“The ap­peal of this ex­pan­sion for me is that it re­minds me of Twin Peaks”

Cross­ing the state line in AMER­I­CAN TRUCK SIM­U­LA­TOR

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The states re­leased for Amer­i­can Truck Sim­u­la­tor so far— Ari­zona, Ne­vada, Cal­i­for­nia—fea­ture fan­tas­tic, at­mo­spheric driv­ing, but they’re all pretty sim­i­lar: Dry, sun-baked, and dusty. Which makes the ad­di­tion of Oregon in the lat­est ex­pan­sion all the more in­ter­est­ing.

Oregon is some of de­vel­oper SCS’ best work to date, with golden wheat­fields, dra­matic forests, and sweep­ing views across the moun­tains. The towns, in­clud­ing my start­ing lo­ca­tion of Bend, are pure Amer­i­cana: Din­ers, hard­ware stores, mo­tels, and giant fiber­glass ef­fi­gies of wood­land crea­tures. I must ad­mit, a lot of the ap­peal of this ex­pan­sion for me is that it re­minds me of Twin Peaks. In fact, nerd that I am, I ac­com­pany my jour­ney with An­gelo Badala­menti’s score for the TV se­ries.

As I cruise down a long coun­try road flanked by tall, ma­jes­tic trees, I no­tice a turn-off for Crater Lake—a stun­ning real-world lo­ca­tion that has to be seen to be be­lieved. I take a de­tour, for­get­ting that I’m sup­posed to be de­liv­er­ing a load of gyp­sum to a ware­house in San Fran­cisco, and drive up a snaking moun­tain road to a view­point over­look­ing the lake. It’s not quite as im­pres­sive as the real thing, but it’s nice see­ing such grand scenery in a game that’s usu­ally just roads, roads, and yet more roads.

Tak­ing it in

I get back on track and re­sume my jour­ney south. What’s strik­ing about this ex­pan­sion is how much va­ri­ety there is. The state is full of char­ac­ter, with lit­tle de­tails on al­most ev­ery cor­ner. SCS is re­ally step­ping its game up when it comes to en­vi­ron­ment de­sign, although there are still those great stretches of rolling, end­less high­way that de­fine the Truck Sim­u­la­tor se­ries.

But as the state line ap­proaches, the scenery changes. The green­ery fades away, re­placed by dry scrub and more open, less dense forests. This change in scenery, color, and am­bi­ence is some­thing ATS was sorely miss­ing, and the sen­sa­tion of cross­ing a large coun­try is mas­sively height­ened. I feel like I’m on a road trip. The rain even clears up when I get to Cal­i­for­nia, the dark clouds drift­ing away to re­veal a pierc­ing blue sky and a burn­ing sun. I feel a sud­den urge to lis­ten to Fleet­wood Mac.

Ex­pan­sions for SCS’ truck sims rarely add or change much in the ac­tual game, but any­one who’s deeply into them will un­der­stand how ex­cit­ing a new land­scape to drive through is—es­pe­cially when it’s a new kind of ter­rain. Oregon is another ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to ATS, and I’m ex­cited to see what other states I’ll get to drive through in the fu­ture. One thing I’d like to see in the game is more re­al­is­tic weather. The rain ef­fects are great, but I’d love to see a change in sever­ity, from a light shower to a heavy storm, and maybe even a bit of snow up north. Alaska next, per­haps?

The state is full of char­ac­ter, wit h de­tails on al­most ev­ery cor­ner

Crater Lake, one of Oregon’s most fa­mous places.

Of course it’s rain­ing: It’s the Pa­cific North­west.

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