World of Subways 2 - U7 Berlin review by Vito Caresimo 24/4/2016
Like most kids born in the 1970s I used to love trains, having an electric train set was the ultimate toy. Clockwork trains were also about as were battery trains but the ultimate set was a Hornby electric train set.
There were problems with this however, you needed space and lots of it to have a good setup. Accessories like trees and stations were expensive and to be honest after a while of watching the train go round and round it did get a bit boring as you couldn’t do much else.
Along came Train Simulator for the PC by Microsoft in July 2001 and now you could actually get inside trains, drive them, stop at stations and pick up passengers as well as seeing the train go by in 3D from outside!
Wow, lots of various tracks, trains and scenery from all over the world now at no cost of finding that extra space in your house!
But! there were no underground trains, going to London as a kid I loved travelling on the underground, the sounds of the train rushing through the tunnel, the “Mind the Gap” announcement , the posters on the platform wall, the insane amount of stations in London. Sadly nothing existed on PC at the time to simulate the underground trains.
Our lets Play video here:
World of Subways Volume 1 released in September 2008 finally bought the underground/metro system to the PC. World of Subways 1 covers the entire rail system of 22.2 km (13.8 mi) of track and 13 stations, which connects between the downtown areas in the borough of Manhattan in New York City and a few cities in the state of New Jersey. Usable rolling stock includes the refurbished PA2 and PA3 rail cars and the non-furbished PA4 rail cars.
World of Subways has since released 3 more volumes including Berlin, London and the latest which again is set in the USA.
This review will look at World of Subways 2, set in Berlin, Germany. It takes place in the Berlin U-Bahn's U7 line, the longest line in the system covering 31.8 km (19.8 mi) and 40 stations between Rathaus Spandau and Rudow. Unlike the other volumes, the entire route is underground. Usable rolling stock includes the F 90 and the H 01 subway cars.
When starting up the game you are presented with a few simple options. The interface is clean and easy to use with clear options. If you are starting the for the first time, you will need to create a profile. After creating a profile, you can then choose to create a schedule or start a mission.
Create a schedule
This allows you to create your own schedule. First of all you have to choose the desired route. Left click the route name – “for example Rathaus Spandau - Rudow”. After selecting the route you need to select the week day. There are three options: Mo-Fr, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. If you decide on shift operations, then this must be selected under the select option. Selecting shift operations means that the activity does not end when you reach the final station. After an optional evaluation the schedule continues in the opposite direction. If the final station is a terminus station, you will have to walk along the platform to the other end of the train and enter the driver’s cab there. Clicking on “Train selection” opens a further dialogue window where you can select the model type by clicking the double arrowed button with the left mouse button. You can scroll forwards by clicking the right double arrow and back by clicking the left double arrow. 13 You are also able to choose the number of carriages to pull.
Please observe that selecting a smaller number of carriages means longer station stops as there are fewer doors available for embarking and disembarking. Furthermore the scoring can be displayed after ending a journey. This can be done by selecting „Result“. Clicking “OK” confirms the selection and clicking “Cancel” returns you to the previous screen. The actual schedule is displayed in the lower half of the “Create schedule” dialogue window which begins in each case with the departure time of the corresponding station with the exception of the final station where the arrival time is stated. In order to choose a start time, click on the desired row with the left mouse button. This will then be shown with a blue background. Clicking “Start” begins the selected journey and clicking “Cancel” returns you to the previous screen.
This option allows you to select from a variety of pre set missions for you to complete.
This option shows you the details of the 2 trains that are available in World of Subways 2 in 3D.
Graphics and Sound Options
The Game also allows you to define various graphics options from anti-aliasing to resolution settings
I find that everything switched to high on an I7 system with GTX980 suffered no loss of performance at all and the frame rates were very smooth.
The game also allows you to switch on passengers at stations, AI trains and the Totmanns switch.
The Totmann switch is important if you just want to dive straight in and drive without reading the instructions first, if you don’t understand this, the train wont move! By selecting the “Set Totmanns switch” in the game options it means you don’t have to keep pressing this to move.
