It’s a child’s dream to become a policeman or firefighter. Well, now you can fulfil one of those goals with Firefighters: The Simulation.
Firefighters – The Simulation, begins with a training mission, probably for the best because I’m no firefighter. The training is supposed to help you with the controls and routines of a firefighter. You are greeted by a fellow firefighter that talks to you via text and appears to be hovering above the ground, his legs limply swaying from side to side. The complete lack of voice acting is immediately obvious but maybe this hovering avatar was communicating with me telepathically. You are given a tour of the fire station, which is populated by numerous bald firefighters that all look the same as our floating guide, except some sport different skin tones. The fire station is a desolate place and appears to be very underwhelming from a technical perspective; this is hardly the hub of an elite emergency service team. The main “control room” has three desks which are populated with paper trays and random desktop computers. The other rooms are filled with 70’s furniture and there is even a record player in the common room. The training mission came to an immediate halt as my guide became stuck on the edge of a door and carried on walking into it over and over again for 5 minutes – I had to restart the game a few times to get past the tutorial. The tour culminated in the garage where I was shown the eight fire engines that I would operate throughout my career. The problem was that no instruction had been given on how to operate these vehicles or on how to actually fight a fire.
My first shift of the day began. There are eight fire engines, each named “Florian” and they all have different abilities. As you make your way up the ranks as a firefighter, you unlock the more advanced fire engines. I began my shift in “Florian 1” a simple van that is used for low-level firefighting and reconnaissance. Only when I walked up to the door in front of “Florian 1” did the first button prompt appear to open the fire station door. Getting inside the vehicle displayed the controls at the bottom of the screen and showed that this version of the game appears to be a mobile port. The average day of a firefighter involves randomly driving around the deserted city and surrounding countryside waiting for a fire to break out. “Driving” any of the “Florian” vehicles feels like piloting a barge through glue and is an exercise in patience. The controls are truly shocking and I certainly did not like the feel of the game.
Emergencies were sent to your vehicle through the radio but this is never made clear. Most of the information required to play the game is never given in a clear manner and requires a great deal of experimenting. The next 24 hours involved equally non-dramatic incidents such as a box on fire behind a house and a bin on fire. After putting out a fire, you are awarded points that are required to progress to the next rank of firefighter. There are nine ranks in total and getting to the higher ranks will require many boring days of firefighting.
Being promoted unlocks new fire engines and each engine has a new set of equipment required to deal with new incidents. One of the “new” incidents that were sent to “Florian 4” involved a large oil spill that was apparently hazardous to the citizens and environment. To clear up the oil spill you pour an absorbent from a sack over it and then sweep up the remains with a brush. However, the brush appears to operate like a vacuum that just sucks up the dirt. This is mind-numbing, soul-destroying stuff and shows a complete lack of inspiration in mission design. How an oil spill in the drive of someone’s home, located in the middle of the countryside, was a danger to the citizens and environment is still a mystery. In fact, the whole environment is a mystery. The surrounding countryside and city located near the fire station are totally devoid of life apart from a random woman dressed in a red dress, a man who appears to be driving the same car around constantly, and a horse that looks like it is made of cheap plastic.
The graphics are very basic, what is really off putting is the floating firefighters and the random people that would show up from out of the blue. Sadly, for us, it really is a badly executed game.
Firefighters: The Simulation is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC via Steam