First Time Player Review – DC Universe Online. Is it worthy playing?

Hello, everybody.

 

Today I’ll be talking about this not so old MMO game that I’ve just started playing and you may have heard about it. Still, many people that I talked to have never played before or tried once, but gave up.

dcuoHowever, before you think this is one more Review just like the others with experience people and talking, think again. My idea here is to bring a review from a first-time-player and not the I-spent-500-hours review. Why does that matter? Well, think about it. After you play a game for 500 hours or more, everything will be easy to understand, to remember, easy to do and explain to others in your own words! It’s really nice to have someone explaining everything and how it works. Makes you want to play it. Well, I kinda thing that sometimes that doesn’t work and having a first-player-review is like testing the game for the first time. The UI should be friendly and easy to use making the player experience wonderful and not hard. You’ll get what I mean later.

Here are some things to make you think about the game.

DC Universe Online (or as some people call DCUO) was developed by Daybreak Game Company and co-published by Daybreak Game Company and WB Games for PS3, PS4, Xbox One, and PC based on, of course, DC Universe of DC Comics. Released in January 11, 2011, this “not so free-to-play” gives the player an opportunity to be a super hero or a super villain in Gotham City or Metropolis City.

So, where do we start? Oh, yeah, the intro!

The start cinematic, beautifully developed by the producers, includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Cyborg, Flash, and Green Lantern in one side and Joker, Lex Luthor, Harley Quinn, Circe, Deathstroke, Black Adam, and Giganta fighting in the ruins of Metropolis. It’s worthy watching. At the end, Lex explains that the War was caused by the subtle manipulations of Brainiac. During the game, you can see in Gotham and Metropolis Brainiac’s ships hovering over the cities and the invasion all over.

With the end of it, its the players turn with first the creation of the character. I’m not going into all the things you can do, powers, skills, etc, because theres a lot of websites

Gender
First screen to create a character

talking about it. Roughly, you can choose between a super hero where your mentors can be Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman, or a super villain having mentors as Lex Luthor, The Joker or Circe. The character creation is really amazing and you have a lot of options to build your char, including your uniform which can be based in one of the heroes or villains or you can work on your own. With a variety of forms, types, colors, and shapes for the feet, wrist, back, head, hands, chest, shoulder, and legs you can sure bring something unique to your hero/villain or create a uniform like a Super Sayajin or One Punch Man (really, I’ve seen those…). Your first “mission” is to escape from Brainiac’s ship. Somehow, you were one of the heroes/Villains Brainiac was draining energy from. You can consider this as a tutorial for the controllers, communication, interface, scenario, powers, skill points, etc.

Uniform
Character based on … guess who!

After this first “stage” you have to go over missions that your mentor or other super hero/villain will give you. It goes from breaking into places, destroy things, rescue people, healing people, and all kind of mission related. Eventually, you will also find someone trying to break into a building or trying suicide. Just stop/talk to this NPC to get some free XP. With that, you are able to do raid instances (some require a specific level to get into), update your character with weapons, and armors. The world is huge and, even flying or using super speed, it takes a while to go from one point to another in the city.

The game has a lot of good sides to talk about, its really addicted, and you want to keep playing more and more. It’s a nice feeling to have super powers and go around messing or saving people. As of August 2014, according to Wikipedia, the game had 18 million registered users, AllGame gave 3.5 out of 5, Eurogamer 6/10, GameSpot 7.0, GamesRadar 6/10, IGN 8/10, PC gamer (US) 88%, and X-Play, 4/5. But, as any other game, it sure has some down sides. Really.

So, I played this one on the PS3 and PC. First, PS3, if you don’t have the way of controlling a character in a full open environment, do not try it on your console. Have you ever played Call of Duty or Battlefield on a console? Probably, yes, but aiming and moving the camera around should be made only for mouses, not controllers…. but that’s just me. I suck on that kind of game in a console. I’m not good using a controller where it should be a mouse. The PC version feels way more fluent and playable. To tell the truth, when I first tried on my PS3, I played for 15 minutes and gave up. Weeks later, I tried on the PC and here I’m writing about it.

