Review by sonic479

"Looking like the original RollerCoaster Tycoon, this game looks just as fun. But did the developers took a step back instead?"

For the past years, RollerCoaster Tycoon (RCT1) was a huge hit. The uniqueness of having to run an amusement park with objectives to do, and with non-complex controls to do so, makes the game fun, while at the same time, challenging. RollerCoaster Tycoon had expansions which increases the play value of the game a whole lot, making it a very addictive game. Now, we have a sequel to it, as expected, entitled RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (RCT2). Looks like the same as the original RCT1. But does it have the same fun in it as it was in the first one?

Story - 0/10
Like its prequel, no story whatsoever but it is not a setback, as it doesn't need a story to be fun.

Gameplay - 8/10
From looks, it looks just like RCT1, only enhanced with various features. Unfortunately, it is from "looks". Once you actually start playing, you can easily tell that while it has most of the features of RCT1, it has more of its own new additions as well.

Let's just dive into it. For those who haven't played RCT1, this game will be a thriller. It is challenging and fun and has a lot to provide. No doubt, there are huge amount of features you can work with and its challenging scenarios will definitely get you hooked on to it for quite a while.
For those who have played RCT1 though, this game may either come as a disappointment or as a thriller, depending on how you look at it. Certainly, it has aspects of RCT1, but there are just a few improvements from the original which made the game fun, and unfortunately, it feels more like an expansion, rather than a true sequel.

For those who haven't played the original RCT1, here is a summary of what you are suppose to do. There are various scenarios, each with a different objective for a player to complete. Your goal is to complete all of the scenarios by completing the objectives for each one while creating a successful park. However, there are numerous types of objectives. In other words, majority of the objectives are not the same but the type of it will pop various times. For example, a common type of objective would be "To have X number of guests in your park at the end of Y years with a park rating higher than Z". Then another type of objective would be like "To repay back X loans and achieve a park value of Y". For those who have played RCT1, then most of it is familiar, only thing new are the new types of objectives. For those haven't played RCT1, you'll get use to it as you play. Objectives range in difficulty, from simple beginner ones to "crazy advanced and require a lot of skills to complete" ones.

RCT2 does have a lot of good features. As it is a sequel, there are a lot more rides than there were in RCT1 and its expansions: more coasters, more thrill rides, and such. There are also a lot more theme items, as well a lot of variety of choices and decisions you can make. There are new features on the main menu where it will allow you to create scenarios and roller coasters without any distraction so that's a good thing.
The game, compared to the original RCT1, is much more organized which is a major improvement. Scenarios are divided into categories of difficulty and type, similar to that of the tabs style in RCT1: Loopy Landscapes expansion. In this game, there are 5 categories: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, "Real", and Other. Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced are self-explanatory. "Real" are parks that exist in real-life; the main theme for this game is Six Flags so you will see various Six Flags park around the world from real-life, made into a scenario for this game. Lastly, the Other category falls for scenarios beyond the definition of the other ones. The organization also exists inside the scenarios themselves. For those who have played RCT1, the interface will look very similar, but various features have been placed somewhere else so it might take a while to get use to that. But in general, everything exists still. One of many things notably organized are the rides. The categories are splitted like that of RCT1, only a ride could be defined in multiple categories. For example, the Water Coaster ride could be found in the Water rides category and in the Roller Coaster category, as it has attributes of both. Another thing would be research. The categories are now changed around so that the research they do are more specific. In RCT1, where the category of thrill could mean they could research water rides at the same time, they are now separate categories in this game. There is much more, which all of them are major improvements since it doesn't make running the park a little messy.

When it comes down to it, RCT2 plays essentially almost like RCT1. As said, for those who have played RCT1, it could be a slight disappointment to know that there are not that many improvements to it in terms of gameplay. On the other hand, it kept the RCT1 formula and did not change so much on how it is played and what made RCT1 popular in the first place. It gets quite confusing when thinking about this, is it better to stay true to the original or is it better to change a bunch of things? The developers might have taken some risks in order to satisfy the players, but it might have been done some slight wrong things.

