Review by Hend
"Have they only re-hashed it?"
Introduction - The Roller Coaster Tycoon franchise seems to have just had a downfall in quality since the original. The new fully 3D concept seems like a great idea for this game, and it is, but they added and removed just enough things to make this feel not quite the same, nor as good, as the original RCT.
Gameplay (3/10) - It was fun for a while to play, but soon became just a hassle. I don't like the new interface where you have to click to open more menus to get to the screen you want. The staff patrol option sucks as you highlight full areas rather than batches of 4x4 area, making it reversibly hard to remove their patrol. It takes a lot longer to get money compared to the first one, though more realistic, makes the game drag on longer than neccessary. Many details (Research, Staffing, Attractions list with profits, satisfcation, etc.) were toned down and removed of the helpful information you'd like to see. All the things that happen throughout the game eventually frustrated me as well as bored me, even with the added 3D capabilities and being able to ride your rides.
Story (2/10) - For being a RCT game, the story is limited. You are yourself in this game, running park after park to try and get to be the ultimate tycoon of parks. This idea flows decently enough as you go from scenario to the next, each having three sets of goals which give you a rank for that scenario from Entrepeneur to Tycoon. It's a nice way to tell how far along you are in each level, though not integral to your progress as a tycoon.
Graphics (7/10) - The new 3D concept is a great addition and a holdback as well. I'll start with the good, adding 3D and the ability to ride your rides and coasters is great, and seeing all your guests in your park from the top of your largest coster gives you a good feeling inside. Even with the graphics all turned down to under 50% when you can choose between 0-100 and when they're turned off or on low if it's a choice between options, this game was good looking. As you zoom out, it renders everything as 2D as to not slow down the game at all, which for my computer worked well. I could zoom out to see the whole thing with very minimal slowdown. The problem comes if you can't handle slowdown in a game. My system is a 1.5Ghz AMD Athlon, 32 MB GeForce 2, with 256 SDRAM, and with everything turned down the only slowdown I had was when first opening a saved game and when viewing the whole park. Also, if there were fireworks, that tended to make things choppy. With a better system, the graphics have good capabilities open, but for people with mid to low range systems, the graphics may be poor and choppy.
Sound (5/10) - The sound is decent, with people screaming on rides and music being played at rides, which you can choose out of a preset song list, or you can import your own songs (supposedly), which I haven't tried yet. There's not much to say about the sound, it works correctly and in time with the ride or people around you, but I do think that their screaming can really bog down on you when you're riding your coasters with a bunch of people screaming. It can get very annoying, as they do it often, almost constantly.
Replayability (8/10) - This game could last you a long time, with 18 scenarios to complete at three different ranks, the addition of a sandbox mode where you have everything unlocked and no money restrictions, the fireworks and Person/Group Designer to make your own people and have them walk around, limited of a creation tool as that is. If you enjoy RCT games, you'll probably still have the same kind of fun with this where you can play it for a long time, but if you're easily frustrated like I tend to be, you can be turned off by it and not have much time with this game compared to what you'd hoped.
Final Recommendation - I do think that for loyal RCT fans, this is a good purchase, but for anyone new to the franchise, you should start with original as this is more difficult, a bit more complex, and has a new, more difficult interface to follow. I also only recommend this to people with medium-high range systems so you don't get bothered by any slowdown that may be caused, even though you can turn everything way down, in that case you may as well play RCT1 as this is more like a 3D version with new features and a few new rides with a lot better graphics.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 11/12/04
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