STAFF REVIEW of PC Building Simulator (Xbox One)


Monday, September 2, 2019.
by Brent Roberts

PC Building Simulator Box art At the turn of the century (wow that makes me feel old), I had opened up a computer business with a partner and we took it upon ourselves to build computing solutions for both individuals and small businesses. This was an amazing experience because we realized that everyone uses a computer for different reasons. Now though, developer The Irregular Corporation, has tried to bring this PC building to a virtual environment with the aptly titled: PC Building Simulator for the price of $19.99. The goals here are to provide you with a realistic environment to build the PC of your dreams and take a peek behind the curtain of what it takes to run an actual PC business. So, does PC Building Simulator overclock the competition and deliver an amazing performance or does it get a blue screen of death (BSOD) and crash spectacularly? Let's find out.

At first glance, PC Building Simulator seems very sparse with not a lot of content on the surface. You're granted only a couple options which are career and free build modes. I'll tackle these individually, but the primary difference is that with career, you have to work your way through the trudges of the business to unlock new components and build opportunities, whereas the free build already has everything unlocked for you and you can build whatever you wish, however you wish. Other than that, the mechanics of each mode are identical, so let's dive into career mode!


In career mode you play the role of a nephew who's Uncle owns a PC repair/building business. This Uncle has decided to venture out in search of another business to start up and has left you in charge of the PC business. This Uncle also decided to take $15 out of the drawer (for gas he says), so you find yourself starting out -$15 in the hole and left with a business that you don't know where to begin. Thankfully the game's tutorial will take you through step by step as to the procedure which is as follows:

1. Check emails for PC jobs (repair or builds) and figure out what they need.

2. Load up your "Store" and browse through the various components (CPU, CPU cooling, Memory, Storage, etc.) that you will need to complete the various jobs.

3. Select 2-day shipping for the components so they will arrive the next day (should you forget you can get your components on the same day for an extra $100).

4. With your components ordered, go back to your emails and accept the jobs that you ordered the parts for.

5. Now leave the store and you'll advance to the next day. If you select "Go to work" then you'll arrive in the hallway and you'll see your parts and the PC's that need work.

6. Pick up the individual computers and follow through the necessary repair/upgrade work that needs done, then place it back in the hallway to pick up.

7. Go back to your emails and find the job you just finished (I use the subject line as a good way of recognizing what PC needed what work done and what needs to go out) and click "Accept" to have the PC picked up and money deposited in your account.

8. When you're finished with that PC and the money has been deposited, you can get rid of the email to make things less cluttered for you.

9. Move onto the next PC and repeat steps 6-8 until everything is all sorted and completed for the day.

10. Now go back through steps 1-5 to get new work and more components.

One thing to make note of though, just like life, customers have certain "requests", and your business can make a much better profit by paying attention to the customer's requests. For example, you may have a customer who states in the email that they want you to build a PC and they'll state: "I've heard Intel CPUs are the best." If you build this customer a PC with an Intel CPU then you'll have an extra happy customer and your review will reflect it and this is important.

It's important because some jobs will only unlock when/if you have a certain star rating, so the more you make your customers happy, the better the reviews and the higher rated your shop will be, thus more business you will be able to do. The more business you do leads you to level up and unlock new parts and equipment (this will be especially helpful when you try to go for that achievement of hitting a benchmark on the amount) that you can use on upcoming builds/repair work.


This aspect does inject a lot of real-life situations in it. For example you'll get emails that say things like "my son was using my computer and now it's slow and pop ups are everywhere", or "my computer doesn't work and I don't know what's wrong with it", or even things like "I got this from you a while ago and it doesn't work, can you fix it?". These represent the bulk of the emails you'll be addressing and will tend to represent a typical business deal. You will also get the occasional email about how some Nigerian Prince wants you to build him a PC and once you do, you'll be rewarded with $4,000. Things you can expect to appear in your spam folder will appear and I'm not going to tell you what happens if you build the Nigerian Prince his PC because you should experience it for yourself.

This simulator also provides a great deal of components to use and, should you not be familiar, will teach you about overclocking your CPU, GPU and RAM, and will take you through the details regarding water cooling systems as well. It's quite possible when you've unlocked everything to build a system that is easily over $10,000 worth of components and make it a legendary behemoth of a machine. The nice thing about this is that if you manage to screw up your overclocking you can actually test your machine beforehand and see if/where errors will occur, and you can also test your water cooling system as well to make sure that there are no problems within.

I do have one colossal gripe though. For instance, when you're doing ANY work with repairs, just like life, you'll have to connect the power cable, the cable to your monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. Now this normally wouldn't pose a problem, except for the reality that moving these cables to connect can be a painstaking process due to the movement sensitivity of the cable. Granted, there is a benefit by seeing an orange(ish) outline on the area the cable gets plugged into, but moving the cables to their connectors can be a pain (again, like life). To solve this, you can spend thousands of your hard earned dollars on "quick connects" that will instantly connect peripherals, internal components and even the wiring outside as well (all the cables described above), and that seems like a cop out to me. It seems like the game makes doing the work more tedious than it has to be, so you almost feel compelled to invest in these types of "aids" to help make the work feel less strenuous.


The reason I'm talking so much about the career mode is because that's where the heart and soul of this game resides. The free build mode just gives you all the toys to play with and you can create and experiment at your leisure, but that's it. There's no bill paying, no customer emails, no jobs, nothing but building your own PC at your whim. This doesn't seem like much but there are a couple of achievements you can snag in this mode since everything is unlocked already and you don't have to work for your levels.

The graphics are decent and provide detailed views of the actual real-life components. The cases are all modeled correctly and the game is setup nicely to help those who don't know what they're looking at, understand what the component is and what it does thanks to a small pop up dialog window that displays the information. Now, for those who may already be a pro and understand what everything does, this may not be a worthwhile thing, but for those who wish to learn, this is invaluable. Sadly though, there isn't much of a quality soundtrack, and thanks to all the PC's I had to clean and dealing with the sound of the compressed air can (which is realistic by the way), I ended up turning the sound effects and music completely off and just put on my own tunes and went to work.

If you're looking for a simulator that offers a taste of real-world PC building and customer interaction, then this game is a must have. With some relatively easy achievements to compliment the experience, you'll quickly realize that the only thing that isn't real world about this simulator is how your screws magically vanish whenever you need them. I'm rating this game just shy of 90 because outside of the graphics and the audio, but the entire composition of PC Building Simulator is near flawless. For $19.99, PC Building Simulator is one of the best, and unexpected, sims the Xbox platform period.


Suggestions:
Could you please not charge so much for the "auto-connecting cables"? Maybe make it an option that you can toggle on and off? Also include bags of screws in the shop because everyone already knows that they will go missing.


Overall: 8.8 / 10
Gameplay: 8.8 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 6.5 / 10

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