previews\ Aug 24, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Mall Tycoon 2 - PC - Preview

If there’s one thing that we have grown fond of in PC gaming over the years, its tycoon based games which allow you to go in and amass as much wealth as you can and see how well you do as a business owner. We’ve seen everything from zoos to musicians to even more unorthodox titles like trailer parks over the course of 2002 alone, and now there is a follow up to a pretty fun title that came out earlier in the year known as Mall Tycoon. The sequel? Mall Tycoon 2 … obviously.


In Mall Tycoon 2, the object is to go in and build your own shopping mall as you see fit. You are responsible for looks, upkeep, security, and deciding which shops and stores to place and where, plus the overall size, floors, and indoor/outdoor environments are up to you as well. You can also go in and run promotions and whatnot and set up calendar months to do so, and pretty much everything that you can imagine could be done in building and managing your own mall is available.


So, how will you know if you are doing OK in your new business venture? Well, the developers were nice enough to add in graphs and information about every angle and aspect that you can imagine with a single mouse click. Everything is there that you will need to know, including what age groups are showing up and how happy they are with the mall, the way that people get there (train, bus, or car), and even the amount of money that people are bringing in with them or spending. Each month you are also alerted as to which store is pulling in the most revenue, and there are messages that will flash up on the bottom of the screen to keep you up to date on need to know info like criminals entering the mall or stores that really aren’t doing very well.


Mall Tycoon 2 was also impressive in the amount of building options that you can use to pretty much let your creativity run wild. You can design the overall wall and floor layout, including a large number of tiles, paint schemes, and designs to choose from ranging from more modern or edgy to a little more traditional and old-fashioned to give it the look that you want. In addition, customers will have a wealth of different shopping options available to them in the large number of stores, and everything from sewing places and perfume shops to music stores and even a videogame retailer are available to select and build. I was even able to do a somewhat close to reality version of my favorite local mall here in Louisville, and it actually turned out to be pretty darned successful. Maybe I need to look at designing my own mall in the future using this game.


Graphically, Mall Tycoon 2 is looking very good, even in the beta stages. The stores have a good amount of color and detail to them, and the camera was easy to operate and will allow you to zoom in almost close enough to see actual products on the shelves (I even think I noticed a copy of something that looked like Return to Wolfenstein on the video game store’s wall … which I was happy about). If you’d like to go in and get an actual 3-D customer perspective, you can even select and zoom into one of the shoppers or staff members and get an FPS viewpoint of your creation as they walk through the mall and go about their shopping business.


Overall, even in the unfinished stages, Mall Tycoon 2 was a heck of a lot of fun to play and definitely provides a unique and entertaining experience. For those of you young or aspiring business entrepreneurs out there … be keeping an eye out for this one at your local retailer sometime around the beginning of October. 

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