About Me

My photo
Cracow, Poland
I'm just a typical university student, who has something to say.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bus Driver - review

I know this post doesn't exactly fit this blog's profile, but I feel like writing about it, so I'll do it.
Bus Driver is a driving game, a bus driving quasi-simulator developed and published in 2007 by SCS Software - a Czech company responsible e.g. for the 18 Wheels of Steel game series. It has received an update in 2010 and was renamed to Bus Driver Gold.
The player is a bus driver, whose duty is to pick up and transport passengers whilst obeying traffic rules and sticking to his time table. There are 12 (+1 added in Gold) buses inspired by real-life vehicles (I noticed some Neoplans, TEMSAs, a Setra, a Mercedes-Benz and the classic American school bus) to drive on 30 (+6 in Gold) very different routes in a fictional city designed to resemble a typical American city with various districts, such as an old town, downtown, suburbia, an airport, some ski resorts etc.. 

My opinion

The driver of course doesn't know the city, so there are directions on whether you should turn or not. It's a pity, that when you miss a turn there's no reaction from the game. It should at least say Wrong way! or You dumb twat, the turn was right there!. The stops are highlighted with a very bright orange box, so you won't miss any of them. There are also no pedestrians to hit as it is a game suitable for everybody able to hold a controller, bend a joystick or press keys on a keyboard. It's very pleasant to play, really. 
Missed it!
I'm very surprised, that buses feel different whilst driving. The urban ones are rather slower and stop quicker and coaches seem to be faster, heavier and harder to stop. Maybe it's just an illusion or maybe SCS really made some different physics for specific models. If so, hail them! One thing, that made me furious was the camera. I never saw what was right in front of me and guess what! I couldn't change the camera! The bumper view was introduced in Gold, which I haven't played until today. An inside view with a possibility to rotate your head would be perfect for this! The camera was especially annoying while I was driving a double decker. Just look at the screenshot!
Can't see shit.
Even though braking gently enough not to disturb the passengers was very difficult, but I think it was the most fun part of it. So was using blinkers to turn or change lanes, minding traffic lights and other vehicles. However... where the hell are traffic signs? They went for a walk. A really long one. None of them seen in the game beside lights. Damn it would be much more enjoyable if there were more rules! And the schedule: ever saw a bus, that was always on time? Me neither! In Bus Driver if you close your doors 2 seconds too early, you'll get penalty points, but if you do that 2 minutes too late it's perfectly alright! If all the passengers have already boarded my bus, I still have to wait for the exact time to come so I can leave.
 Variable time of day was awesome! You were never bored by seeing a street one more time, because it never looks exactly the same. The weather wasn't as dynamic as time of day, because some places were always snowy and some were always not. Where the road is covered in snow it can snow sometimes and where it's clear it can rain. Vehicle behaviour depends on those conditions and can be surprising. Well, not as surprising as other cars', because those can begin to turn in the middle of a junction or change lanes right into your sides, but that doesn't matter. Driving was still good.

The in-game point system isn't worth writing in detail, so I'll just say it's pretty fair. Sometimes it didn't notice you actually turned the blinker on or the light was as green as possible, but it was still okay.
Driftin' mah bus n' shit

Drift fail

Still driftin'
I like Bus Driver. It had its flaws, but it gave me about 10 hours of fun and it's still playable! It doesn't have multiplayer, but challenging friends to beat your score using a single computer can be equally enjoyable! So is beating your own scores by being a better bus driver. If I had to grade it, I'd give 7/10: +10 for being simply awesome, -1 for minor flaws, -2 for THE GOD DAMN CAMERA!

I didn't mention everything that can be found in the game, but apparently that stuff wasn't worth it.

All screenshots although made by me belong to SCS Software as Bus Driver's author and copyright owner.

My first online review! Tell me if you like it (you can use the interesting/uninteresting buttons below), because I have another game to write about. This time it's a real bus simulator, that is a hell of a complicated one!


  1. Did you try deliberately crashing the bus or making the passengers fall over? It's interesting to know how realistic the graphics are in such situations.

    1. I did try both, but neither did the bus take actual damage nor the passengers were hurt. You can hear the crash, the passengers screaming and get penalty points, but that's all. The passengers don't actually move at any time: when they stand at a stop and you arrive, they just magically appear in the bus sitting.