Finally, the flaws. As mentioned already, RCT2 has most of the features of RCT1, with some additions into it. For the most part, the additions of it are nice, but unfortunately, there are always downsides to it and RCT2 has major downsides, which certainly changes everything. For example, for those who have played the original RCT1, there were only a certain amount of scenarios that you can play in the beginning. The other ones are locked and can only be unlocked as you complete scenarios one by one. In this game, all of them are unlocked already. I mean, all of them, not a single one has been left for an unlockable. Quite clearly, this is a massive disappointment, as unlocking scenarios was the reason why the original RCT1 was addictive to play. Now, it isn't in this game.
Worst of all, there are much fewer scenarios in this game than there was in RCT1. However, what makes up for it is the Scenario Designer, where you can create your own scenarios (with no rides in it) and place your own objectives for them. The Scenario designer, for the most part, does not compensate for the low amount of scenarios there are in this game. Matter of fact, the Scenario Designer is fun for a while until you realize that it becomes boring due to the fact that you know what you created and therefore, have a slight advantage in the created scenario, which brings no challenge to the game.
Moreover is the fact that it is limited down so much that rides cannot be built in it. You will have to use the "Convert Saved Scenarios to Parks" and that function is absolutely useless. What this feature does is that it takes scenarios that you saved (be it your own or the game's) and allows you to place new objectives for it. That is absolutely useless. There is already a scenario for it, so why do you need another one with different objectives? Huge disappointment, the feature has so many limitations that there is no point for it.
Perhaps most notably of them all are loading screens. This game practically has a loading screen for whatever you do. If you try to select a scenario, a loading screen pops up. If you decided to load a saved scenario, a loading screen will show up. This is a bad thing, as in the original RCT1, there were none loading screens except for one where it loads the game. So if you have a slow computer, be prepared to wait around for a while.

Graphics - 9/10
Graphics are just as the same as RCT1, with no refinements except for the new rides and stalls. Ideally, it doesn't need superb graphics in order to be astounding. For those who haven't played RCT1, you might the graphics as outdated and old compared to other games, but it actually fits for this game and is not a disappointment. As like RCT1, the graphics are unique, the actual ride shows and no two types of rides look the same. Scenery items are more refined and look better over its prequel. Guests can do more notable actions such as standing and looking at rides. All of it are certainly improvements, but regardless, it is just like the prequel and it is nothing major.

Music/Sound - 10/10
Since it is a sequel, expect a lot more music options than RCT1 and its expansions. There are major additions to the music you can play for the rides. Matter of fact, there are so much themes to choose from that if you were to select three music from the list blindfolded, they will all be different. This is a major improvement, as you won't need to select from the same ones most of the time. Not only that, but music from RCT1 and expansions are still intact so there are options to choose those also. The sounds, on the other hand, are almost the same as the original RCT1, only with new additions and some alterations such as the sound of the chain when the coaster train goes up. It wasn't annoying to begin with, it isn't annoying now. Awesome job here.

Replay Value - 8/10
Unfortunately, due to the fact that all of the scenarios are unlocked already, the game is not that addictive. However, the scenarios are much more challenging and makes up for the lack of unlocking them. Without a doubt though, it will keep you playing for a long time, especially when there are a couple of complex scenarios that requires a lot of skill in order to complete.

Overall - 9/10
Overall, it is a slight disappointment to those who have played RollerCoaster Tycoon and its expansions. What comes to look like a sequel is actually more like an expansion in some ways. The various changes, such as the fact as not being able to unlock scenarios, lowers the fun of it. There are also some improvements, but not a lot to impress the eye of those who have played the original RollerCoaster Tycoon. However, its new features and challenging extra scenarios compensate for that and makes it fun again. For those new to the RollerCoaster Tycoon series, it will definitely be fun playing regardless. Overall, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 is fun and is definitely a must-get.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/14/04, Updated 12/24/06

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