I am not a simulation guy, far from it. Yet if you ask me how I spent the eighteenth of November. Well, the lads and I played Firefighting Simulator – The Squad. In case you were wondering – This is a simulator game in which you and optionally a squad play as a firefighter and do what firefighters do. For some, this sounds mundane, but come with me and let me tell you why it isn’t.
Due to the migration form an old host, many captured images are missing – apologies.
|Intel Core i7-7700k||NVIDIA GTX 1080||32GB|
Let’s start off by looking at my rig. I believe this would be on the lower end of what is classed as ‘High End’ when it comes to PC Gaming, but how does it stack up to the games recommended system requirements according to Steam?
|Intel Core i7-3820 with 3,6 GHz||GeForce GTX 1070 (8 GB VRAM)||16GB|
|AMD FX-8350 with 4,0 GHz or higher||AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT (8GB VRAM)||16GB|
Smashed it out the park there, but the numbers here are one thing, how does the game perform overall?
During the driving sections of the game – the game runs perfectly. No frame dips or drops, no stutters and no crashes. On the default high settings, I experienced over 100 FPS. Now we will get back to that later, right now we need to talk about the firefighting aspect of Firefighting Simulator – The Squad, after all – it’s in the name.
No massive change. I maybe lost about 10-20 FPS overall. The fires are ferocious and vividly detailed with plumes of black smoke obscuring many details when you are running through the building hose in hand. I also feel that’s the key. The smoke obscures so less needs to be rendered to save your poor GPU from melting down. If so, excellent move because this game runs great. A few little bugs here and there but nothing major.
Now, graphically this game isn’t pushing the boat out when it comes to the power of the Unreal Engine. Firefighting Simulator – The Squad looks good, but it holds no candles to Darksiders III in terms of graphical fidelity or world detail and it doesn’t have to. The gameplay makes up for the lack of fidelity as it is a simulation and not an expansive open-world RPG or First Person Shooter.
What story? This game – like Descenders and Phasmophobia – has a premise. You and up to three friends are on-call firefighters who get called to various jobs around town. In a shocking twist, it’s your job to put out the fires. Who knew? You start either at the station or somewhere in town and get a call from the dispatcher telling you of a fire, you go to it and you put it out. Rocket science it is not.
It should go without saying but given this game is a simulation – gameplay is meticulously crafted to give you the most immersive experience possible. That starts from the get-go. Driving this 2-tonne steel behemoth known as a Fire Engine or Fire Truck can be like drifting an elephant. Now you can unlock other engines and they vary greatly in utility and capability. Some truck even try to take corners horizontally.
In the lobby, you can pick from extremely long trucks to ones with extendable ladders. There are many more but for the most part, you can break it down into utility. Obviously, you will want to drive the new engine when you unlock it and you will soon find your favourite. Each truck comes with its own drawbacks: some do not connect to a hydrant, some are impossible to turn and others are often a hindrance to the fire. Having an extendable ladder is great… if it reaches the building.
Now, you will run into a routine if playing with friends, so let me explain mine:
After arriving at the scene, myself, my brother and my friend do our own little things. My brother often grabs an axe and sees what doors been caved in. My friend grabs a supply line and sets up the mains, I will set up 3 attack hoses ready for action. With all the doors now in pieces it’s time to rescue civilians if there are any.
After grabbing the people we then take them to the paramedic and commence firefighting. You do get different types of fire and that can be ascertained from the noise made when hit with water. If there is no noise then everything is fine, loud hissing, however, denotes that there is oil. At this point, someone runs back to the truck to get a Co2 extinguisher. If however, you don’t hear the loud hiss – your character did and he shouts that’s it’s an oil fire.
Once you arrive you need to work the bottom to top as fast as possible. There is a time-based exp system in place. Fast response time can be achieved by getting to the incident ASAP and that’s worth experience. If you put out the fire within a set time frame you can get a fast time or an average time bonus. More exp means quicker levelling which means more trucks to drive and more fires to fight. Easy.
Given this is a simulation you do have to go through the motions if you will. Take off the cap, carry the hose, attach the hose, attach the nozzle. Put down the supports before using the big ladder, smack the door 100 times to break it with the axe. All that good stuff. The best mechanic is the fire though. It can spread if you’re not careful.
Working from the fire base upward allows for an easy job but you need to be careful when you enter rooms. Flashover is a mechanic and it can make the mission that much harder. The particular type of flashover found in game is the backdraft. The room is so hot and the materials are so broken down that they are internally on fire, with no oxygen in the room all seems fine. Then you open the door and everything catches fire… including you.
Unlike Superman you do take damage. I have never managed to die in this game so I am unsure if that’s it for you or if you respawn. Just because its a fun casual simulation game does not mean you have to be stupid about things. There is a singular similarity to yourself and Superman that can be drawn though: you have to get victims out of the fire and to safety. You put them on your shoulders and casually stoat out the building like you own the place and put them in the paramedic gurney. You cannot finish the level if you do not evacuate everyone.
Overall I can easily play this game for about 3 hours at a time. It is very repetitive. I will say that the experience would be greatly heightened in VR if not chaotic. I would play it in VR, happily. However, this is the overall section and as such, Firefighting Simulator – The Squad must now be judged solely on its merits and shortcomings.
Let me explain this score to you all: The premise (and not the story) is fairly solid. That being said there is more to being a firefighter than actually fighting fires. I was in a car crash with no fires and they still showed up. The name Firefighter is a misnomer in my opinion – the job entails more but this game does not. Though the namesake is Firefighting sim – expanding upon this base would be beneficial for the future.
In terms of the performance it was solid but a few little bugs and issues that are very easy to replicate still remain in the game. The game is not an Early Access title either so why can I get indefinitely stuck on a ladder or fall through the map to see toppled cars and random pedestrians just walking?
Gameplay is solid though – granted there are a few things I found in research that are not in the game but when it comes to simulations you have Microsoft Flight Simulator levels of sim, then you have Surgeon Simulator. I’d place this game right next to House Flipper. You get enough to give you a good understanding of what to do, but it certainly does would not prepare you for what the actual job entails.
Anyway people that’s it from me, Until next time – Arrivederci.