It’s Tool Time

HIGH The progression feels rewarding.

LOW It looks like it belongs on the original PlayStation.

WTF Two Steven Spielberg parody posters here for some reason.

Entertainment journalism has always been my first career choice, ever since high school. However, I have learned that in life, it’s always important to try new things that may lead to exciting new career opportunities. That said, I don’t think I’m cut out to work in construction, at least according to my time in Construction Simulator 3: Console Edition.

This game is exactly what the title promises. Players control a new recruit for a construction company and venture forth to expand it. Throughout the campaign, players will encounter various construction jobs like uprooting trees near a house or repairing the roof of an office building.

The action is set in an open-world area based on a quiet German town. The map can be traversed via any number of vehicles, or by simply fast-traveling (though this costs money). Simply moving around is fairly entertaining thanks to the wide variety of vehicles at the player’s disposal. Unfortunately, CS3:CE shows its mobile roots thanks to incredibly rough graphics. Textures are basic and the pop-in is ridiculous.

The attempt at storytelling is also poor. That’s right, there is an actual story here in which a videogame programmer decides to run a construction company. It’s a shoddy effort told via still images and speech bubbles, and the humor is cringeworthy to say the least. However, who has time for a story when there’s construction to do?

No surprise, the meat of play is performing construction and contracting jobs. As a sim, this involves more steps than most games would ask, and more realistic approaches to the tasks. The steps include buying or renting the right vehicle for a job, like choosing a front-loading truck that allows the player to pick up dirt before switching between different vehicles on the fly. Other things pop up like taking certain safety precautions — remember to bring vehicles to a full stop before performing any external tasks. CS3:CE’s realism plays such a huge factor that it even enforces a speed limit when driving around the map.

There’s also a huge resource management aspect, especially when it comes to funds. Managing money is integral to success as CS3:CE gives players frequent reports on how often cash is spent and how much is lost. Buying and renting vehicles also eats into profit, creating some great conflict and snappy decisionmaking on how to get certain jobs done. As someone who is recklessly impulsive with money in real life, I never went broke but I constantly failed to break even on most missions, causing losses. I got some nagging from my manager, but I still had a great time in the most expensive trucks though…

Players can level up by earning experience points gained by completing jobs or earning trophies. The trophies are awarded for miscellaneous tasks that range from easy things like simply buying a vehicle to more complex fare such as finishing a certain number of jobs without skipping any steps.  As someone who rarely plays sims, I was surprised by how hooked I got — I was obsessed with earning each medal that I could. My personal favorite included racking up an insanely high amount of speeding fines while driving around the overworld, putting my poor driving skills to the test.

My guess is that a sim like this would work better on a PC with a mouse and keyboard where it’s infinitely easier to hotkey and manage various systems at once. However, powering through CS3:CE with a controller is entirely functional, as the move from mobile to consoles keeps the same layout.

That said, while doing work feels fine, maneuvering around town is a bit cumbersome. I would have prefered a universal driving method with specialized functions relegated to a button or even the click of a control stick. Instead, every vehicle has different driving schemes, and I would often feel forced to fast-travel due to this minor frustration.

Overall, Construction Simulator 3: Console Edition is clearly meant for those who enjoy sims of this caliber. Myself? As a first-timer to this genre, I found it to be enjoyable, if a bit lacking. The moments where I was essentially role-playing as a construction worker were exhilarating, and the moment-to-moment gameplay kept me hooked. Unfortunately, the visuals hold it back and a little more polish on little things would go a long way. For now, though, I’m not quitting my day job to join a construction crew…

Rating: 6 out of 10

— C.J. Salcedo

Disclosures: This game is developed by Weltenbauer and published by Astragon. It is currently available on XBO, PS4 and Switch. This copy was obtained via publisher for review and was reviewed on PS4. Approximately 15 hours of play was devoted to the singleplayer mode. The game was not completed but new challenges are constantly refreshed every few minutes. do you mean that there is no real ending to the game? any way to roll credits? There is no multiplayer.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E and there are no descriptors. There is no objectionable content in the game and it can be enjoyed by a wide-range of audiences, including young kids.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gamers: I played the entirety of the game with no sound and it was perfectly playable. There are no subtitles since there is no spoken speech. The story is told through still images and text bubbles. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, the controls are not remappable, though there is a diagram that can be toggled on or off to show players how to operate individual pieces of machinery.

Cj Salcedo
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