DCUO-A&D
Research & Development Interface to create Exobites

Took me a while to get used to the user interface and many times I found myself using Google to search for how to do this, how to do that, what is this for, what is that for… The tutorial and interface for the items do not help at all. Yeah, after a while you get the way of it and some people would say “ah, that’s not so hard. I know everything and it’s quite easy”, because you took a while to search, go over, and understand it. Think about it. EVERY game, no ones know how to deal with, how to play, how to manage the skills, powers, items… and if you spend a lot of time playing it, you will eventually realized everything was easy and every piece fits together. This should be simple from the first time or at least on the first hours playing. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you should know the whole game on the first couple or hours, but the more you play the more you understand what you are doing and move on. You shouldn’t look for stuff all the time. I can also add that I saw other people, new players, asking the same questions in game, same problems, having the same issues. So, yeah, it’s not just me and I do believe the, in some point in history, you did Google how to do something. Exobits and Exobytes are and example of it. Those are not a bad idea – way far from that – but I had to Google and ask people how to deal with that. If I’m a new player, it should be simple, with a better tutorial,  friendly, step by step… otherwise, people would just give up because its “complicated”. (Still, its worthy to keep pushing it).

Exobits_In_Gothan
First screen to create a character

Exobits are all over the cities, but you don’t know what to do with them and, when your inventory is full (we’ll talk about that later), and you have no more space for nothing, its time to learn how it works. From there, you have to keep collecting them.With some Exobits, on a R&D Station, you can build Exobytes, with the right plan (you can buy some and others are drooped by bosses). When they are ready, you can add them to your armor. (Its like the diamonds in WoW or Diablo).

Now. Prices. Lets talk about the “free-to-play” marketing. Sure you can do that, play for free. I’ve been playing for free. However, your inventory has limited space as your bank and if you want more space, you have to subscribe. And it’s not a simple subscription .You have to keep paying for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months or, if you’d like, 12 months. Another issue is you don’t have access to all your money, for example. Long time ago, I heard you could handle only $2000. The overrun value goes to something you can call an “investment account” where you have to pay for the game so you can access that money. I didn’t get that at the first time. I thought that would be unlocked after I reached level 10/15/25/30. But, no. Today (2016), it’s still the same, but the amount you have available is now $1500. And to make things better, the value of fixing your armor is nothing more than $10, depending on the armor and how many pieces, and to pay better plans to build better mods to your equipments costs around $1550 or more. Thats right. A little bit higher than what you can handle. Anyway, you are still trying to learn how the game works, so you won’t be worried about it until you reach level 30. Nothing hard to do if you play 4 to 5 hours 2 (sometimes 3) days a week. Do the quests and you’ll be fine.

Another interesting thing is some parts of the game that you can only have access if you buy that specific part. As chapters are released with new content, you have to keep buying them to have access to certain areas. Now, the game has a 22 chapters or episodes, $4 each and some of them for $9.99. Want to keep playing, buy it.

Ok. How about the subscription!?

dcuo membership
Subscription table for the Free, Premium, and Legendary accounts

If you get a subscription and kept paying for that, you’ll have access to a few stuff as the DLC packs, Free replay badges monthly, in game currency (access to your savings account), more space in your character inventory, Broker slots, banks slots (Free – 12 slots, premium account 24 slots, and legendary account, 48 slots), trade items and cash with people, powers (example:light, electricity, earth, quantum, celestial, and rage you have to pay $29,99 to have it), etc…. Somewhere in the game you get the chance to have a HQ. Your own place to call cave, home, place, cell, whatever… You can put furniture in it, place your armor, allow people in, even but some busters to have a sidekick and other nice things, but it doesn’t go much far than that (I really don’t know at this point because I haven’t paid). You don’t have a locker or a place you can hold items (you have to pay for it, I guess). If you want power cells to get other adds to your character, you’ll have to pay for it (really…). Some of this and other stuff can be bought using in-game money (DBC money) however, guess what? They cost money. you can find more info here.

