LGV Méditerranée – Route DLC
Publisher: Dovetail Games
Developer: Dovetail Games
Release date: 17th December 2020
Approximate size: 5.8 GB
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Reviewed on: Xbox Series X
Screenshots: Xbox Series X / Xbox.com
After working through the best of the British routes on Train Sim World 2, we head over the English Channel to take a ride through the sun-soaked South of France, between Marseille and Avignon.
As we see with all of the route DLC add-ons for Train Sim World 2, we have a new route, as well as locomotive(s), tutorials, new scenario’s and a selection of collectables to find with the added longevity of the full timetable for the route, offering dozens, sometimes hundreds of journeys at various times of the day.
LGV Méditerranée is no exception, but it’s fair to say it’s a little light in comparison with the majority of routes we see.
First off there’s only a single locomotive included with this pack, the 200 series, TGV Duplex which is a high-speed train capable of speeds in excess of 320kmph, because of the speeds, the route covers a fairly long stretch of 93 kilometres, which will take about 30 minutes for the entire journey, this isn’t bad for a direct line, but with little to no stops along the way, it feels a little repetitive when the only real attention is keeping at the designated speeds consistently for 30 minutes, I also found that due to the high speeds, I was able to complete most journeys with a few minutes left to wait, which means there’s enough leeway to ensure you’re not overspeeding, and still making it to your destination with time to spare.
Along the route there’s a total of 9 stations, Marseille St-Charles and Avignon are the end locations, but along the route, you’ll also find Aix-en-Province which is a medium to large size station, unfortunately, all 3 of these stations are mostly limited to the main platform areas, so there’s not the chance of exploration that we’ve seen on some routes.
The other 6 locations are even more disappointing, there’s the depot which is used in one scenario for juggling around trains, an abandoned run-down station which you’ll barely notice when flying through at 320kmph, and the remaining 4 places are merely names on a map and offer little more than a bridge or building in the distance.
In fact, you won’t notice these on the train and if you explore on foot, you’re likely to only visit them to search for the infuriatingly difficult to find cabinet collectables.
Speaking of collectables, there are 5 sets in total, to complete all of these, you’ll need to place 12 route maps, 12 posters, 10 first aid kits and 20 no trespassing signs, as well as fixing ten broken cabinets.
The total of 64 isn’t a bad figure, but through the 3 stations, you’ll be close to 2/3rds within half an hour and the rest (most the signs and cabinets) are scattered off-station, with many considerably difficult to find, meaning you’ll be walking up and down the tracks hoping to stumble across the next one.
Just beyond Marseille you’ll need to switch the power from DC to LGV to hit the higher speeds, it’s a little cumbersome, but once you memorise lowering the strut, to change power, and then resetting the switches once reconnected, it’s easily done, unfortunately, this is really the most action we see, with only a few scenario’s livening up the journey.
Graphically LGV Méditerranée is about average, with this route through the south of France, you can expect to see the countryside and a lot of it, as soon as you reach beyond the stations there’s endless countryside stretches, with a few bodies of water to look at, a couple of tunnels help break things up, but especially for the timetable routes (which are essentially the same journey at different times of the day), it does start to feel a little mundane, especially when you’re pretty consistently travelling at such a high speed any surroundings become a blur, and if you’ve got some heavy rain or similar weather, there’s a noticeable drop if framerate, which can be a little distracting, especially combined with the occasional pop-in we’ve come to expect from the franchise.
It’s sadly not helped that besides the power control and speed management, there’s not an awful lot to do to break things up, but at least you’ll find the internals of the train well detailed if you decide to have a walk through the carriage.
Audio fares better, with the train sounding great especially when you reach higher speeds, the stations sound atmospheric and while there’s not that much sound, it lends well to the quieter platforms, compared to some routes that make stations sound far busier than they visually are.
This all leaves LGV Méditerranée a little underwhelming, especially when compared to the fantastic offering from the South Eastern High-Speed route add-on, only the single locomotive and limited locations mean you’ll be doing a lot of the same thing.
Fans of French rail have an interesting route, however, if you’re looking for high-speed services, I’d take a good look at the more recently released South Eastern High Speed which offers a more complete package in just about every department.