Hello everyone! I invite you to come back to Switzerland, specifically to the Engadine, on the latest Rivet Games route released yesterday for € 29.99 (£ 24.99) on Steam, with an additional 20% discount for its launch.
Rivet is therefore coming back on the RhB narrow-gauge network to offer us the route from Pontresina to Scuol-Tarasp, a total of 57 kilometres that can be covered in one hour without stops. The route starts in the Upper Engadine, where it runs for 7 kilometres on tracks already available with the Bernina Pass add-on. The Engadine takes its name from the river Inn, which flows for over 500 kilometres to the Danube, passing, among other places, through the Austrian city of Innsbruck. As you can see, this river will follow us on our rail journey and will allow us to appreciate the gorges it carves, especially around Zernez and shortly before Scuol railway station. This station is located at the border between the Lower Engadine and Tirol, and is a dead end. Although at a lower altitude, this part of the valley is wilder and narrower than the Upper Engadine.
Rivet succeeds once again in making us feel the mountain atmosphere with a large number of custom assets in the buildings, the region is very recognizable. The forested areas are beautiful in summer, however in winter the texture of the soil does not match the trees at all, which produces a not very aesthetic distant rendering when trees are spaced far enough apart to see the ground. Another drawback: Rivet uses very little grass assets to fill the fields, which gives an impression of emptiness that you can see when watching their trailer. When a lot of freeware routes have a higher level of detail, it hurts a bit. However, we can still appreciate the fact that the route is perfectly optimized and will run on all PC configurations.
The locomotive used in the scenarios is the Ge 6/6 II, already present in their RhB Enhancement Pack 04. This time, the locomotive is included with the route; I'm glad the studio didn't make the same mistake as they did with the Surselva Line, where we had to buy the rolling stock separately! The modelling of the engine is of excellent quality, the pantograph is dynamically lowered under tunnels and the locomotive door can be opened. The functionalities, as usual with Rivet, remain quite basic: among others, no dead man's pedal emulation and the single-speed wiper comes back. However, I note that a decent number of indicators in the cab are functional and that the dynamic braking - quite particular on this loco - has been correctly reproduced. The audio part is rather a nice surprise and the tachograph noise is a real pleasure, however the sound of air friction seems to suffer from a bug and sometimes cuts off abruptly in the middle of a tunnel only to come back a few seconds later.
Finally, six scenarios (plus a tutorial) are provided, allowing both freight and passenger services to be driven. The route and locomotive support request stops and most scenarios benefit from dynamically changing weather - there is always a chance of a shower. The route is demanding and requires constant vigilance, especially since the locomotive, as in reality, has no speed set. However, the lack of grade indication signs reduces immersion in the scenarios somewhat. Speaking of reducing immersion, doors regularly open on the wrong side in the station to let passengers get off where there are no platforms, the same bug as on the Schaffhausen-Kreuzlingen route - a bug that was partially fixed by me.
As you can see, I'm less enthusiastic about this route than I was about Rivet's previous ones. Let's be clear, the add-on is still of very good quality, but I have more and more the impression that Rivet is getting too comfortable with their success by offering us recycled RhB rolling stock and routes that are quite similar to each other - except for the Gotthardbahn and Schaffhausen-Kreuzlingen, without trying to improve their mapping techniques. When will we get an add-on from western Switzerland? So, once again, Rivet keeps its consistency in quality... and in drawbacks!
P.S. This review was made on a mod expressly given by Rivet Games. However, I have tried to be as objective as possible.
To see more...
https://youtu.be/wfLdX6UUrws - credits Mavericks Bastelstube (Deutsch)
https://www.twitch.tv/videos/661294507 - credits fanfa95 (français)
https://www.twitch.tv/videos/661986733 - credits Lus0rius (français)