Oh, I almost forgot, as a free player you can only create 2 characters and, if you logout and try to login again, sometimes the game puts you into a queue to get into the game. Yep, you have to wait to people to disconnect so you can play for free. If you pay, you’ll wait 1 second to login. Free player, around 3 minutes but I had usually waited 5 to 10 minutes sometimes. The game also keeps giving you Prometheum Lockboxes which contains (I don’t know, have never opened one) great items, armor, weapons, better than the ones you find in the game. And if you plan to keep them until you have enough time, level, money to buy the game, think again. The lockboxes are only available for 30 days. After that, they disappear. I found close to 6 or 7 and through all of them away, so far.

You may also bump into some kid playing the game and chatting all the time instead of letting you playing, but it doesn’t really make a difference in your game. Just ignore them. Another interesting things is someone may also call your attention if you are speaking too weird stuff (because there are kids playing the game). Again, not a big issue, but it’s weird, isn’t it?!? Feels like Captain American telling me to watch my language… Anyway, a mix of culture is also interesting to find there as I saw Turkish, Brazilians, Chinese, Americans, Canadians, Europeans, etc.

dc_universe_online-widescreen_wallpapersOverall, the game is really good to play and people should definitely try it out, but they could make a better UI and work on those tutorials. Explain better stuff and how to use them. Most of the that I figured it out but not without at least once, going online to look for help. I would say, if you have sometime and are looking for a fun no so “free-to-play” game, this is your game and, if you feel you are going somewhere with it, just go for the membership. I do believe its worthy and compare to other games and costs, it’s not that high.

As me, I’m going to keep my self a free player for a while…

Advertisements

Review – Postal 2

Running with Scissors is an independent American Company that simply works with game design just for fun at their own risk, because many American and non American Government Offices just don`t sympathize a lot with them. However, the company made a great game and could insert many “different” ingredients when comes to talk the game Postal II, banish from many countries due to the expressive and endless violence making the game itself one of the 10 most violent games in Brazil being side to side to Duke Nukem and Grand Theft Auto – this last one still on circulation in the country. Unfortunately – or fortunately – this is what makes the game to get so interested: Being Forbidden.

For the ones that seek a first person game with little worries about ammunition and a lot of worries about shooting everything that moves, Postal II becomes a graceful for professionals or just regular game players that merely are looking for a moment of abstraction to explore freely a 3D world. It is seen that it does exist another side of the game. A side of accomplish missions for the players that aim to reach the final of the game faster. And still if we compare POSTAL II to his predecessor, POSTAL I, is clear that you will find a huge evolution on the stage system, graphics, sound, duties, character and all the rest that compose the game itself. In a nut shell, the enterprise Running With Scissors did put together in a single game necessary elements for hours and hours of uninterrupted fun as like mixing themes like religion, politics and even famous actors, on this account, unlike the other games that you have fixed missions and where, in many cases the player is the hero required by the government, secret service or a close religion sect to save the world, in POSTAL II you are merely call by your wife to solve everyday problems that can be done as the simply way ever, like all the other normal people would do, or the other way, a way that all the normal would like to do.

HISTORY

Cry. You are not a super soldier or a cop trying to save the world or even a character with supernatural powers trying to avoid the planet for being pulverized for some dark forces of evil. You are just a game designer that has just moved to a little town downtown USA – Texas called Paradise, because of your game company – who happened to be Running With Scissors in which our “hero” words. Your duties (is even weird to call that duties) are to achieve daily as all the normal married fellow would do, look for milk on the grocers, picking up the pay-check on the firm, go to the bank and so on. The great flaw of the game isn`t the things that you do but HOW you do it. Of course, in this world, nobody like designer and people that work with computer games even more on the RWS and you ended up making a few enemies for that and other things around the city.

