Hotel Giant 2
Owning an empire used to be the domain of the rich and famous – those with the money, power and business instinct to succeed. And thanks to the wide world of simulation games you can now remove money from that list of qualifications and replace it with patience. Finally releasing seven years after the original, Hotel Giant 2 comes along promising a “fully customisable” experience to give users a feel for running their own ritzy hotel.
In truth, Hotel Giant 2 is a mash-up of some big-hitting titles, fusing the graphical element and open-ended gameplay of The Sims to the run-your-own business flavour of the likes of Theme Hospital and Rollercoaster Tycoon. But trying to cross so many gaming borders poses more problems than it conquers. If it comes down to a choice of a quality game in one area or an average game in two, the former will almost certainly always appeal to gamers – but seemingly isn’t the first choice of developers Enlight Software.
Hotel Giant 2 is broken down into several different elements: management of staff and budgets, building and customisation of your establishment and meeting the needs of your guests. For the game to be a real success, the three need to work in perfect harmony. However, the three themes don’t quite come together seamlessly, instead almost working in isolation. Yes, your financial management has an effect on other elements, but you never feel that your decisions are having true consequences. And on this front, the biggest culprit is managing the guests in your hotel.
Viewing your guests going about their business is graphically impressive, but soon becomes a repetitive exercise. When your guests are unhappy there’s usually a simplistic answer, and you never seem to need to balance two different situations to come up with a solution. Instead, it’s very point, click and succeed. Similarly, the building process struggles to hold your attention for any great length of time. It just seems an endless stream of clicking that, although pretty, doesn’t feel substantial enough to make it enjoyable or effective.
That shiny exterior but a lack of substance is unfortunately a theme throughout Hotel Giant 2. The animations and general artwork are (perhaps somewhat surprisingly) superior to The Sims, but not diverse enough. The element that sees you manage your staff is also very black and white in much the same way as the management of guests; you either succeed or you don’t. The customisation of some 1,400 objects also gives you an initial impression of being in control, but success almost feels like a foregone conclusion. For a simulation and business management game to hit the spot it must have an element of finding your own path to victory.
Thankfully there’s plenty of choice in how you put together your hotel, with a variety of facilities such as swimming pools and restaurants as well as a healthy choice of locations to base your hotel in, including Paris, Rome, Los Angeles and Phuket. Graphically, Hotel Giant looks the part, with the rooms and exterior shots giving a feeling of a real, breathing hotel and the initial sense of realism with the guests’ animations is to be applauded.
But these pros are outweighed by some of the cons, most notably the repetitive and the non-engaging nature of the gameplay. There’s no doubting that Hotel Giant 2 will find an audience; the original has, after all, sold over a million copies to date. Gamers wanting an easy-on-the-eye game that’s not overly challenging will find enough here to justify shelling out the budget price, and its leniency will perhaps also act as a simple introduction to the simulation genre. But those who are used to enjoying the non-binary nature of The Sims will be a little disappointed when they scratch beneath the surface of Hotel Giant 2’s glossy exterior.
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