Home » American Truck Simulator – Kansas — Is it worth it?

American Truck Simulator – Kansas — Is it worth it?

A screenshot of American Truck Simulator - Kansas expansion.

The sunny skies of “The Sunflower State” fittingly cap off another year of growth for American Truck Simulator, and has personally provided me with 10.5 hours of exploration across nearly 1,600 virtual miles.

Interestingly, going into it, I honestly didn’t know what to expect or how this new DLC would turn out given the wide-openness of the state. That said, I’ve been left rather surprised with how much the scenes of virtual Kansas left an impression on me.

Cattle run to Garden City

The journey began in the panhandle of Oklahoma (the previous map expansion,) in the city of Guymon. Here, I picked up a trailer of live cattle that needed to be chauffeured into Garden City, the first stop of this Kansas adventure.

Unbeknownst to the cattle, they were the most appropriate first job into the American Truck Simulator rendition of Kansas, considering this state is almost all about agriculture and transport logistics.

Heading north on a drive of just 85 miles, this short jaunt into the state began almost without me even noticing as I didn’t spot any big sign or marker that signified I had crossed state lines; only due to a meek “Keep Kansas Clean” road sign did the transition become known to me.

A screenshot of American Truck Simulator - Kansas expansion.
If you litter, rumour is the cows will stalk you.

That said, it wasn’t long before it became clear that most of the roadside scenery would consist of rolling fields of farmland—which was already to be expected. Still, sometimes even when expected the results take you aback and this time was no different.

Getting into Dodge (City)

It’s rather funny that both Garden City and Dodge City have the term “city” embedded into their names as their combined populations only amount to just over 55,000. In-game, they’re also very close together, so it was even more amusing to find a job that actually ran between the two.

Alas, I was able to scoop a gig that consisted of taking a large planter from Garden over to Dodge City; a journey of just 40 miles eastward.

This particular haul comes courteously of the Farm Machinery DLC pack which fittingly launched at the same time as DLC.

The large farms of Kansas call for similarly large farming tools.

Remember how I said earlier that despite expecting a lot of farmland, the true amount on display still surprised me? Well, it was upon getting out of the city limits of Garden City did I audibly gasp at the sheer amount of golden fields of grain seemingly stretching out forever past the horizon on both sides of the lonely country road.

Before long, I was rolling through Dodge City and it was then I noticed that it was a bit more urbanised than that of Garden City. Again, both are on the side of being large towns rather than true cities; a point that would truly be driven home when I finally got to see what Kansas City looked like towards the end of the adventure. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Whisking away to Wichita

A trailer of clothes needing to go further eastbound to Wichita was next on the agenda. At 145 miles, this was yet another fairly quick jaunt.

With Dodge City in the rear view mirror, it didn’t take long before I noticed the vegetation became notably more green; still farmland, but these crops weren’t ready for harvest quite yet.

A screenshot of American Truck Simulator - Kansas expansion.
It’s not all grain and tractors; people still live around these parts.

Once getting into Wichita, it was here that I got the first true taste of virtual Kansas urban life; nearly 400,000 fine folks call this city home, and it shows. That said, there isn’t much of its metro area viewable here in American Truck Simulator as the in-game action sticks to the industrial areas on the city’s outskirts.

Headed to Hutchinson

In-game, the small city of Hutchinson is only a mere 60 miles away to the north. I found a job that required me to take a trailer of concrete slabs there from a factory in Wichita.

Not too long after picking up the trailer and beginning the drive, a beautiful sunrise began to partially appear from behind a series of storm clouds. Seeing that the sim’s skyboxes and weather effects just got a sizeable upgrade with the recent version 1.49 update that dropped just before the DLC’s release, this was my first time seeing the new effects in-game for myself.

The recent visual upgrades made to American Truck Simulator really add to the beauty of this expansion.

Without a doubt, it’s genuinely impressive that with a few facelifts like this over the years, SCS has managed to keep American Truck Simulator (and Euro Truck Simulator 2) looking pretty sharp despite it being several years old at this point.

Speaking of visual treats, while Hutchinson itself doesn’t offer much to look at, it is home to some incredibly tall grain elevators that loom over the city. Aptly, a Scenic Viewpoint is posted here to show off the mechanical marvel.