CHARACTER

Name: Postal Dude.

This is you and your everyday life, fulfilling missions and tasks on the most normal and abnormal possible ways, with weapons that goes from shovels and teasers to pistols, scythes, machine guns, grenades and other. You even use a fish radar that is really useful to locate people along the map.

POSTAL DUDE is a dude (DUDE!) that just wants to relax and take his bear in peace after a long and hard day of work. Still, it seems that everything in the system is against him, including his wife. With a psycho-nerd clothes, a black overcoat, a infinite space under it and a shirt with an alien head, P.DUDE seems to be all the time snappy and keeps repeatedly letting go some phrases and remarks that would make anyone fells like crap and humiliated, a feature that makes our “hero” more juicy. For this reason, and others, you are almost carried away to believe that you are dealing with an younger version of Duke Nukem in High school, or before he developed his muscles, bad looking and become an alien killer.

GRAPHIC

Comparing to POSTAL I, is valid to highlight the evolution on the game quality. 3D environment acquired a special place on POSTAL II, showing that bigger rooms do make the difference. Even son, we need to review a few points when we talk about that. Great environments with less furniture or anything else that you can interact leads the player to believe that is playing something like Wolfstein 3D or Doom II, but with 3D objects and having access to an open sky areas. For a computer game, the graphics are good of what we were expecting, but it could be better explored like: details of the characters, houses, environments, luminosity, furniture, etc. For fun, it deals encounter this kind of graphic that, with the move along of the game, they just don`t make that difference for whom is worried to shoot everything that moves.

AUDIO

Every audio in any game that I have played so far, embrace the player inside moments of tension, reflection, calm or a start of a trap, which instigates the person behind the character to keep both eyes on what is coming next or released from what has already gone. At the same time, POSTAL II is weak on this item for the reason that, looking for turning the game the most realistic as possible, the most part of it you can only hear your footsteps or, sometimes, people talking when you come along them. The impression of sound distance is also explored in many times in game, but it could be better. In many times is hard to say if a dog, as example, is close or not, because there is no variation of sound in a few moments. In return, the speech of the principal character is right clear, which is good for the player for not lose a moment of the jokes. Still, a simple suggestion would be put the “hero” to have access to a mp3 player where the player could include music inside a game folder, so your character could “listen” to it whenever he wants.

GAME PLAY

As in every first person shooter game, the facility of adaptation to the controls for this game is quite simple and clear, reminding many games as Counter Strike and Battlefield and many other of a kind. The weapon selection goes on with the scroll of the mouse and the numerical keyboard what just take us to a positive, but also negative point. The game provides a huge quantity of weapons (which is a positive side), but they don`t fit on the numerical keyboard (negative side), in other words, there are a few weapons that can only be access from the mouse scroll. In many moments you try to reach a specific arm for some action and lose a lot of time doing it, until you get used to it. Moving along, if you have no bullets, you simply can`t select that weapon. Another point that we should talk about is the jump, not the button itself, because it`s well located on the space bar, but the usability of it. Sometimes it is hard to have a notion of what you can really jump or not. You can`t even use of slopes/inclinations to gain speed and altitude. Also the action to squat is almost pointless in game which takes us to question if these two items are there to give mobility to the character or to be used in some part of the whole process. Avoid shoots or anything else that enemies throw against you is quite hard and the NPCs rarely miss a shot when it comes to you to be the target. The inventory of the game also takes a while to get use to it, because you just can`t have a global notion of the next or the previous item to be selected. You have to keep searching for what you are looking for until you find it. In many moments it takes a while to select a donut or food and you can die first before you can select them and heal yourself. A suggestion would be a quick access key for the food or healing objects. Finally, the game is an easy adaptation and moving or our character, shoot, jump and basic moves, but it takes a while to get used to the additional keys like use an item on the inventory and/or open doors. We can also say that, to make up this problem of open doors, you can always use your foot.

