World of Subways started its series with the New York subway system and then branched off to the subways of Berlin with World of Subways 2, both products were to say groundbreaking and created a realism that hadn’t really been captured in any train simulator at the time of their release. Now, there is World of Subways 3 the London Underground and this time we go deep into the subway system of London England with improved graphics and an improved physics engine.
The London Underground features over 30 miles of drivable track with reproductions of 35 different stops along the Circle Line route and includes a virtual reproduction of the C Stock train that includes both the cab and passenger areas along with an accurate sound set throughout the entire virtual world of WOS 3 that literally brings the simulation to life.
It is important to note that the minimum system specs for this simulation are to be running at least a Dual Core 2.6 or greater and I would strongly recommend a decent video card as well. I run an Nvidia Geforce 460.
The version of this program that I received was the boxed version from Just Trains and I found that I preferred the box version just because it included a printed manual and I found that very helpful when controlling the simulation, as it gave me easy access to the keyboard commands.
The plus side to using the Aerosoft Launcher is that it will allow you to stay on top of any updates that may come out for the program. The good news is that once it is activated you only need to run the WOS 3 shortcut and you will not need to bother with the Aerosoft Launcher again. The launcher also gives you direct access to the online manual, maps and a legend for the Rail Driver unit.
At the time of this writing there is an update available, but going through the launcher will not get you the update if you have the boxed version. You will need to register the product code with your account at Aerosoft to have access to the update and it will require you to enter the number a third time.
The installation itself requires at least 2 gigabytes of space and the program will run on any operating system from XP up, though I was amazed at how much better it ran on my Windows 7 64-bit Dual Core PC than that of my XP 32-bit Dual Core PC. More RAM and a better video card definitely help here I think.
The Virtual World of the Circle Line
To some, traveling a subway system may not be that enticing in a simulator but I have been a fan of this series since WOS 1 and each installment only gets better. The world that makes up WOS 3 is by far the most detailed and open of the three titles and what I mean by open is that this one actually allows you to move around freely in each one of the stations and walk the entire length of the train allowing for both a first person and 2nd person perspectives in each location.
There are 35 different stations, or stops that make up WOS 3 and each has been designed to look like that of its real world counterpart and as you progress through each of the different subway routes you will notice not only minor stops, but major terminal locations as well and some of the larger stops are multi storied facilities. So, it really does pay to do a little exploring in each of the locations because so much work has gone into making each of them. You will even find some boarded up stops along the way.
Each individual station includes accurate subway maps for each of the routes, posters, and advertising, but seems to be devoid of any graffiti. I couldn’t imaging a subway without graffiti, but perhaps they do not have that problem in London. Throughout each of the stations you will also find people moving throughout the virtual world and interacting with each of the subway trains as they stop at their designated locations.
Another nice feature with the subway stations is that of the audible environments. You can hear people talking and hear the overhead calls through the PA system and the warnings to subway riders and when you are in the tunnels you can hear the water dripping from the brick ceilings as well as approaching trains and other noises.
Moving from the stations to that of the actual subway tunnels is also pretty cool as the tunnels definitely show their age and have an old world look to them. As you progress through, you will see everything from the systems that electrify the track, old equipment, as well as new and old track waiting to be removed or laid.
Another interesting feature is the tunnels themselves, when lit by light you can make out the intricate detail of the bricks and support beams that make up the tunnels giving the overall simulation a true to life feel and look.
Knowing the Sim and Driving the Train
In WOS 3, sim play is broken down into two different categories. In one you will have the option to Drive to Schedule which will allow you to select from 10 different route options, each with the ability to select time of day and weather conditions. The routes will run from 5 AM until 1 AM making this portion of the game somewhat customizable when it comes to running a train schedule.
The other is called Missions and this gives the Subway Driver the ability to select from 10 different missions that include a first time out scenario, to that of dealing with delays caused by an accident on the subway line. Each mission offers a full briefing and on screen text prompts to tell you what you need to do next.
The sim will have you in charge of the standard C Stock Train used in these subway systems and controlling each of them is pretty straight forward. Setting the Traction Brake Controller and Selector switch properly will give you full control of the train. In the cab you will also find a control panel to control the lighting and heating for the entire train and all is located within easy reach from inside the cab by holding down the shift key and clicking on each individual panel with the mouse.
On the upper left corner of the cab you will find the Digitized Voice Announcer or DVA for short and what this little box does is allow you to set up the train for your assigned route. If it is properly set up it will make the audible announcements and show the destinations and departing stations on the exterior of the train to let your virtual passengers know where you are going and where you have been.
Controlling the actual train can be done either by using the mouse or the keyboard, but if you are like me and have the Rail Driver Unit it will automatically default to the external hardware and you will not need to use the keyboard and mouse for control of the train.
The sim engine uses PhysX, so the movement of the train has been modeled realistically well as it gives the user a true feel of movement as you progress through the subway system because the virtual conductor’s body moves with the movement of the train and the train reacts to the changes in the track and elevation.
I like this simulation as it is one of the most comprehensive subway simulations yet released from Aerosoft. Its graphics are simply phenomenal and the control and feel from inside the cab gives the user a true to life feel of what it would be like to be at the helm of one of these trains. If you are curious or just enjoy any kind of train simulating then this product will be for you. While it doesn’t offer the wide open world of rail that Train Simulator 2012 does, it does offer a detailed trip down into one of the most used subway systems in the world.
If you wish to print
this review or read it offline at your leisure, right click on the link
below, and select "save as"
Tell A Friend About this Review!
All Rights Reserved