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Bus Driver
Review By: Jared Black
Developer: SCS Software
Publisher: Meridian4
Genre: Driving
ESRB: Everyone
# Of Players: 1
Online Play: No
Accessories: N/A
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For all of the bluster about how the supposed death of PC gaming is always on the horizon, the format has continued to thrive year after year despite the negativity. Sure, most of that success is driven by a few blockbuster franchises (World of Warcraft, The Sims, etc.), but as an open platform the PC is also still the place to find quirky and innovative small budget titles. Now, thanks to SCS Software, we can add “bus driving sim” to the format's vast array of oddities.

The idea is actually a pretty good one. Most people will probably never drive a bus in their lives, so a bus driving game is sure to generate some curiosity just on that fact alone (I know it did with me). Buses handle quite differently than normal sedans or SUVs, so it's a feeling not easily replicated in real life either. Also, there's also a sense of responsibility inherent in the game, as bus drivers must remember that they have the lives of dozens of other passengers in their hands, and must therefore be cautious to obey the traffic laws in their area at all times.

Bus Driver

In Bus Driver, players are able to drive 12 different models of buses over 30 routes. The buses in the game aren't explicitly named, but include things like tour buses, double-deckers, school buses, and more. While I didn't notice a huge difference between buses (they're all huge and lumbering), most buses did seem to feel a little differently to me. Overall they feel very realistic (or what I imagine to be realistic), reflecting all of the traits of a normal bus including a wide turning radius, slow acceleration, etc. Regardless, anyone who has actually wanted to try driving a bus before should find a model or two that they enjoy.

On each route, the player will be responsible for picking up and dropping passengers at several stops along the way. There's no real danger of getting lost, as the game overlays arrows on the road directing players on where to turn, and provides a mini-map with a pointer to the player's next destination. The only real motivation for driving well comes in the point system, with points awarded for performing well and deducted for driving dangerously. For example, properly using the blinker or stopping at a red light awards the player points, while hitting objects on the side of the road or over-breaking (which really stresses the passengers out) deducts points. At the end of each route points are also awarded for the number of passengers delivered (it is possible to drive off before all passengers are on-board at a stop), speed of the route, etc.

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Posted: 2008-06-04 14:24:39 PST