I have been building gaming PCs for a very long time. Ever since I made the jump over from console, it's always been a passion of mine. It probably stems from being a LEGO kid growing up. But outside of the occasional friend building a new system, there's rarely a time to be able to build a new PC. It's pretty cost-prohibitive, and often, the accessibility of parts limits the potential of what's possible.
Then a few years back, a lovely little game called PC Building Simulator popped up on my YouTube feed. Immediately intrigued, I rushed to Steam to buy the game and was met with what I would call an incredibly fun, but also unexpected, experience. I was able to finally build as many computers as I wanted, with as many wild configurations as I wanted. But it had its limitations.
Well now, PC Building Simulator 2 is out, and boy oh boy, what a gem we have. This game capitalizes on the good that the original had, but brings in so much more detail and features that dare I say, the immersion is incredible.
It'd feel wrong not to address the visuals in this game first and foremost. Upon hitting the menu, you're greeted with a truly wild-looking showcase PC. Once you get into the game, whether it be free-build or career modes, the visual clarity on the parts is incredible.
Everything in terms of parts is incredibly detailed, and it makes sense given the work that the team went through to get the specs. The traces on the motherboards, individual fins on heatsinks, and even lettering on CPU's and memory are all there and finely detailed.
On top of that, the lighting effects in the game are glorious. There are vibrant RGB lights galore in any and every part that has them. For those that don't, the color saturation and vibrancy is great.
The main gameplay modes here are the same as in the first game, career and free build modes. Career mode has you running your uncle's run-down PC Repair shop after a mysterious fire. You'll get different jobs via email, and you're responsible for ordering parts and executing the jobs well.
The jobs in this career mode are far more interesting than the original game's jobs, which keeps things interesting and fun. What's new in this game as well is that you also have a storefront to sell PCs in. You can pick up "junked" pcs, fix them up with new or used parts from jobs, and sell them off at a profit to sustain your shop.
Free build is just as it sounds, free build. Here you can pick the components of your choice and go to town in building the PC and testing it. Free build also has some nice quality of life in that it will auto-complete screws for you, which you'll have to do manually in the career mode for a little while. Both modes are quite fun.
New Build Features
Obviously, with this being a sequel, there have to be some improvements to the game's feature set. These features bring a whole new level of detail and customization to the game. One of the first ones that you'll be introduced to in the career mode is the ability to change your workbench to take on different types of projects.
There are a few things that you'll change your benches for. The first one is to do case painting. You have a wide array of colors to paint the entirety of the case, even the glass side panels if you want. You can also slap some funny stickers on there to give it that personal flare.
The other thing you can change your bench to do is water cool various parts. When doing this, you'll be given a list of motherboards and graphics cards that have water blocks in-game. You'll then go through the process of removing aspects of the part, and replacing them with water-cooling parts. When that's finished, you can then put the newly blocked part into your build.
The one other thing that I'll mention about this game that I think is severely underrated is that it can be a teaching tool. Primarily it can be a teaching tool that can help teach people how to build computers. You'll learn what components are needed in any build, where they fit together in a case, and even the process of putting it all together.
Then you have the tuning and overclocking potential teaching tools. You can overclock the CPU and GPU in the game, and run benchmarks against these overclocks. This is a great way for those curious about the overclocking process to give it a go at it without risking any real parts and money.
To be entirely honest, there isn't a lot that's bad to say here. The game knows what it's doing, and does it very well. While sure there's something that would be cool to have, like being able to do your own cable management, rather than the game do it for you, I think that it's one of those things that might be a bit too much immersion.
There are a couple of small hiccups with various part placements that we'd be able to do in real life that aren't possible here, but those are so rare that it's hardly a detractor from the game.
At the end of the day, PC Building Simulator 2 lets me live out my dreams of putting together and running $10,000 computers. The only real downside is that I can't play other games on them.