Hot on the heels (or should that be ‘hot on the wheels’?) of the New Mexico DLC for American Truck Simulator, SCS Software are back with the latest map expansion for its elder cousin, Euro Truck Simulator 2. After expanding east, scurrying to Scandinavia, and filling out France, it is now the turn of Italy to get some interest as the map expands deep into the Apennine Peninsula. No longer bored by the concept of truck simulation, it is time to hang my fluffy dice and AS Livorno Calcio pennant from the windscreen and see what the Italia DLC has to offer.
Italy did feature in the game previously, or at least the northernmost region did. The map now stretches all the way down to Sicily, adding major cities like Rome, Napoli, Palermo into the game along with industrial areas and ports, such as Ancona and Bari, with only the island of Sardinia left out. This means the addition of a whopping 11,500 km of road, major intersections and ring roads, local companies and industries, and new cargoes to deliver. Cities already featured in the vanilla version of the game, such as Milano, have also been upgraded and enhanced to match the level of detail and scale of the DLC content.
The base game remains the same. You drive around the continent taking on jobs and making deliveries. It is a concept that has attracted legions of fans so far, and SCS have not touched it. This map expansion is all about the experience. As has become par for the course in both Euro and American Truck Simulator expansions, the level of attention to detail is incredible. The changes in geography from north to south, as rich farmland and arid landscapes line the roads, offer a subtle yet immersive transition as you enter the Mediterranean region, matched by the differences in architecture between the northern and southern cities.
The cities added to the game are bustling with activity. Vehicles of all kinds fill the roads (although scooters were conspicuous by their absence), pedestrians go about their business, and coastal cities boast large industrial docks and plenty of seabound transport as well. The modern industry at the heart of Italy’s present-day economy looms in the shape of the steelworks at Taranto (Europe’s largest, as I learned from the DLC notes) and quarries. Famous sights and landmarks of Italy’s historical heritage also grace the landscape with their presence. Driving your truck under an ancient aqueduct or past a medieval castle is a unique experience, as is spotting the peaks of Mount Vesuvius and Mount Etna as you venture south.
But, we are not just here for the view. This is a game about driving big trucks and making deliveries, so what does Italia add to the ETS2 experience? Italy’s landscape allows for a variety of routes to explore. Major highways with detailed junctions and toll booths (many, many toll booths) connect the major cities, but there are also narrower roads winding through the mountains with viaducts and tunnels to navigate. Watch out for those tight tunnel entrances though – too far to the right and your trailer will crumple under the roof, as I found out the hard way (more than once!).
Possibly my favourite part of the whole DLC, however, was navigating dirt roads in my articulated rig. There is a long stretch of untarmacked road in Sicily for your driving pleasure, along with twisting tracks in the Apennines on the mainland. Maneuvering an extra-large vehicle with a heavy load along these paths is great fun with a great view.
Updates to the main game that came together with the DLC have also added something to Euro Truck Simulator that New Mexico lacked for its American counterpart – new trucks! The Scania R-Series and S-Series have been added, with SCS stating months of research by a dedicated team has been devoted to replicating them. It shows. The cabin interiors of each make and model have a completely different look and feel, and the customisation options when purchasing your own truck are extensive.
There are also new cargoes that add some local flavour to the proceedings. While the opportunity to transport luxury yachts is eye-catching, I am equally impressed by the requests to deliver 18 tonnes of Gnocchi to the hungry people of Genoa, or the order to satisfy the collective sweet-tooths of Palermo by dropping off a 21-tonne trailer of gummy bears.
The Italia DLC shows off the major strength of SCS Software’s work on both of their currently active titles – offering more of the same while finding a way to give each addition a unique feel. At the core, the premises of trucking across New Mexico, down the M1 to London, through the streets of San Francisco, or to the gates of the Eternal City of Rome are the same. However, each section of the map and each new addition immerses the player in the geography, sights, and sounds of that region. As long as SCS can keep pulling that off, I’ll keep on trucking.
Developer: SCS Software
Publisher: SCS SOftware
Release Date: 5th December 2017