ENTERTAINMENT

The fact of having total freedom in a tridimensional world is quite tempting and practically primal ingredient in a game as this FPS. For not having to follow a specifically line of actions to be done and pre-routed, provides the player a different sensation from other games of the same genre. Another interested aspect is the way that you have to perform the missions leaving it to the player to choose for different ways to the same objective. This kind of freedom is what makes the game more attractive to be played continuously. And more, in case that you just don`t want to obey your daily duties, there are always other places to been explored. But in games where the scenario is fair extended, it can become a negative point. The moving from a place to another a lot of times is really tiring and long and, sometimes you spend more time walking then fulfilling the tasks in the same scenario. Start shooting in everything that moves in the game can be really fun for some people, but the NPCs ended up for being more resistant then the expected. Many shoots are necessary on the head of an enemy, for example, where in another games it would be considered HEAD SHOT. The only weapon that is possible to do so is with the Shotgun and you need to be really close to the NPC. And even with that sometimes you have to give two or three HEAD SHOTS to beat the one. Unfortunately over the end, I have to say that the game, besides the missions are characterized by routine tasks of regular people, it could be more extended and better explored by the variety o things that we do every day. The game ends on it most nostalgic point, where the player is used to it, the controllers, characters, enemies, etc. The game also tries to incite the player to continue playing offering new weapons and hew abilities, however there are just a few games that, after beaten once, can hold you for playing two or three more times.

NEWS

The company Running With Scissors doesn’t stop with that – for the happiness of some and unhappiness of other – and is working on the third game of the series. POSTAL III, that was provided to be released on December of 2010, had to be adjourned. Now, in 2011 is possible to have some new hopes for the release of the game. On this new tender, which is counting with new weapons, game play, character better defined (now the game is using the same technology that was used in games like HALF LIFE), better prepared battle system (valuing the function jump and squat and the possibility to hide behind objects and shoot from it, corners and poles) among other things, brings a news vision of the free violence that the game provides. The mission system was kept the same when it comes to talk about the regular facts of regular people. However there are two paths to be taking now: GOOD and BAD. Simply and objective. You can try to talk and after shoot and shoot and after talk. It will really depend on your mood at the moment. The case is: the game is still being what always was, forbidden in many countries, but yet tempting to play continuously been recommended for the ones that enjoy easy violence with a lot of action, blood, women and particular phrases from Postal Dude, but doesn’t want in some moments of the day being strategists, but just shoot and run.

Review – The Walking Dead – Social Game

The idea of a post-apocalyptic world always attracted me. Movies, magazines, stories, themes, aye had a lot of curiosity within theses, chiefly when talking about an end of the world with zombies and a lot of destruction. Every nerd one day had this dream and for sure spent a lot of time through the night playing Resident Evil and other related games.

Among the great variety of series and movies that went out about it, the one highly recommended at the time is The Walking Dead, displayed by AMCTV. Divided so far into 3 Seasons (4o Season forecast to start on February of 2013), the series brings a group of people that tries to survive inside a scenario taken by zombies due to worldwide infection. The seek for the cure and a shelter transforms the existence of those survivals into a daily fight to keep themselves alive. And, given by the success of the series, we couldn’t let out the game industry that made progress of the moment. It is possible to encounter a various number of Flash games based on the series or even with the same idea (before, during and after the release of The Walking Dead). The last best seen game was The Walking Dead: The Game, produced by TellTale Games.

Howsoever, we should back to the focal point of this text. The Walking Dead – Social Game – Beta Version.

On the last days, I had been playing this game, because I am a real fan of the series. Well, let’s see what I think about it. It is important to highlight that I am considering, so far, the Beta Version of the game, so I faithfully believe that some updates will be release soon and we will finally have a final and better version.

