After launching early last year, American Truck Simulator has finally received its first world expansion pack: New Mexico. This new state adds 4000 miles of road to the game’s already expansive recreation of the western United States. So, is it worth the $12 price of admission?
If you’re already familiar with American Truck Simulator (and its sibling, Euro Truck Simulator 2), then you should already know what to expect from this new DLC. In addition to the vast new road system, the New Mexico DLC also has quite a bit of detail. You can really see that the developers took a lot of time to create a faithful virtual representation of the real state.
Driving through the various major cities and small towns show just how much effort was put into it. The architecture changes depending on where you are, which is very authentic. The small towns really do look like small towns, with the buildings having a very compact and rustic design, while the cities have much larger, industrial layouts. Objects are peppered throughout the landscape to make everything feels lively and realistic, and it works. You see neighborhoods, churches, restaurants, hotels, and the like, all of which match the real-world New Mexico.
In addition to all the manmade structures, SCS also made sure to carefully sculpt the state’s amazing natural landscapes. Just like the other states in the game (California, Nevada, and Arizona), New Mexico mostly consists of arid deserts, mountains, and canyons. There’s very little greenery in real life due to the lack of water, and that’s represented well here in the DLC. While most of the time you’ll be looking off into the expanse of sparse, rocky, dry, yellow-orange terrain, some of the natural landscapes do look quite beautiful. The state’s road network is rather nice with a lot of wide highways and high speed limits. Although, there will be times when you’ll have to slow down; whether it be because you’re passing through a small town, or you’re climbing a steep gradient on one of the mountain roads. But, having this variety is great and makes the experience quite interesting.
Most of New Mexico is quite sparse and arid, but it looks beautiful.
This New Mexico DLC released alongside game update 1.29 which added some new features and improvements (such as random roadside accident events). The improvements made to the game itself armed with the DLC make for a nice overall package. But, that brings us back to the question: is the price worth it?
The thing about New Mexico is that it looks very similar to that of the other states in the game. It has unique areas and architecture (as do the other states), no doubt, it’s still a dry, desert state like California, Nevada, and Arizona. This issue has more to do with the choice the game world made by SCS rather than the DLC itself. Seeing that New Mexico has been released just a few months shy of two years after the original game, it makes you wonder how far SCS intends to go with the expansion of the ATS’ world. I definitely applaud the team for taking the time to meticulously craft New Mexico’s map with a lot of neat little details and great scenery, but if it means that we’ll have to continuously wait on a near bi-annual basis for a new state, then it would be quite a long time to add the remaining 45 states (not counting Hawaii). Now, SCS never actually said that it would include the whole USA in the game, but that’s just the thing.
— The Bottom Line —
Whoa! A Farming Simulator and American Truck Simulator cross-over!
Jokes aside, this DLC is rather nice.
Since these western states look so similar to each other, it does make the game feel a bit too ‘samey’ at times. Compare it to the typically lush terrain of the countries in Euro Truck Simulator 2. They kind of blend together as well, but not as much. But, again, this is an American Truck Simulator issue. As for the New Mexico DLC itself, I think it’s worth checking out because of all the rich detail that it includes. For an open-world game where you can’t actually stop to walk around and interact with anything, this DLC especially makes the experience good enough that it doesn’t feel too limiting to not have a feature like that. SCS has done a great job at making the ATS’ world feel truly alive and realistic, and I hope that they will continue to do so as time goes on. New Mexico on its own has a lot of sights to see, alien-themes and all, so definitely consider picking it up.