A screenshot of American Truck Simulator - Kansas expansion.
What it lacks in natural features, Kansas sure makes up for it in farming infrastructure.

Backing it up to Hays

Next up was taking a backhoe loader from Hutchinson back west/northwest to the city of Hays, 157 miles away.

While I was heading in the direction from which I had just came, I’d end up driving along a different road to get to Hays. This turned out to be a pretty scenic drive up, passing by even more farmland and through some small towns.

Keeping up with the farming theme, it was during this part of the journey where I even came upon a tractor hauling a grain trailer.

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator.
The scene of a not-so-hot pursuit.

This caused somewhat of a traffic backup, in which I was able to get out of legally and safely when the solid lines turned dashed once more. It was less of an inconvenience and more of a really cool feature, given that it was clearly a deliberate inclusion by the designers that make the surrounding area feel even more authentic.

The tiny city of Hays didn’t seem like it would impress me, but I actually quite admired its architecture, which looks like a mix of modern designs with a rustic flair.

The backhoe needed to be delivered to what seemed to be an oil drilling plant on the opposite side of the city, allowing me to see it all. Oddly enough, this oil plant bordered a field with crops growing on it; should we be concerned?

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator.
Honey bunches of black gold.

Roaming through the fields

For the next few stops, unfortunately proper jobs couldn’t be acquired. Still, the journey needed to be completed.

Thus, I made my way northward trailer-less from Hays to the nearby city of Philipsburg, appreciating the city’s rustic touch on arrival. Colby was next in my sights and the drive to it continued to provide a slew of beautiful scenery to admire.

It was here that I spotted a biplane performing a crop dusting run on some fields along the roadside.

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator.
Kansas’ crops are well taken care of.

While these last two cities didn’t provide me with an income for my troubles, it was enjoyable to experience this portion of Kansas without the pressure of sticking to a job-based timetable. Still, views alone don’t provide gas money.

Money run to Marysville

Finally, in Colby I found a job to take a large articulated tractor eastbound to the city of Marysville. This would turn out to be the longest segment of the entire American Truck Simulator Kansas adventure, clocking in at a decently-lengthy 248 miles.

Despite being somewhat long, there wasn’t that much to write home about during the drive; just vast acres of more and more farmland. That said, there was at least one standout moment: finding the Geographic Center of the Contiguous USA.

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator.
At the core of it all.

As indicated by an informative sign on the roadside, it turns out that the country’s centre would be found here in this part of the state on a flat map. Thus, in a way, you can call Kansas the heart of the US.

Random geography lesson aside, before long I finally dropped off the tractor in Marysville which itself proved to be yet another quaint little “city.” In-game, it’s mostly represented by just a few industrial points.

Jumping to Junction City

The next job featured a trailer of curtains that needed to be taken to Junction City; a journey that would have me drive towards the southeast.

Once again, the new skyboxes showed off their beauty as the majority of this drive took place during the evening time.

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator.
The golden sunsets match the golden fields.

This made up for the relative lack of truly interesting scenery details. I did end up skirting pass the fringes of Topeka, though venturing into the state’s capital would have to wait until after this job was done.

Taking on Topeka and its neighbours

Seeing that Junction City didn’t have much to look at, I was excited to see what sights Topeka would have in store. A lift truck chassis needed to be taken here, leading to a short eastward journey of just 84 miles.

Alas, my hopes were mostly dashed, as even Topeka here in American Truck Simulator doesn’t have too much of a ‘wow factor.’ This is due to the drivable roads in-game sticking to taking you in and out of the city’s industrial areas. That said, I was still surprised to see there’s not even any Scenic Viewpoints or Photo Trophies to capture here.

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator.
With there being a lack of much in the way of metropolitan flair, it helps that touching grass couldn’t be easier.

The next few segments of the journey proved to be interesting, not so much for their sights, but the layout. In-game, the cities of Junction City, Topeka, Salina and Emporia are all fairly close together, forming almost a circle. So, like the last job between Junction City and Topeka, the next few jobs were short shuttle runs.

Emporia was up next, with a small trailer of packaged food needing to be taken there. Nothing interesting to report during this mere 68 mile drive, but the next job was a little more fun.

I picked up a trailer of dry fruits from a plant in Emporia that needed to get to Salina. Now driving westward, back towards the centre of the state, I decided to take a slight detour and head down an unpaved road. This led to a Scenic Viewpoint, which showed off the sights of a large farm that has the in-game name of Grand Pastures.

