The Sim of the Year 2012: Euro Truck Simulator 2

Scary true story. A week after ETS2 reversed, beeping, into my life, I collected a friend from a house in the middle of nowhere. We'd driven about a mile down a winding country lane when the friend enquired “Er, shouldn't you be on the other side of the road?” Days of whisking simulated cargoes along simulated continental highways had stealthily displaced a decade and a half of unsimulated British motoring experience. I veered to the left, and blurted a confession.

This long-distance lorry driving game is as mesmerising as the swish-swish of windscreen wipers in a rain-lashed traffic jam. It's as rhythmic as motorway driving. Mirror, signal, manoeuvre, mirror signal, manoeuvre; dip headlights, undip headlights, dip headlights, undip headlights... As your haulage business grows and you explore more and more of the seamless European venue, the suspiciously unisex scenery and slightly timid truck audio seems less and less important. What matters is identifying the most lucrative contracts, then fulfilling those contracts as speedily and safely as possible.

2012 has given us more detailed and plausible vehicles than ETS2's DAFs, Scanias and Volvos (the FSX and X-Plane add-on scene continues to spawn a steady stream of high-fidelity gems). It's given us lovelier landscapes (AeroFly FS springs to mind). What it hasn't managed to do is deliver a sim with more natural momentum, more innate randomness. Dynamic job offers, ever-changing traffic flows, and thousands of miles of hand-crafted tarmac are the ever-present rumble strips that keep Zen-like relaxation from turning into bleary-eyed boredom.

In a market awash with atrocious vehicle games masquerading as simulators, ETS2 risks being damned by association. “Budget price, unpromising theme? Think I'll stick to the winged wonders I know and love.” All those who do cross the road to avoid this articulated outsider are missing out on a sim as singular as it is soothing, as hypnotising as it is terminally unhip.

Read More: Euro Truck Simulator 2 review .

Runners Up: AeroflyFS, X-Plane.