When I was given Euro Truck Simulator 2 – Italia to review, my first thought was, “The easiest way to review this would be to just type in an opening paragraph, then fill the page with screenshots.” Having already spent many hours hauling goods around Europe, my initial, entire goal was to get to Italy for my screenies. Because the game is so beautiful, I could easily let the images speak for themselves.
Initially, I created a new profile located in Bologna so I could quickly drive around and grab the screenshots I needed. However, since my normal profile is one of the better ones I have had in the Euro/American Truck Simulator series, I decided to treat this more as a small chronicle of the trip than a quick examination of new Italian vistas. The problem was that I was still in Cologne (Köln), Germany. Hopefully, I could grab jobs along the way, which would lead me to Italy without having to make any deadhead runs to get there. “May as well make some money since I’m going there anyway, right? I will need to try to limit myself to runs that take me south, at least.”
I apologize in advance for not always remembering to turn off the mirror(s) and/or GPS. I just get so excited! Euro Truck Simulator 2 is supposed to be a calm, serene and relaxing experience. However, I am a worrier. I stress about everything, all the time. Am I going to make it on time? How many speeding tickets will I acquire? (They cost money, you know.) Will I run out of gas? How are my other drivers doing? Will I take the wrong exit? (Which I have done before; then I got that sick feeling like I’d walked into the wrong classroom… or bathroom, or shot off my mouth and accidentally insulted someone… You know? That feeling). Everything else you could possibly dream up to worry about, I do.
The First Night
Luckily, the first job to catch my eye was for hauling canned pork to Frankfurt. I picked up the trailer and headed south at about 10:14 PM (for some reason, it seems like I always start in the dark). Everything went well — no damage and only one ticket. Not liking to get gas in unfamiliar cities, I always try to stop along the route somewhere, in between towns. The little stations are easy in, easy out — without having to drive around a town with a loaded trailer. For refuelling, I decided to stop about 74 km from the destination.
Having delivered the cargo to Frankfurt with plenty of time to spare, I logged out for the night to sleep in my spacious, real-life truck cabin (just go with it). In the morning, I hoped to catch a delivery bound for at least Zurich.
The Second Morning
As I logged in and got ready to look for a job, “Woah! Wait a minute here. It’s the World of Trucks’ ‘Grand Gift Delivery 2017’! Woo hoo!” Each year, as long as players’ accounts are synced with World of Trucks, they give us special Christmas-ey packages/cargoes to deliver. Then upon completing a certain number of missions (six or twelve Tier 1/Tier 2 missions, this year), over a certain distance (this year it’s greater than 240 km), we can earn special achievements, paint jobs, backgrounds, and bling for our trucks. Plus we have a chance of winning a physical reward (from a prize draw) in which we get to choose merchandise from their e-shop for a sum up to €50 (for Tier 1) or €100 (for Tier 2). Something that’s different this year is that Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator are separated. This means if we complete missions in both games, we have more chance of winning. This year’s contest ends on January 22, 2018. Additionally, completing both games at Tier 2 quadruples your chances of winning. If I want to get both games’ worth done, I need to get back out on the road — immediately.
Back to the Second Day
Before even looking at the Euro Truck Simulator 2 – Italia job markets, scenarios started playing through my head. My Big Boss wanted me to get to Italy for the screenshots, which I eagerly looked forward to. However, while I was doing all this driving, I would like to earn some swag as well. Hopefully, I thought, the two would combine so I didn’t have to choose between them.
It must have been my lucky day because I found a gift transport that went to Zurich. This satisfied both requirements: I’d head south to get closer to Italy while hauling the Christmas packages (gifts). I took the assignment, then set off for Zurich at 2:24 AM. Once again, I departed in the dark, but at least by the time I got to Zurich, it was daylight: about 7:50 AM. I wasn’t too lead-footed, with only two speeding tickets.
Immediately after dropping off the trailer, I consulted the job market again. This time, there was a gift run to Firenze. Luck was with me once more. I took that job to Italy, but instead of heading out right away, I take a detour before attaching the trailer. I had noticed a few things I wanted to check out in town. One was a repair shop and, even though I didn’t have any damage, I could make alterations to the truck there. Knowing that I already had the highest-end equipment until I leveled up again, I would be strictly looking at accessories for my hauler.
Detour (a.k.a. Trucking off in Zurich)
More importantly, in that same direction, there were two of those circled question marks — indicating two places I had not yet discovered. I decided to head toward those directions first, then stop at the repair shop before getting the merchandise to deliver.
