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Review: Voyager for Rail Simulator
Developer: JustTrains, Publisher: Just Trains
Reviewed By Matthew Peddlesden
Date: 19 April 2009

The first major commercial release outside of the content produced internally within RSDL (the makers of Rail Simulator itself) comes this new Voyager add-on from JustTrains. Available both as a downloadable item and on a disc, this add-on was the first one that proved that 3rd party commercial developers were not only working on items but also that they could produce items which easily matched the quality of the items included in Rail Simulator itself.

This add-on includes the Voyager DMU in multiple liveries, although as it doesn't have very many liveries in reality JustTrains have taken a few liberties and produced two fictional liveries as well in order to improve the usability of the unit within Rail Sim's currently available main line routes.

  • Virgin
  • Cross Country Transitional
  • Cross Country
  • American (fictional, think Amtrak-ish)
  • German (fictional, think DB-ICE-ish)

The pack includes both Class 220 Voyager (four car) units and Class 221 Super Voyager (five car) units.

The unit includes an outstanding 3D cab, 3D passenger view and some great sounds along with the above liveries. There are also a selection of scenarios which includes essentially one scenario and a free roam scenario for each default route within Rail Sim except Oxford to Paddington, where there are three scenarios plus a free roam scenario.

I've not run many of the scenarios as fictional operations really don't do much for me however I can say that i've thoroughly enjoyed the Oxford to Paddington scenarios - you'll need to keep a close eye in the cab, don't spend time gazing at the unit from the outside as you'll miss AWS warnings, the scenarios will keep you on your toes :)

The unit is presented exceptionally well with opening doors and highly detailed textures. It's great fun to drive and just looks superb within the Rail Simulator environment.

The only major technical hitch is that the Super Voyager does not tilt. One commercial developer has shown in a prototype form that tilting is indeed possible in Rail Simulator however it's known to be extremely tricky and may well have other undesirable side effects... it's not a standard feature of Rail Simulator, put it that way.

It's very hard to find a downside to the unit at all to be honest - but there is one, in my opinion, and that's the price tag. For me, 15 is just too much for one unit and as a result the decision to purchase this is going to be based on how much of a modern traction, or Voyager fan you are and I should add that I'm not especially a modern image fan so that might be what is making me wince at the price, but that said even dropping it to 10 i'd find it a lot more palatable. One thing is for sure, Rail Sim is going to be a significantly more expensive simulator to run than Microsoft Train Sim was, but then you're also going to get significantly more detail and quality for that money as well. Bottom line though is that the unit is quite excellent so if you're happy stumping up the cash then I don't think you will be disappointed, it's every bit as good (or better) than the screenshots that you've seen of it suggest.

The pack is available on DVD or as an electronic download. Personally I prefer the disc route as it doesn't come laden with the DRM that the electronic version comes with; and there's no extra charge, both are 14.66. The downside of course is that you'll have to wait for it to arrive whereas the electronic version can be up an running in a few minutes! :)

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