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Hotel Giant 2 (PC) artwork

Hotel Giant 2 (PC) review


"If you can deal with the fact that every single one of your guests is going to be an utter ball-ache to deal with, Hotel Giant 2 becomes predictably addictive, and it's easy to lose hours on end fine-tuning all sorts of little details in order to watch your profit margin increase painfully slowly. But then, this is more praise of the genre as a whole than of this example of it. The length of time it takes to complete each of the campaign sections also totally destroys the sense of reward upon finishing one. You can skip weeks on end if you like, but it can still take hours upon hours of real time to make much progress - particularly early on, when the woefully inept tutorial fails to teach you even the basics of how the game actually works."



When I was younger, I went to Las Vegas with my parents. In the height of my videogame-crazed youth, I got it into my head that creating, customising and maintaining one of the wondrous hotels that wackiest of cities is famous for would make the perfect setup for a management sim. Call it 'Hotel Vegas'. Get involved with all the crazy theming, the mad shows, the erupting volcanoes and live-action pirate role-play. It'd be great.

I maintain I'm not wrong, but, inexplicably, the Hotel Giant series is yet to pick up on this fabulous idea. Watching exotic tigers, bizarre magicians and eccentric rock bands wander around your glistening holiday paradise seems like the perfect scenario to inject a bit of fun into the stats and figures of a management game, but Hotel Giant and its new successor feature precisely none of this. Instead, it's a tedious, though admittedly addictive, grind of customer complaints, restaurant revenue and completely inconsequential decoration.

It's sort of Sim City and The Sims thrown into a melting pot, rather than the RollerCoaster Tycoon-alike it should, by all rights, be aspiring to. It's also such a marginal improvement over the original, seven-year-old release that it's difficult to understand why anyone would want to spend good money on this when you can get Hotel Giant for such small coins these days. There's the obligatory graphics overhaul, a refinement of the feature list, and a few new options to play around with, but that's essentially it. Even the interface remains literally identical. The accompanying press release discusses how the vast amounts of positive feedback from the original led to the developer's design choices here, but since that game currently enjoys a Metacritic average of 59%, it's curious which sources they chose to listen to.

When you're playing with an idea as mundane as managing the day-to-day workings of a rather plain business enterprise, you're always going to have to ensure you throw some sort of excitement into your release. But Hotel Giant 2 simply doesn't do anything of the sort, and its option-fiddling is nowhere near in-depth enough for the game to succeed on those merits alone. The individual guests are characterless and bland, essentially a list of arbitrary requests and requirements that only serve as proof that the people who visit these virtual hotels will never, ever be satisfied. In one of my creations, I positioned three separate sets of toilet blocks on the rather pokey ground floor alone, but people still relentlessly complained that there wasn't a lavatory in the tiny coffee shop by the entrance. My budget rooms weren't luxurious enough, the swimming pool's water slide wasn't big enough, and drinkers in the bar apparently required at least three snooker tables before they were remotely happy. There's so little correlation between this fictional entrepreneurial universe and actual reality that it's basically a prerequisite to drop all sense of logic. Frustrating.

That said, if you can deal with the fact that every single one of your guests is going to be an utter ball-ache to deal with, Hotel Giant 2 becomes predictably addictive, and it's easy to lose hours on end fine-tuning all sorts of little details in order to watch your profit margin increase painfully slowly. But then, this is more praise of the genre as a whole than of this example of it. The length of time it takes to complete each of the campaign sections also totally destroys the sense of reward upon finishing one. You can skip weeks on end if you like, but it can still take hours upon hours of real time to make much progress - particularly early on, when the woefully inept tutorial fails to teach you even the basics of how the game actually works. It took me half an hour to find out what my bloody objectives were.

Add to this the mind-bendingly irritating music, which seems to comprise about two minutes of incessantly looped midi, and the tendency for Hotel Giant 2 to not let you do a perfectly reasonable thing, like position a telephone on a table by the wall because it's not the right sort of table for that, and you're left with a rather infuriating title. With so many more acceptable management options available, it'd be difficult to recommend this to anyone without a frankly worrying hotel fetish.

Having said that... it's only 7PM. There's time to play for another hour or two, isn't there?

Rating: 6/10

Lewis's avatar
Freelance review by Lewis Denby (February 06, 2009)

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