When I was a wee lad, I remember sitting in a classroom with my career advisor. He asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up. I told him without a second’s hesitation that I wanted to be a fireman. I remember him looking at me with what I now know to be pity before saying that I’d be better off going in a different direction due to my crippling asthma. In fact, he then suggested I don’t attempt any kind of physical work. Bear in mind that I was just 11 years old at the time, this was pretty heart-breaking.
Here and now in 2016 I’m 26 years old. I’ve done every extreme activity under the sun – seriously, no limits – and I happily smoke a pack of cigs every day. So I like a challenge. Imagine, then, that there was a game that let you live out the life of a fireman. A game that gives your inner child the fulfillment it always wanted. That game is real. That game is total shite.
I don’t even know where to begin with Firefighters – The Simulation. Ordinarily I’d make a fair case for a game, weigh up its pros and cons, point out what I liked and disliked, where I could see room for improvement in the inevitable sequel. It’s something I typically do as I play a game. Firefighters – The Simulation broke my method by having me curse every moment I wasted on it.
The game starts with you in a fire station. You get told (via in-game text) that you’re on shift and that you’ll be driving the crappy van. This is the game’s idea of progression. You start off with a crappy van, then you complete your tasks to get points, then when you reach a certain amount of points you get a promotion. A very accurate simulation of the real-life fire service…
The first thing that offended me was the complete absence of colour, detail, and fun. Finding my crappy van was easy enough, then I had to content with the dodgy driving. Now I wasn’t expecting vehicles to handle like Forza, Gran Turismo or Driveclub, but when I can drive through a person or another car but come to a sudden stop when I hit a measly roadside, things aren’t looking good.
My first emergency call-out was to a small fire. Pumped up and ready to go, I blared my sirens and got the lights flashing. I reached a top speed of 70kph, and it was all for a dustbin. Yes, a bin had caught fire. Still, I dutifully retrieved my fire extinguisher from the back of my crappy van and put the fire out. Job done. Back in the crappy van and back to the station. Halfway there I get another call-out to a suspicious liquid spillage. On go my blues and twos and I’m at the scene within moments.
I get out of my van and approach the barrel that’s leaking a “suspicious” liquid. Then I got an on-screen message saying that I had gotten too close to this liquid and that I am severely injured and that my shift for the day is over. Hmm. Last time I was severely injured, I managed to get a whole three days off from work. Maybe I really wasn’t cut out to be a firefighter…
The gameplay is just more of what I’ve already outlined above. Go here, do this. Go there, do this. Clean your vehicle between shifts. Go and do this. Drive this less crappy vehicle. It’s not a game, it’s a chore and a bore. Now I’m not totally against the idea of the game, but its execution was painful to say the least. Similar games run on my smartphone perfectly well (I’m a sucker for Farming Simulator…) yet this struggled to maintain a decent frame-rate during the course of play. Maybe I’d be a little more understanding if that was because it’s pumping out some top-tier graphics, but it’s not. This game look and runs like a bad PS2 game. It’s a shambles, basically, and it simulates absolutely nothing.
Again, I like the idea behind the game. There are some smart ideas buried within the pile of shite that got pushed out the door, but good ideas don’t make a good game. Strangely (or perhaps not) this game and others of its kind are hugely popular in Germany – the home nation of the game’s developer. When I go to my local electronics store (Saturn) to have a mooch amongst the games, there is a full section dedicated to just simulator games. I don’t mean like one little shelf area, I mean an entire wall with over 50 different simulator games. Maybe in the hands of a logical-thinking German this game would be the mutts nuts, but to me it’s utter shite. Do yourself a favour and avoid this one, even if you have to run into a burning building to get away from it.
Firefighters - The Simulation PS4 Review
Firefighters - The Simulation is nothing short of piss-poor. Maybe this kind of stuff is fine with the German market of control freaks, but for me it's a complete and utter waste of time. There are some good ideas, but that's all they are at this point. The game feels like a rough first-draft of a final product, so the fact it's being sold as a full game is ridiculous.
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*Reviewed using a PS4 Slim.