While this was mildly amusing on its own, what topped it off was briefly sharing a road with a combine harvester that was moving from one part of the farm to another. Similar to the tractor earlier, this proved to be yet another example of deliberate injection of scenery authenticity.

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator.
Give way to larger vehicles.

True, these are incredibly tiny, arguably insignificant details, but they add a good deal of charm to the overall package and serve as tangible evidence of how much the SCS scenery designers care about capturing the ‘vibe’ of the areas they craft.

On that note, after finally getting to Salina, I made sure to capture the Photo Trophy of “The Temple” which turns out to be the beautiful Salina Regional Health Center; rebuilt in great detail in the world of American Truck Simulator.

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator.
Few and far between, the urban areas of virtual Kansas are something to marvel at.

Kansas City calls

This journey throughout virtual Kansas is coming to an end. The penultimate segment would have me take a pair of aircraft engines 174 miles west from Salina over to Kansas City; one of the largest population centres in the state. At least, that would be true if Kansas City actually fully belonged to Kansas.

It actually has the rare situation of being cut through by a state line—Kansas and Missouri in this case, and it’s the Missouri side which is significantly larger. The official population stands at just under 510,000 people.

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator.
A tease for the city slickers.

After dropping off the trailer at a railyard on the edge of the city, I made my way along the highway system near the city core, which would take you to the interior if American Truck Simulator didn’t insist on sticking to its “look, but don’t touch” rule when it comes to major metro areas.

That said, the skyline is well modelled, featuring not only towering skyscrapers, but also other major structures such as the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Putting a bow on it in Pittsburg

Not to be confused with the far more well-known city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (we’re not anywhere near that state yet, after all), Pittsburg, Kansas is actually just a tiny city of 20,000+ folks.

Its small footprint is preserved here in the sim, as there isn’t much to look at in virtual form either. I found this out after driving trailer-less once more 151 miles south from Kansas City.

Engaging the parking brake and shutting off the engine one last time at a fairly large truck stop, this journey through the Sunflower State had finally come to an end.

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator.
I’d either like fireworks, or “Mamaw’s” muffins as a treat for completing this great country-style adventure.

While the finale was certainly anticlimactic, this experience as a whole, as I alluded to earlier, provided more fun than I had initially expected.

Kansas is a part of the Great Plains, which as the name suggests, is a region of the US that is known for consisting of (mostly) flat, seemingly never-ending fields. Indeed, that’s about 90% of what I saw throughout this trip; just acers and acres, miles and miles of grass and grain of varying shades of green, beige, and gold.

This doesn’t hold a candle to the amazing views of gorgeous places such as Monument Valley in Utah, The Grand Canyon in Arizona, and Yellowstone in Wyoming—just to name a few.

Aside from the Texas expansion, some fans feared that the majority of the middle states would be snooze fests. The Oklahoma expansion nearly convinced me of that, even though it did end up managing to ultimately impress me as I got to the end of exploring it.

Therefore, I was trying to keep a more positive outlook going into the American Truck Simulator Kansas expansion, and I’m coming away from it pleasantly satisfied.

True, its scenery isn’t as striking as the western states, or as diverse as Texas, but it still manages to provide a beautiful farm-laden escape. Its calming, rolling hills (they exist, surprisingly) almost made feel as if I was sailing along a sea of grass and grain.

A screenshot of the Kansas expansion for American Truck Simulator review impressions.
SCS has once again proved to me that doubting its work is futile.

The various historical markers posted throughout the map add a lot of depth to the surrounding areas, showing how this seemingly empty vast stretch of land was once the stage for significant events decades ago. In the modern day, there’s still a lot that goes on, albeit for a different reason.

Real-life Kansas may not be a state that most people (including many Americans) think about, but this expansion for American Truck Simulator made me appreciate the large role it plays in feeding millions of people and all the major logistical operations that allows that to happen.

Its grid-like north-south, east-west road network is dreadfully simple and there’s not much between its few “cities,” but perhaps that’s what makes it so charming.

This quiet, vast land sitting out in the middle of the US; perhaps not first choice for a vacation, but getting to enjoy its tranquillity even in virtual form has made me want to venture out and explore the real deal someday.

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