The sequel to PC Building Simulator feels like it's still under construction

The sequel to PC Building Simulator feels like it’s still under construction

I was insanely excited to play the sequel PC Building Simulator. The original game taught me the ins and outs of building a PC and married the technical aspects with all the logistical drudgery of running your own business. Unfortunately, PC Building Simulator 2 doubles down on some of the more troublesome aspects while adding only a small handful of superficial features.

a:hover]:text-black [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black text-gray-63″>Image: Alice Newcome-Beill

As with many simulator games, PCBS2 is about appreciating the everyday. Ordinary people don’t obsess over the differences between an NVMe SSD or a 2.5-inch hard drive or fine-tuning the voltage on a GPU, but these are the details that PC-building enthusiasts crave.

Like the original game, PCBS2 are you responsible for a run-down computer workshop. You start with a small amount of money and a handful of jobs delivered via email. If you haven’t played the original game, PCBS2 can seem a little surreal, as you have to transition your character to an in-game computer to access your email and other applications. Thankfully, a helpful tutorial walks you through the process step-by-step.

Each tutorial explains the finer points of running your business, slowly handing out more complicated jobs as you gain more experience. The tutorial walks you through what to do when you encounter a specific job for the first time. Unfortunately, there’s no way to easily go back to these tutorials if you’ve forgotten how to do something.

A screenshot of PC Building Simulator 2, showing the process of water cooling a motherboard.

a:hover]:text-black [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black text-gray-63″>Image: Alice Newcome-Beill

The jobs you take on range from dusting off old computers to overclocking processors or building desktops from scratch while staying within your client’s budget. Eventually, just like the original game, the jobs soon become an exercise in reading comprehension. Buried in each email are optional requests that, when satisfied, grant you access to higher-level jobs. It’s just unfortunate that there isn’t more variety in the objectives, which are very similar to what we saw in the original PCBS. Some additional goals are related to customizing a client’s computers with different decals and paint jobs or using new components, but PCBS2 doesn’t add too many new wrinkles to the jobs shown in the original.

A screenshot of PC Building Simulator 2 showing the job system

Customization is perhaps the biggest addition to PCBS2, allowing you to turn any desktop into an aesthetically offensive gaming icon. You can apply layered combinations of vinyl skins, individual stickers and spray paint to any computer. The customization tools are clunky, and while you’ll unlock new vinyl skins and decals as you level up, there’s currently no way to use any custom assets, which is disappointing.

The customization functions also extend to your workshop. The original game allowed you to customize your office space, but you can get more detailed this time around, with the ability to change the desk design, decor, walls and floors. There aren’t many customization options, but this feature is a nice touch. Even if you can’t bring yourself to renovate your office, you have a lot more flexibility with your workspace this time, both functionally and aesthetically.

A screenshot of PC Building Simulator 2 showing workshop customization options

Of course, once you’ve set up your workspace, you’ll need to build some computers. Thankfully, PCBS2 comes with an impressive list of modern PC components, from GPUs to water cooling blocks and cases. Most of the components are from popular manufacturers and are practically identical to the real world counterparts made by NZXT, MSI and Cooler Master. Before, PCBS has done an excellent job of keeping parts lists up to date with free updates, which is no easy task considering we’ve seen a slew of new hardware from Nvidia and AMD, not to mention Intel’s new ARC graphics cards.

The list of branded parts in PCBS2 is certainly impressive, but navigating menus is a drag

One of the other standout features that changes the way you interact with hardware is the introduction of custom water cooling blocks on your motherboard, RAM or GPU. Getting into some of the more technical aspects is the right move for PCBS2and removing processors is a feature that is apparently on the roadmap.

It’s clear that the developers are taking steps to streamline the overall experience of PCBS2. Some of the quality-of-life features established with the original game make a welcome return, namely the tablet system, which allows you to access most features that originally required you to run back to your office computer. Some other neat additions include linking purchased parts to your ongoing jobs, which comes in handy when you’re juggling multiple open projects. Some new features specific to PCBS2 includes a thermal imaging app that lets you troubleshoot certain components and an in-game RAM voltage calculator for memory overclocking.

A screenshot of PC Building Simulator 2 showing thermal paste being applied

a:hover]:text-black [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black text-gray-63″>Image: Alice Newcome-Beill

However, considering how much time you spend in menus with PCBS2, they should be more intuitive. It’s a little confusing because many of the in-game apps you use mirror their real-world counterparts but lack any of the usability features you’d expect. Imagine navigating your desktop without the ability to resize windows or use any of the shortcuts you’re used to; that’s how it feels PCBS2.

None of this is helped by the fact that PCBS2 is remarkably buggy. On several occasions I encountered jobs that I could not complete. Graphical glitches are less common, but I encountered instances of floating hardware or components cutting through objects. Most annoying, however, was a bug that made it impossible to interact with the game’s on-screen interface. A lot of your jobs require you to install apps or modify the BIOS of a particular machine, which is impossible if you can’t interact with the screen.

A PC Building Simulator 2 screenshot showing the EVGA motherboard BIOS

Even with its myriad of bugs, PCBS2 shares the same addictive qualities of its predecessor that made me say, “just one more job”. But there isn’t currently enough content to keep me coming back. There’s a rudimentary achievement system in place, but there’s not enough of a metagame to keep you invested for very long. The original game had a modest endgame goal of growing enough capital to secure ownership of your shop. Right now there isn’t much to keep you playing long-term other than leveling up to unlock new parts by completing increasingly complex jobs.

Right now the game doesn’t add enough or do things differently enough to warrant a “2” But given how much the original PCBS has changed since launch, I’m excited to see where PCBS coming in a year or so. But now, PCBS2 seems more interested in testing the waters with a handful of shallow properties rather than diving head first into a single one.

PCBS2 didn’t hook me the way the original did, but despite its bugs and overall lack of content, I can’t overlook the game’s potential as an excellent educational tool. Before playing the original PCBS, I had never built a computer. But playing with time gave me the confidence to build several real computers. And while I won’t be water cooling my GPU or motherboard anytime soon, PCBS2 has really piqued my curiosity.

PC Building Simulator 2 launched on October 12 on PC via the Epic Games Store.

#sequel #Building #Simulator #feels #construction

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *