One thing I love about gaming is just how wide and varied the experiences are across genres. While I’m the last person to ask about car repairs or what to ask your mechanic, when I saw Car Mechanic Simulator for PS4, I knew I had to give it a shot. After all, the best simulators welcome both novices and experts alike.
Does Car Mechanic Simulator turn even the most basic of car enthusiasts into expert mechanics, or do you need years of experience to enjoy this particular sim? Let’s find out!
Like an Old Car, it Starts Rough
Car Mechanic Simulator does feature both a standard and expert mode, but I naturally chose the former as someone with plenty of gaming experience, but very little knowledge of a car’s inner workings. I saw this as an opportunity to learn and grow my knowledge, as I imagine many gamers may feel when they add this title to their library.
When you first begin, you’re tossed into a tutorial that lets you explore a large garage with various stations and interactive elements. It’s impressive to be sure, but the explanations of each area or mechanic are severely lacking. The game gives you a basic knowledge of how everything works, but it doesn’t explain the menus, mechanics, or even the basics for newcomers.
Now, I know there are people out there who don’t need any help based on their prior knowledge, and that’s fine, but there are going to be people like me who pick up this title with the expectation to learn, and this tutorial does not do a good job of welcoming them.
Even if you’re a car aficionado, the tutorial fails to explain how the various menus work, or how to progress in the game. There are guides out there I found that do a great job of explaining all of this, but the fact that it isn’t in the game is a glaring omission as it alienates both novices and new players in equal measure by failing to explain the flow of the game or how anything works really.
Tutorial issues aside, once you’ve either spent some time experimenting or looking up a guide online, Car Mechanic Simulator actually offers an astounding amount of depth and content. You’ll start by taking orders and fixing people’s cars for cash, but this soon balloons into other activities.
You can bid on cars at auctions, collect junkers, and essentially create your own collection of vehicles once you’ve earned enough. A skill tree also lets you upgrade your abilities and garage tools to go beyond simple repairs and into body work and painting.
Actually working with the engine of vehicles is also a very tactile experience. You can highlight problem parts, remove everything piece-by-piece, and put it all back together again. Ordering new parts is necessary to replace the broken elements, and it all feels very interactive.
With so many things to do around your garage, I would have liked an option to possibly visit a virtual auto parts store to pick out things in person, but I understand that in today’s age things would be ordered online. It just leads to a lot of time in complex and confusing menus.
The option to call a fellow mechanic or mentor for advice would have been a great way to offer helpful tips for new players. Thankfully, you won’t spend all of your time in the garage, however, as the game also offers a test driving course and a racing course to put your skills to the test.
The controls here are fine, but they’re not spectacular. Despite that, I really enjoyed the comprehensive feeling of building a car up, repairing it, and then seeing it in action. All of this leads to an experience that feels cumbersome at times on a controller (you have to use the analog stick as a cursor in some cases), but overall feels very tactile and realistic to the craft.
It’s still just a shame that the tutorial doesn’t do a better job of welcoming players of all knowledge levels and empowering them with information on how to navigate the game’s options and menus.
An Incredible Amount of Detail Beneath The Surface
Car Mechanic Simulator offers an excellent amount of detail in its models and designs. The menus leave a lot to be desired and honestly throw too much at the player in each screen, but when you’re zoomed in on an engine and picking it apart, the detail is exquisite. It’s also nice that you can interact with just about every inch of the vehicle as well.
Little touches around the garage, like the option to change the music or turn it off, impart a nice sense of place and gives you the chance to get lost in the profession. It makes me think that a VR version of the title would do wonders for helping the game feel even more realistic. Alas, that is not an option here.
Overall, though, Car Mechanic Simulator is a robust and detailed sim that nails a lot of the finer points when it comes to car maintenance and repair. The lack of a strong tutorial as a foundation for the experience hurts the overall package, and the controls aren’t perfect, but fans of automobiles will find a huge amount of content here to enjoy.
Final Score: 7.5/10
A copy of Car Mechanic Simulator was Provided to PS4 Experts for Review Purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 7/10/19