PC Building Simulator sequel feels like it’s still under construction

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I was unreasonably excited to play the sequel to PC building simulator. The original game taught me the intricacies of building a PC and married the technical aspects with all the logistical drudgery of running your own business. Unfortunately, PC Building Simulator 2 doubles down on some of the more inconvenient aspects while adding only a small handful of shallow features.

Another day at the office isn’t much, but it’s honest work
Image: Alice Newcome Beill

As with many simulation games, PCBS2 is to enjoy the mundane. Ordinary people don’t obsess over the differences between an NVMe SSD or a 2.5-inch HDD or fine-tuning the voltage on a GPU, but those are the details that PC-building enthusiasts crave.

Like the original game, PCBS2 puts you in charge of a rundown 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, as you have to direct your character to an in-game computer to access your email and other apps. Fortunately, a helpful tutorial walks you through the process step by step.

Each tutorial explains the intricacies of running your business, slowly distributing more complicated tasks as you gain more experience. The tutorial will walk you through what to do whenever you encounter a specific job for the first time. Unfortunately, there’s no way to easily review these tutorials if you’ve forgotten how to do something.

A screenshot from PC Building Simulator 2, showing the process of cooling a motherboard with water.

You too can water cool your motherboard for fun and profit in PC Building Simulator 2
Image: Alice Newcome Beill

The tasks you perform range from cleaning dust from old PCs to overclocking processors or building desktops from scratch while staying within your client’s budget. Eventually, just like the original game, the assignments quickly become reading comprehension practice. Buried in every email, you’ll find optional requests that, when met, grant you access to higher-level jobs. It’s just a shame there isn’t more variety in the objectives, which are very similar to what we saw in the original pcb. Some additional goals are related to customizing a customer’s PCs with different decals and paint jobs or using new components, but PCBS2 doesn’t add too many new folds to the works seen in the original.

A screenshot of PC Building Simulator 2 showing the working system

Your tasks range from the mundane to the complicated, but don’t deviate drastically from what we saw in the original.

Customization is perhaps the biggest addition to PCBS2, allowing you to turn any desktop into an aesthetically offensive gaming icon. You can apply layered combinations of vinyl skins, individual stickers, and spray paint to any PC. The customization tools are clunky, and while you unlock new wraps and vinyl decals as you progress, there’s currently no way to use custom assets, which is disappointing.

The customization features also extend to your workshop. The original game let you customize your office space, but you can get more precision this time around, with the ability to swap out office 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, this time around you have a lot more flexibility with your workspace, both functionally and aesthetically.

A screenshot of PC Building Simulator 2 showing workshop customization options

The tablet allows you to change the look of your workshop

Once you’ve set up your workspace, naturally you need to build PCs. Fortunately, PCBS2 comes with an impressive list of contemporary PC components ranging from GPUs to water cooling blocks and cases. Most components are sourced from popular manufacturers and are virtually identical to real-world counterparts made by NZXT, MSI, and Cooler Master. In the old days, pcb did a great job of keeping the parts lists up to date with free updates, which is no easy task considering we’ve seen loads of new hardware from Nvidia and AMD, not to mention new Intel ARC graphics cards.

The list of branded parts in PCBS2 is really impressive, but menu navigation is a drag

The list of branded parts in PCBS2 is really impressive, but menu navigation is a drag

One of the other standout features that changes the way you interact with hardware is the introduction of installing custom water cooling blocks on your motherboard, RAM, or GPU. Going into some of the more technical aspects is the right move for PCBS2and CPU unboxing is a feature apparently on the roadmap.

It’s clear that the developers are taking steps to streamline the overall PCBS2 experience. Some of the quality of life features instituted with the original game make a welcome return, namely the tablet system, which lets you access most of the functions that originally required you to go back to your desktop PC. Some other smart additions include linking purchased parts with your work 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 particular components and an in-game RAM voltage calculator for memory overclocking.

A screenshot from PC Building Simulator 2 showing thermal paste being applied

The only approved method for applying thermal paste
Image: Alice Newcome Beill

However, given the amount of time you spend in menus with PCBS2, they should be more intuitive. It’s a bit confusing because many of the gaming apps you use mirror their real-world counterparts, but don’t have any of the usability features you’d expect. Imagine browsing your desktop without being able to resize windows or use any of the shortcuts you’re used to; that’s 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. Graphical glitches are less common, but I’ve encountered cases of levitating hardware or components cutting through objects. Most irritating, however, was a bug that prevented interacting with the game’s on-screen GUI. is impossible if you cannot interact with the screen.

A screenshot from PC Building Simulator 2 showing the EVGA motherboard BIOS

You can mess with the motherboard BIOS on most machines, as long as the on-screen UI isn’t broken

Even with its myriad of bugs, PCBS2 shares the same addictive qualities of its predecessor that made me say “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 end goal of farming enough capital to secure ownership of your shop. Right now, there’s not much to keep you playing for the long haul other than leveling up to unlock new parts by completing increasingly complicated tasks.

Right now the game doesn’t add enough or do things differently enough to warrant a “2”. However, given how much the original pcb has changed since its launch, I’m excited to see where pcb it will be in about a year. But now, PCBS2 seems more interested in testing the waters with a handful of shallow features rather than diving headfirst into just one.

PCBS2 didn’t hook me in the same way as the original, but despite its bugs and general lack of content, I can’t discount the game’s potential as a great educational tool. Before playing the original pcb, I had never built a computer. But playing over time has given me the confidence to build multiple real-world desktops. And while I’m not water cooling my GPU or motherboard anytime soon, PCBS2 certainly piqued my curiosity.

PC Building Simulator 2 launching October 12 on PC via the Epic Games Store.

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