This way the driver’s safety device (default is the space key) only needs to be pressed once for continuous operation. Pressing the key again releases the driver’s safety device and the drive control returns to the home position. If the locking device is released during driving, you have 3 seconds to reset the driver’s safety device. If this is not done within this time, the automatic brakes will engage. If you don’t set the driver’s safety device, you will need to continually press it while driving. If you release the driver’s safety device during driving, you have 3 seconds to press it again. If this is not done within this time, the automatic brakes will engage. After this you will have to wait 1 minute before you can continue.
The simulator also supports Raildriver hardware as above and this can be activated via the game option “Activate Raildriver!
Driving the Train
Ok enough of the options, now to the fun bit, after setting your schedule and options starting the game places you in the cabin. The train is switched off. Pressing C allows you to move around the train! This is pretty cool, walking through the train if you forgot to switch on the passenger lights its dark but fear not you can use a torch! Pressing F will allow you to shine some light on the situation.
Pressing C to return to the cabin you can switch on the cabin lights by pressing Z and the carriage lights by pressing X. Now if you press C again and walk down the carriages the lights are on!
Next step is to set you destination. Pressing the F4 key allows you to bring up the destination monitor!
At first when I tried to set the destination NOTHING was happening! I couldn’t change it!
If this happens you need, press “F4” which will open a small monitor with two arrows. Press the CTRL key in order to select these arrows with the mouse pointer. Click on the appropriate side to scroll forwards (right arrow) and backwards (left arrow). Stations are displayed using their abbreviation. If you dont do this then passengers wont know where you train is going and you will lose points .
To move the F90 Train set the reverser to Forward (PAGEUP) , for the H Train you don’t need to do this and just proceed to next step below.
Press the Totmann switch (SPACE)
Press the UP arrow to throttle forward, you may need to press this a few times to get moving or if you are driving the H01 you can press the predefined speed keys (1-8) as below
Speed preselect 10 (H01) 1
Speed preselect 20 (H01) 2
Speed preselect 30 (H01) 3
Speed preselect 40 (H01) 4
Speed preselect 50 (H01) 5
Speed preselect 60 (H01) 6
Speed preselect 70 (H01) 7
Speed preselect +5 (H01) 8.
Once the train moves off it’s a great feeling, watch you speed however, approach the station then slow down and stop to let the passengers in.
Now it’s a case of stopping on time letting passengers board and alight at the various stations. You can use the various monitors to help you along:
The current time monitor (T key) helps you to check the current time, you should have made a note of your departure time when creating your schedule, the current time monitor helps to know what time you need to depart.
The Route monitor helps to watch your speed and observer the speed limits as well as the signals and door monitors.
It also shows the next station and distance, You can view this by pressing the F1 key. If you decide to use this during shift operations with subsequent evaluation, 5 percent will be deducted from the total result.
One you need to check the passengers boarding and alighting is the Station monitor which you can bring up by pressing F2. This also shows your current station, departure and arrival times as above.
World of Subways 2 also has a great external view, you can see the trains rushing through the tunnels and arriving at stations, in addition to the explore camera you have a number of options available to you to see the world from different angles and this is a great touch. It allows you to appreciate the great graphics and scenery as you are driving your train.
As well as the monitors and driving controls available there are also station announcements which add to the realism, they are in German but you can use various announcements like what the next station is, which doors are opening , Ive put a list of these below with English Translation.
Sometimes emergencies also happen and these too are catered for in the sim, pressing the V key allows you to radio in and get help, once you do this you wait and follow instructions!
The stations are well detailed and the very busy station Hermannplatz. This station is 7m in height, 22m in width and is 132 m long. Seems more like a cathedral when you´re in it.
Then there´s „Zitadelle“, inspired by the nearby Spandau Zitadelle, a very famous medieval fortress and one of the most well-known touristic sites in Berlin and certainly in Berlin-Spandau.
The longest journey time covers 31.8 km and 40 stations!
World of Subways in m y opinion is underrated, it’s a great series and easily on par with Train Simulator 2016, perhaps it doesn’t get as much publicity as Train Simulator 2016 but its easily as good and if not better in some areas with regards to the explore mode and in some cases better graphics!
No one does the underground simulators like TML and this is by far the best underground simulator series on any platform. The sounds are authentic, the career modes keep you interested and driving the trains are simply awesome. A great buy!
Default Keys List
You can get World of Subways Volume 2 Berlin on Steam £10.99 GBP, sometimes it’s on sale too so watch out for the bargain. http://store.steampowered.com/app/283600/
PCSIMULATORS SCORE 9/10