The game starts with a creation of your Avatar, which can interlard between clothes, skin color and face types. After, you have a small tutorial that teaches you the basic moves of the game as walk, hide, attack, etc. The game itself is divided into Missions and History Mode, where is possible to open new scenes and events of the series. The missions require an amount of energy to be played and it recharges 1 point ever other 3 minutes.

Unfortunately, the game is really repetitious and the missions, after a few time, ended getting a little bit boring, because consist on the same objective between restore water, food, medical supplies and/or clean an area of Walkers (or Bitters if you prefer). An amount of supplies is requires ever other time you want to play the History. Important to say that the texts and lines, despite of adapt the player to the environment, are repetitive and the characters always pull out the same thing.

Another interesting point is the mechanic of the game. Based on RPG and turns, the player can move the hero and hide over the scenario and/or attack the zombies scattered on the way. A hint: when a zombie spotted you, hiding can be less useful, because even when the Dangerous signal goes out of the screen, the dead body keeps walking towards you, so, in other words, hiding is almost useless unless you are very far away. (Maybe this is the real goal of the game, based on the happenings of the series…).

The experience given by the zombies is practically set, independent of a critical hit or even a tough shot (a shot given in a long range). The critical hit can be very useful to get points on the Story Mode but cannot be affected by the points distributed in the Shooting ability, so don`t waste your time (or points). Inside the Missions, it is worthless.

Talking about abilities, every other mission you can 1 point to spend among Vision, Stamina, Movement, Striking and Shooting. Each of them has specifications that can be used in game. Although, some of them doesn’t really need the distribution of points. Check it below:

Vision: It increases the vision of the scenario and it can help if you are using guns.

Stamina: It represents how tough you are and the bites you can handle inside the game.

Movement: Obviously, it means the movement inside the game so, the more points you spend on this, the higher are your chances to run for a zombie horde.

Striking: Is your timing of fight. During the game a Target will rise floating from one side to other of the zombies head. At the right moment, you need to press the mouse button to attack correctly. Still, don`t bother spending points on striking because these are only good to use better knifes and stuffs like it, but won`t change the swing of the Target.

Shooting: It follows the same rule of striking being only good to use better guns and won`t make you a better shooter.

Lastly, we can say that the game has nothing different for the other that we can find in the social networks and, if you really like The Walking Dead and the post-apocalyptic time like me, you will get yourself a few hours of fun; despite nothing special, being and application weak and doesn’t   instigates to be played for a long time. But, I still believe that we are dealing with a Beta-Version, and we will have a lot of new stuff coming along from the developers and producers of the game. (at least I want to believe so).

Originally posted in 04/12/2013.

Review – Slender – The Game

Inside the diversity of games, fantasy environments, guns, vehicles and everything else that you can imagine within the actual technology for the electronic games creation, arises a game whose principal objective is to survive. However, different from so many other survival games, on this one, the player is provided of a flashlight in the middle of a forest, at night of course, and his courage.

Based on an urban legend created in a competition where the participants had to produce, with common photos, something scary, Slender Man is about a paranormal creature, without face and dressed in black social clothes. Among his abilities to captures his quarries, Slender can stretch his parts, getting really deformed and, with this, be masked amid the threes. Also, according to the legend, he has the capacity to cause paranoid to whom he is after in addition to transport himself to anywhere in the map.

With all this information, creativity and simplistic vision of the games, Parsec Productions created Slender Game, a typical game of cat and mouse. Inside a scenario of forest with environments as bathrooms, gasoline tanks roofless, cars, houses, etc, the player has the objective to collect 8 pages scattered around the world left by the children that Slender got. A simple and really short game which has gained fans all over the internet; leading to the creation of a several number of videos of people playing it. The interesting of this game is the used of the surprise factor and psychological terror. The player, unable to use any gun, spend the entire time listening to his own footsteps and, when it is necessary to run, the breathing gets more and more purse.