The first place is a new DAF dealership, which was exciting to me since I currently drive a DAF truck. Unfortunately, the best I could do there was drool over the trucks I could not currently afford. It definitely gave me something to look forward to, though. The second place is a new Euro Truck Simulator 2 – Italia Recruitment Agency, which I believe I will soon need, since both of my drivers are only rated at 1.7, and one of them sure seems to ‘rest’ a lot.
Back on the Road
After spending about $12,000 on a new grill piece (which I think, by law *cough, cough* I had to get a bunch of lights for) and lights, I ran over and picked up the trailer so that I was finally Italy-bound. Choosing a route to Firenze was actually an interesting decision; there were a couple of shorter routes to Italy available. However, I wanted to get deeper into Italy on my first run for the screenies, while this one was also a Christmas gift delivery, so I could get credit for another one of those. My plan after that was to try to keep all of the rest of my Euro Truck Simulator 2 – Italia Christmas hauls inside Italy. Obviously, there was no way of knowing at that time whether it would even be possible or not.
After getting refueled just northwest of Parma, I proceeded to complete my transport to Firenze — without any crashes, as well as with plenty of time to spare (with only a lone ticket for going too fast). Most of this run was during daylight hours, arriving around 8 PM. Since I have never been to Italy, I was fascinated by the gorgeous Italian countryside, as well as some of each city’s architecture. Everything about driving over here is extremely different than tooling around through the States.
My next choice of gift routes was limited, to say the least. The only one available was a five hour, eleven-minute haul east to Ancona. Every other available job went back north. Hopefully upon arrival, I could find something to take me further south once again. Unfortunately, it wasn’t directly east either, as I had to go ‘up and over’ — through Bologna, then back down to Ancona. The trip was about 275 km, so it was still over the minimum limit for the gift run to count.
After offloading in Ancona around 12:50 AM (and one speeding ticket later), I ran into my first route-choice quandary of a promotional run (Grand Gift Delivery) versus Big Boss picture-taking trip. After further review, it wasn’t that tough a choice after all: there were only two gift deliveries, both of which were back to Firenze.
Sure, I wanted to get the credit for another Christmas conveyance, but the screenshot trip took me deeper south into the Italia expansion — all the way to Napoli, which is a little over halfway through Italy. Additionally, my cargo was packed glass, making it only my second-ever Fragile Cargo haul. I cannot recall what the last one was, but I know it wasn’t glass. Once again, before I picked up the cargo, I wanted to run over to the repair shop in Ancona and see if there was anything to add to the truck. However, since I upgraded both other trucks’ engines during the Firenze-Ancona trip, I decided to forego any more toys or bling at the time (although I did see some things I want in the future for the interior!).
Finally to Napoli
Almost seven hours and 420 km later, I arrived in Napoli close to 8:00 AM. Assuming it was because I was hauling glass, I not only made the entire trip without speeding, I also didn’t accidentally squish a small car under the rear axles of the trailer (as I’ve maybe, *cough, cough* accidentally done a few times in the past)! Since I got there safely and got everything delivered, I’ll close this little journal for…
Wait a minute, I just couldn’t stop. One… more… delivery. There was a small-ish gift run almost due east to Bari. Something compelled me to take it. In case you can’t tell, I like Euro Truck Simulator 2 a wee bit (insert sarcastic laughter here, as I obviously love the driving). This run was only a little over three and a half hours and 241 km. Plus, I’d get another holiday gift run credit to my account. I took the assignment, ended up getting fuel about 76 km outside of Bari, then made it safely without speeding and had plenty of time to spare.
Since I have never been to Italy, I was both astounded and taken aback by the landscapes and vistas portrayed in Euro Truck Simulator 2 – Italia. From the sunrises and sunsets to the high level of detail, all the way down to the ever-changing pavement, trucking on the PC has never looked better. There are all kinds of bits, bobbles and slick features I want to add to my current truck — as well as upgrading the truck itself (and the drivers, my garage, etc.).
Now that I’m free from having to take pictures, as there are no gift runs here, I’m going to take an “Important delivery” of IBC Containers back to Napoli. More job opportunities seemed to be available there, like it was more of a hub than Bari, which makes complete sense if you compare their populations. Finally, (shhh, don’t tell the Big Boss) after I get my twelve Christmas gift deliveries finished, I’m going to sneak over and do twelve for American Truck Simulator. Hopefully, in addition to earning all of the extra fancy items, I can actually win something as well.