SCS Software are back at it, expanding what may well be the biggest curated map in gaming. The long awaited Road to the Black Sea expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2 has arrived and it's a great addition to the evergreen trucking franchise.
As usual the attention to detail is fantastic,with plenty in here to please the hardcore ETS2 fan base which has stuck with the game for the past seven or so years. Romania and Bulgaria are both part of the EU but both of them aren't within the Schengen Area (a unified area of 26 European states who have abolished passport control at their mutual borders) as of yet, so the border crossings from Schengen Area countries are still present and are beautifully recreated in this DLC. You can definitely tell when driving from Romania to Bulgaria that you are about to cross the border, it feels like a big moment in any delivery. As always with this studio, when it does something it does it properly, and Road to the Black Sea is all the better for it.
It is getting very close to being the whole of the European Union now as well. We are missing the rest of the Balkan state, Greece, Spain, Portugal and for some odd reason, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Looking forward, it would be nice to see the Channel Islands added as well, possibly with a Spanish and Portugese DLC including some of their respective islands, which would make for a very scenic game. And although the DLCs are a tad expensive for a game that is called, well, Euro Truck Simulator, despite most of Europe not being in the base version, the sheer scale and volume of work which needs to go into replicating these nations in digital form is never anything short of astonishing. Once you become familiar with ETS2 it's easy to see why SCS is taking it DLC by DLC.
As ever though, there's plenty in this expansion as well to justify the £13.49 price tag. We're looking at three European regions, 20 major cities, over 10,000 kilometres of new roads to drive, dozens upon dozens of major landmarks, 11 new industries, 22 new haulage companies and countless other additions.
This latest DLC also comes with a massive patch for all ETS2 players, regardless of whether they pick up the new expansion or not. For the Vive la France DLC lovers, Corsica has finally been added to the map, making it even easier to travel between France and Italy. Corsica to Sardinia to Sicily has never been made easier. And the biggest upgrade of all, both Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator have received full DX11 support. DirectX 9 functionality is now completely removed and ETS 2 now runs all the better for it, at a higher fidelity to boot. Now Euro Truck 2 runs on DX11, everyone should be able to run it at greater graphical settings.
I'm a big fan of how they release their DLCs and the support that comes with it afterwords. The fact that they are on patch 1.36 means the game has been patched or updated at least 36 times since coming out of beta; it's great to see from developers who work hard after the fact.
As per usual, all the hardcore Euro Truck Simulator 2 players will doubtless have already picked this DLC up without even thinking about it. When you're in, you're in. Road to the Black Sea, paired up with all the other expansions, just makes for an incredibly immersive long distance drive that you can either bravely attempt to do in one sitting, or stop at a rest stop and pick up again later. It's incredibly meditative to put some tunes of the radio, buckle up, and have a go at those haulage runs in one straight session.
Overall, Road to the Black Sea is another fantastic DLC for Euro Truck Simulator 2 that everyone has been waiting for since Beyond the Baltic Sea was released last year. Now we're just keen to see whether and when the final chunks of Europe will be coming our way.