RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 - PC - Review

I hate to say it, but Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 doesn't really feel like a sequel to the great, addictive game that reached shelves more than three years ago.  In fact, it feels more like yet another expansion to the title.  Nothing is drastically different from the games before it - you still take the shoes of the head of various theme parks, laying down footpaths, installing rides and attractions, hiring employees, designing roller coasters, and figuring out how to make some cash while you're at it.  The title is still as addictive as it was back then, and with a load of new scenarios, it should keep anyone busy.

 

If you've never played any of the previous games, here's a little rundown of what to expect.  First, you choose a scenario (this time around, you can choose from several difficulty levels), and you're thrown onto a large isometric grid with various hilly terrain.  There's an entrance where visitors must pay to get in, and from there you can build footpaths around to various rides and attractions.  Usually your goal in each mission is to create enough profit in a certain amount of time, or see high ratings.  The premise is very simple, but there's almost always something to do to keep you busy.  When you're not laying down a new footpath or installing a new ride, you might be designing a rollercoaster.  When you have a park that's seeing people come in every second, the footpaths loaded with people, and awards constantly being awarded to you, you know you have something you can really be proud of.

 

What is actually new in the game, you ask?  Well, there are over 150 rides and attractions, including all of the ones from previous expansions.  There are also various themes that change the aesthetics of the game: the wild west, industrial, and castle themes are just a few of the many.  There is also quite a bit of new scenery to go along with the themes, adding more life to your park.  And while the roller coaster designer is essentially the same as before - simple, yet complex - you can now edit coasters alone, instead of having to worry about running a park or running low on funds.  You can also trade your creations via the official website, rollercoastertycoon2.com - a nifty touch.

 

There are still problems to be found that should have been addressed.  The AI of your employees is questionable.  You're still limited to only four camera angles, which can result in some trouble when you're working with high and low land together.  Speaking of land, it's still a pain in the behind to edit the terrain.  You have to drag up the land vertically, and pull up each corner so you can successfully place footpaths.  It still costs money for every single move you make, and there's no undo button.  It would have been really appreciated if there was an auto-smoothing feature, too.  A 3D engine might help solve both of these problems, but RCT2 is still very much 2D.

 

That's not to say this game looks bad, because it certainly doesn't.  Though the graphics seem almost identical to the earlier titles, they still hold up very well, and seem a little smoother.  Animation is lovely, with each individual person walking around, or vomiting, or buying food, or occasionally jumping up and down.  Rides look well done, always crisp and noticeable.  You can change the color scheme on a lot of buildings in this installment - you also have more options, colorwise, regarding footpaths.  Sound is also well-done, with the sound of the crowd happily chattering, or the click-clack, click-clack and whooosh of a rollercoaster making you feel right at home (or rather, in the park).  Some of the music seems straight out of RTC, but there are a lot more options music-wise now, and you can have almost any ride you want play music of your choice, from techno, to rock, to organ-playing.

 

Overall, I would not call this title a worthy sequel.  It's very solid, yes, and fans will certainly enjoy it, as will newcomers.  But for those of you who played the original and are looking for something new - this isn't the place to look.  Not yet.  Hopefully the next installment will change the gameplay drastically; at this rate the gameplay will be dry by the time we see a 3D version.  At about $30 though, Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 is not a bad purchase at all.

 

 

Gameplay: 8.5

Though it's very similar to the original title, the gameplay of RCT2 remains fun and addictive, and the included tools can be used to design coasters without the hassle of money and other things - a much needed option.

 

Graphics: 7.0

Not much improved over the original, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  Most of the animations are topnotch and everything looks crisp and sharp.  There are a few problems encountered from building on higher or lower ground due to the camera, but the graphics are pleasant for the most part.

 

Sound: 8.5

Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 successfully emulates all of the sounds you'd hear at your nearby theme park.  You can now select music for most rides to play, and most of it is nice, although there are some rehashed tunes to be found.  The sound of the crowd and whoosh of the roller coasters are excellent.

 

Difficulty: Medium

RCT2 is not hard to get into, but tackling tougher parks is certainly a challenge.  You can select different scenarios based on difficulty, so the pace of the game is perfect.

 

Concept: 6.5

This is, unfortunately, the area where RCT2 is lacking.  The first title was full of fresh ideas, but this "sequel" feels more like an expansion pack.  Hopefully we will see more creativity in the next installment.  As it is, there are still tons of attractions, scenarios, and rides, and even actual Six Flags theme parks.

 

Multiplayer: N/A

There is no multiplayer to speak of in this game, which is not surprising.  You can, however, trade roller coaster designs through rollercoastertycoon2.com.

 

Overall: 7.6

Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 is a great purchase for folks who haven't played any previous installments of the series, or fans who can't get enough.  It may not be for you if you're still content with the the original, as there is little that actually modifies the gameplay.  A solid game that could use some ideas.

Good

Gw
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