I was unreasonably excited to play the sequel Computer Construction Simulator. The original game taught me the finer points of building a computer and combined the technical aspects with all the logistical drudgery of running your own business. unfortunately, PC Construction Simulator 2 duplicates some of the more annoying aspects while only adding a small handful of shallow features.
As with many simulation games, PCBS2 it’s about appreciating the mundane. Ordinary people don’t obsess over the differences between an NVMe SSD or a 2.5-inch hard drive or fine-tune the voltage on a GPU, but these are the details that PC-building enthusiasts crave.
Like the original game, PCBS2 are you worried about a broken computer repair shop. You start with a small amount of money and a handful of jobs delivered via email. If you haven’t played the original game, PCBS2 might seem a bit surreal since you have to walk your character to an in-game computer to access your email and other applications. Luckily a helpful tutorial guides you through the process step by step.
Each tutorial explains the finer points of running your business slowly handing out more complicated jobs as you gain more experience. The tutorial will guide you through what to do whenever you encounter a specific job for the first time. Unfortunately, there’s no way to easily revisit these tutorials if you’ve forgotten how to do something.
The jobs you take on range from dusting off old computers to CPU overclocking or building desktops from scratch while keeping within your client’s budget. Finally, just like the original game, the tasks soon become practice in reading comprehension. Buried in each email, you’ll find optional requests that, when satisfied, advance you to higher-level jobs. It’s just unfortunate that there isn’t more variety in the objectives, which are very similar to what we saw in the original. PCBS. Some additional goals are attached to customizing a customer’s computers with different decals and paint jobs or utilizing new components, but PCBS2 does not add too many new wrinkles to the works seen in the original.
Personalization is perhaps the biggest addition to PCBS2, letting you transform any desktop into an aesthetically offensive gaming icon. You can apply layered combinations of vinyl skins, individual stickers and spray paint to any computer. The customization tools are clunky, and while you’ll unlock new vinyl wraps and decals as you level up, there’s currently no way to use any custom assets, which is disappointing.
The customization features also extend to your workplace. The original game allowed you to customize your office space, but you can get more granular this time around, with the ability to swap desk designs, decor, walls and floors. There aren’t many customization options, but this feature is a nice touch. Although you can’t renovate your office, you have a lot more flexibility with your workplace this time, functionally and aesthetically.
Once you’ve set up your workspace, you naturally need to build some computers. fortunately, PCBS2 ships with an impressive list of modern PC components ranging from GPUs to water cooling blocks and cases. Most of the components are from popular manufacturers and are almost identical to the real-world counterparts made by NZXT, MSI and Cooler Master. In the past, PCBS has done a great job of keeping parts lists up to date with free updates, which is no easy task considering we’ve seen a ton of new hardware from Nvidia and AMD, not to mention Intel’s new ARC graphics cards.
One of the other standout features that changes how you interact with hardware is the introduction of custom water cooling blocks to fit your motherboard, RAM or GPU. Getting into some of the more technical aspects is the right move for PCBS2and de-lidding CPUs is a feature that is apparently on the roadmap.
It’s clear that the developers are taking steps to make the overall experience of PCBS2 easier. Some of the quality-of-life features introduced with the original game make a welcome return, namely the tablet system, which allows you to access most of the features that originally required you to go back to your office PC. Some other nifty additions include linking purchased parts with your works-in-progress, which comes in handy when juggling multiple open projects. Some new features specific to PCBS2 include a thermal imaging app that lets you troubleshoot specific components and an in-game RAM voltage calculator for memory overclocking.
However, considering how much time you spend in menus with PCBS2, they should be more intuitive. It’s a little confusing because many of the in-game apps you use mirror their real-world counterparts, but lack some of the usability features you’d expect. Imagine navigating your desktop without the ability to resize windows or use any of the shortcuts you’re used to; this is what it feels like PCBS2.
None of this is helped by the fact that PCBS2 is remarkably buggy. On several occasions, I encountered jobs that I could not complete. Graphics glitches are less common, but I have encountered instances of hardware lifting or components cutting through objects. The most irritating, however, was a bug that made it impossible to interact with the game’s on-screen GUI. A good portion of your jobs require installing software or modifying the BIOS on a given machine, which is impossible if you can’t interact with the screen.
Even with its myriad bugs, PCBS2 shares the same addictive qualities as its predecessor, which told me, “just one more job.” However, there is currently not enough content to keep me coming back. There’s a rudimentary achievement system in place, but there’s not enough metagame to keep you invested for very long. The original game had a modest endgame goal of cultivating enough capital to secure ownership of your shop. Right now, there’s not much to keep you playing long term other than leveling up to unlock new parts by completing progressively more complicated jobs.
Right now, the game doesn’t add enough or do things differently enough to warrant a “2” However, considering how much the original PCBS has changed since its launch, I’m excited to see where PCBS it will be in a year. But now, PCBS2 seems more interested in testing the waters with a handful of shallow properties rather than diving headfirst into a single one.
PCBS2 didn’t get its hooks into me the same way the original did, but despite its flaws and general lack of content, I can’t overlook the game’s potential as a great educational tool. Before playing the original PCBS, I have never built a computer. But playing over time gave me the confidence to build multiple real-world desktops. And while I won’t be water cooling my GPU or motherboard anytime soon, PCBS2 certainly piqued my curiosity.
PC Construction Simulator 2 launched on October 12 on PC via the Epic Games Store.