Bounty Train (PC) Preview

By Athanasios 03.10.2015

Review for Bounty Train on PC

Trying to give a label to Corbie Games' Bounty Train is pointless and, in case that label is "train simulator," completely wrong, although that's the thing that pops into everyone's minds after taking a look at a screenshot or two. The truth is that this is more like a melting pot of genres (train simulation included), with the end product being interesting and disappointing at the same time. Is it too soon to reach a verdict? Is there hope for the full release? Read on all about it.

Northerners and southerners, bandits and Native Americans, and merchants and plunderers, collide in the steam-powered pre-civil war era of the USA, and it's on this world that the young Walter Reed must try his luck with the family business. Problem is that he has inherited a small amount of shares from his railroad tycoon papa, making it hard to deal with his enemy, the main shareholder, and the one that wants to connect west and east, and kill lots of natives while at it.

Don't expect any exciting turn of events, or any sort of character development, though. The role-playing part is pretty shallow, and is just a long fetch quest with a bit of dialogue thrown in; therefore, the plot is just an excuse to go choo-choo from state to state, trade goods, upgrade Walter's locomotive, and survive from all sorts of evildoers. Exciting? The concept, yes; the execution, not really. Why? Mainly because Bounty Train never really goes deep into any of the things offered.

Screenshot for Bounty Train on PC

A typical hour of gameplay goes something like this: sell/buy prices are checked, goods are bought, and then sold to the some other city. Don't like trading? Each city's Town Hall offers delivery or fetch quests, and the station always has some folks in need of a quick ride. Reached the next city? Good, now rinse, repeat for as long as it takes to buy all sorts of extremely expensive train upgrades, or complete the very small campaign mode.

The good thing about this quest is that it's challenging right off the bat. The bad one, though, is how constricting things are, when this would be much better if it followed a more open-ended approach, with multiple ways to deal with a problem, and a greater amount of randomisation. Unfortunately, this feels more like a chore; a chore of going from city to city, buying, selling, or delivering merchandise, and never really having the chance to break away from that formula.

Screenshot for Bounty Train on PC

Is everything so bad? No. In fact, this can be mildly addicting for an a hour or two, and since the version experienced is only the recently released Early Access one, things are bound to change quite a bit - especially the bugs, which are quite abundant, although rarely game-breaking. On a positive note, it gets frequently updated, even in the current state of development. In fact, a few days after Cubed3 started its hands-on test, Corbie Games added a sandbox mode, rebalanced prices, and fixed lots of bugs.

Another thing that Bounty Train nails before even being fully released is the Wild West mood. Each city has its own architecture; the ambience, along with the layback country music, fit like a glove with the overall atmosphere. Furthermore, something that train nerds will surely appreciate is that every single vehicle is actually a copy of the real deal, with each one having a small info section, and even a link to Wikipedia articles for more scholarship on the subject.

Screenshot for Bounty Train on PC

There was a train in this adventure, though, wasn't there? So far, the only interaction was filling it with coal and watching it move from A to B, but there is also the possibility of it getting "hit" by people, ranging from Apache warriors and bandits, to soldiers and KKK morons. Paying a toll to keep on moving improves faction disposition, but what happens when Walter decides to keep his spare change? It's the time when the train can finally be controlled in order to escape from their clutches, and when it's possible to exchange a couple of bullets.

Unfortunately, what should be the most exciting part is actually the most tedious one. Trying to escape either takes too long, or isn't exactly the right choice, since in the beginning the train is depressingly slow, and when it's not it's usually full of heavy cargo. A great deal of multitasking is needed while fighting the enemy, like driving, repairing damage, extinguishing fires, protecting goods, and healing comrades, yet it all gets boring after a few battles - which, by the way, happen way too often. In other words, like the rest of the game, fighting is more of a chore than entertainment.

Screenshot for Bounty Train on PC

Final Thoughts

While it's a bit unfair to make any predictions so soon, Bounty Train is somewhat disappointing. New quests, historical characters, and things to buy, do, and kill will soon be added, but will they be enough? As of now, the trading part feels tedious, tinkering with the train isn't really that rewarding, doing quests makes the player feel more an errand boy than an adventurer, and the driving/fighting parts are lifeless, to say the least. In the developers' defence, new things are frequently added, so there might be some hope for the full release to tip the scales in the game's favour.

Developer

Corbie Games

Publisher

Daedalic

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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