, since then you rarely have a single spare minute. If your truck runs out of fuel or is badly damaged you have to call for an expensive emergency service to get back on track instantly after paying your check.
The authors planned to include American Driving Rules in the game and they partially succeeded. Police here is really strict. Even after a slight touch of your truck with another vehicle, dangerous driving or wrong timing in changing lanes, you will hardly escape the punishment. The police vehicles appear from nowhere, starts chasing you to fine you and make you lose some money instantly. If you hit a police car, you’ll have to pay additional charges, though Nick never gets arrested. Sometimes cops lose the sight of Nick's truck, but even if you got away, you will still be fined for a former crime as soon as you meet another patrol on the road. On the other hand, if you drive the wrong lane, you will have to pay only if you encounter a police car yourself.
The main problem with the police in Rig'n'Roll is not only its immediate response to any accident, no matter when and where you are, but also implicating a player all the time. Meanwhile, in this virtual world there are a lot of reckless drivers desperately trying to throw their cars under your wheels or even suddenly starting dangerous maneuvers in a close proximity to your huge truck. At times, AI cars demonstrate extreme U-turns or just unexpectedly reduce the speed of their vehicles to a complete halt to make such an U-Turn. It is better to evade such "dummies" quickly here, since you don’t have much free time to deal with crashes and interaction with police. In addition, after a collision, you might lose your trailer and won’t even notice it, if you don't switch your view or track the small icons in the top of the screen. You will have to get back, pick up the trailer and deliver it to the place of destination on time. If you drive too far from your trailer, you will be forced with its evacuation procedure, fail a contract and will have to compensate all the damages to employer's property. Of course, you won't get a single cent for this shipping order.
Not everyone will like the fact that most of the time you will spend driving on high-speed inter-city highways, but it does reflect some reality aspects, since big trucks are forbidden to appear along the city streets. You will be able to see different towns and villages, or even get acquainted with old country roads, though we would enjoy seeing more of this. Steepest curves will lead you up to the mountains to provide a tour along the major Californian routes. At first, you need to follow all the road signs carefully and don't miss important transport junctions. These usually provide a single opportunity for a quick exit out of a highway to reach another one as required. If you did pass it by, you have two options: drive more minutes forward to find a way to make a proper U-Turn or turn around immediately and drive Wrong Lane till you get back to the important road point wishing not to meet any police vehicles. Often here, you just don't have enough time to be a law-abiding trucker. Later on, you will get a cool GPS while visiting one of the service stations. This device will show you the shortest path to your current goal. Just as in real life you have to get used to the fact that sometimes it recommends desperate U-Turns, though if you drive your own way, GPS will change its recommendations accordingly to match them up with your plans.
Been here, done this, while that failed
Any project has its own drawbacks. In this case we can criticize the triggers enabling new missions. Activation of certain quests is related to approaching to certain settlements. It is assumed that the user will be traveling along the map, visiting different places all the time, but the developers weren't ready to the fact, that if you are driving close to a town, you might simply pass it by to go to your other destination. Those who will leave their Headquarters far away would experience difficulties in finding the opportunities to advance the plot, while gamers willing to haul back goods over same two short distances are going to be overwhelmed with new tasks as soon as they leave their common area of freight operations.
While carrying out an ordinary order of CCWA, we had to deal with other suggestions coming from new customers as well as new plot quests. At some point on the road from San Clemente to Santa Barbara with a trailer at the entrance to Los Angeles a strict woman calls. She asks to pick up the goods in Los Angeles and move in opposite from Santa Barbara direction to reach San Diego. She threatens with sanctions and says that all future cooperation will be terminated if we decline her offer or fail it. A few minutes later being close to Oxnard a friend calls Nick saying that they have an urgent meeting in a small village based on the other corner of the map. The available time is calculated in such a way, that you will only be able to get to one out of these three places on time.
Often it leads to additional fines, immediately requires to turn around and rush out to reach your new goal just to avoid defeat or losing some very profitable contracts. As a result, some of the intriguing Rig'n'Roll content misses Nick, because not enough time is given to carry out all the tasks at once. Certainly, when you become more experiences, learn the virtual roads and the main quests spots, you will be more careful and in time you will be able to successfully complete many optional in-game missions, though it can be hardly be during the first time you play.
There could be other ways for solving this problem, for example, an extension of the time limits of removing them fully from all the tasks, except the ordinary CCWA missions and some plot quests. It would be nice if the optional quests were given in special offices so a gamer would subscribe to a new assignment only when he or she is ready to. It would be wise to locate warehouses close to such places to be able to pick up the necessary shipment right away without spending time on searching an abandoned trailer dropped somewhere. Even more difficult to work with the secret missions where you could earn a lot of additional cash. For that to happen you not only need to make actions in a correct sequence by visiting certain bars and reading newspapers there, but also to be attentive on the road and find the man or a trailer with goods for transportation hidden somewhere on a highway or in a city area.
Booster for an engine
You won't meet pedestrians, traffic lights and racing championships in Rig'n'Roll, since developers didn’t have enough time to implement all of them at a decent level. However, they now have a more urgent task, which included the optimization of a graphics engine, where the visualization of special effects is quite demanding to the resources of your system. You don’t have to level up all the graphics options to the maximum, but if you do that, even your mighty computer can fail to provide a necessary FPS rate for comfortable playing. You can turn off some extremely hungry features like 3D-clouds and dense road traffic, which only adds difficulties while driving, to raise up the FPS rate to an acceptable level.
The overall graphics level is relatively weak in this game, since it's been in development for a long time, though it is still consistent with what could be seen in the latest promotional videos. You can use different camera angles to watch your truck from almost any perspective. Among strong points we can name the detailed trucks models and the appearance of any trailers. If you’re carrying pipes, you will see pipes. If the goodies are stored in a closed container you can track its contents by the image placed on the back door and the name of the employer on the sides of such trailer.
You can expect changing weather conditions from a sunny day to a rainy one, as well as the day to night cycle, although truck lights don't have enough brightness, even if you turn on the far lights, it is still dark in the far spots of the road and you have to be extremely careful while mastering the steepest curves in the mountains. A bug with one of the trucks makes its hood furiously beat the front window so it is nearly impossible to move at high speeds. Interior, vegetation and buildings textures leave a lot to be desired. However, the authentic greeting signs, the appearance of famous bridges is a nice addition to the virtual Californian territory. In the Collector’s Edition of the game you can find a souvenir key chain in the form of a truck, the map of the in-game world with key roads and truck stops, and the printed user’s manual.
There are also some things to be corrected regarding the in-game interface. We would like to see a more simplified way to turn the signal lights off and a more comfortable scrolling supporting the mouse wheel so you could easily reach the line in the list you need. You can save your game even while driving, but then be ready to be loaded at the same speed and get ready to maneuver your truck and avoid any collisions. At times, when exiting a warehouse you can crash into another car leaving its territory, since you just won’t have enough time to stop before something nasty happens. When we visit a bar, Nick leaves his truck without turning the engine off and when he gets back in Nick has to start the engine again.
So far we've had no complaints with the work of cruise-control, GPS and windshield wipers. Though we would like to see an enlarged picture from the rear view camera, bigger images from the side mirrors, a visible textual warning accompanying the sudden decoupling of a trailer. Over time, you will get used to the menu screen, where you have to avoid the "Reset" button and not to forget clicking the "Apply All" one. Same videos showing Nick entering various buildings and doing ordinary tasks can't be skipped, in spite of the manual advice to use "Esc" for it.
We were unable to achieve the switching of active tasks at the navigational computer. You can scale your driver's map with using the "Ctrl-Tab" combination. It is very important, because only at the highest magnification you will see the detailed road maps as long as a destination point. Though if you have 3 active tasks at once and can’t switch the navigational system, you will be shown the path to the one, that is considered more important by the game.
There is also a "One Contract" mode where you can specify the basic settings, select your starting point, truck and its design, then enter the nearest warehouse to sign any goods transportation contract you like. If you are successful in fulfilling the terms or failed your duties, the game will end and exit to the main menu.
At the Russian forums, gamers has made a lot of requests about changing the sound effects. It seems like the modders have already started working on improving the game to add everything they want. For the average user the existing sound pack is quite sufficient. If the dialogues sometimes lack details, Russian voice-overs are really neat. There were at least four dozen of talented Russian actors who contributed their voices to the project. The names selected are really popular here since they do a lot of work for national radios and make Hollywood heroes speak Russian in our movie theaters. We hope that such high-quality voices will be picked for an English release of this game as well.
Soundtrack is delivered to you via 5 different radio stations which play music of certain styles, including country, pop-rock, and dance songs. If you have more favorable songs, feel free to add them into the built-in mp3-player. Occasionally it distorts the tempo of played songs, most likely to its inability to handle certain variable or extremely high bitrates. When you load your game, the mp3-player will get back to the song that had to be played after the one, where you saved your progress. An option allowing to listen the user’s track in random order would be a great addition, though it isn't at present.
The local radio station airs advertising blocks, shares original news and stories about the curious incidents related to the truckers’ lives and careers. Also can hear some useful information there. The authors managed to make such a radio station, which is no different from the one that every day works in your car.
So far Rig'n'Roll is the most exciting game about trucks and transportation business involving them. The economical aspects are strengthened in this title and expressed more clearly, but don't stop you from getting personal enjoyment while driving through the Californian highways. There is enough realism for an entertaining project for a wide audience which is better than if we had to deal with a hardcore simulator for a small group of veteran players. When managing your own transportation company you can make virtual money and find it a good use, although additional investment possibilities would come in handy.
Rig'n'Roll features a lot of intriguing details that enrich its atmosphere. Of course, all of this doesn't negate the need for further patches to fix the most crucial problems and a pack of annoying glitches, but in the past SoftLab-NSK already proved its ability to support their creations after the day of release. There is still time till the game appears in the Western countries, so it could be a nice chance for the team to improve the game even further. Though it is a pity that several options of Hard Truck 2: King of the Road have disappeared, but hopefully some of them will come back with an add-on to Rig'n'Roll.
It is not necessary to be a professional driver to quickly be charmed by traveling over the roads of California in Rig'n'Roll. Time flies by fast, you can accumulate plenty of funds, but will still deliberately want to ship at least one more cargo and drive to a distant corner of the map, steering your wheel to master steep curves, regularly checking your road guide, using cruise-control system while descending from a mountain in rainy darkness and listening to your favorite songs.
PlayHard Score: 78