As the player develop the game collecting pages, the music gets higher increasing the suspense, the breathing of the character also changes and the appearances of Slender Man gets more frequency – which causes greater panic to the player. Nevertheless, in case of player couldn’t see the enemy, the screen helps on this item getting dark and with interference – situation caused by the presence of Slender. Just the same, Slender Game leaves an open door for possibilities of a sequel or an update which could include other items in the game like maps, higher environments, different number of pages to collect (with a save option), etc.

Over the end, what is really interesting about this game is to put one of your friends to play and watch his/her reaction inside of a scary and quite simple ambiance, the one that Slender Game can provide you or, if this is not your case, a suggestion would be to play it at 3:00am, alone, with your lights off; only you, your headphone and a lot of metal sanity.

Originally posted in 04/12/2013

Review – Hospital Tycoon

Companies like Codemaster, BullFrog and Deep Red Games are famous for many games that probably we all know. By Codemaster, for example, one of the oldest companies in England, we can name Collin McRae and Overlord, The Lord of the Rings Online and Toca Touring Cars. By BullFrog, we have Populous I, II and Populous: The Beginning, Theme Park, Dungeons Keeper, Theme Hospital, Theme Park World and Inc. just to name a few. Deep Red Games, on the other hand, has the all known Tycoons as SeaWorld Adventure Parks, Tycoon I and II, Vegas: Make it Big and Monopoly Tycoon. However, we all have a stage in our lives where things are not going so well and, trying to launch something bigger and much more interested in the market, we ended sinking our own ship. In this case, we are talking about the game Hospital Tycoon, which all the three named companies had the pleasure to give their contribution.

Released by Codemaster and produced by Deep Red Games, Hospital Tycoon seeks one really different way to mix famous Medical Series with a Real Life Strategy Game and some kind of The Sims mode. Still, here comes the question that you may be asking: What about Bullfrog? What is it doing in the middle of this? From the many games with the same objective and theme, we can say that one was used the most: Theme Hospital. Released by the quenched company BullFrog and, according to many critics, is it possible to see great similarity between the two games, both when talking about the mechanic and social interaction, playability, graphics, etc. We can also underline the frustrated attempts of the companies to include in the Tycoon games a few of theatral creativity, unfortunately with no outward success but fun.

But let’s dig a little bit more into the game itself.

To start, you can find two modes to play. The History Mode and another one know as Sandbox Mode. The goal of the Sandbox is supposed to be and have fun. The player starts with an amount of money and enough space to build the hospital the way he wants without worry about winning or losing. The main idea here is to have play a lot and enjoy everything. Now, the History Mode works almost as a soup opera or a TV series. Here is where the trouble starts, as it were. The player has the opportunity, or not, to participate in the cut scenes between one stage and another, enabling an “interaction” with the characters and theirs plot as documents theft, controversy, lethal virus inside missing containers and more. Unluckily, you cannot wait too much from this tangle. A little few or almost nothing has anything to do with the player or the action that you do during the game, besides of little outcomes that may had come from TV series like House M.D., Grey’s Anatomy or even Scrubs, which are really boring to follow in the game. Why is Doctor Buffman hanging out with the hated one Nurse Dakota? Why Professor Brahms and Nurse Daisy are fighting in the research room? Why care about all these stuff if any of them will really interfere in your game? These are just for fun…or the attempt of it.

Another negative thing realized in the game was how the missions unfold themselves. The patients simple arrived at the hospital with a variety of diseases that should be treated. On this case, when the player understands the mechanism of how the game works, the actions are almost always the same. In other words, we have a patient that register, goes to a medic analysis, routed to treatment and go out of the hospital. Ok, it is not that different from a real hospital and more, but they should include some creativity in here. This is the reason that games are made for, to escape from reality and put some imagination to work. The player is taken, on this point of the game, to be considered as a real administrator that should solve all the many problems that every other hospital has. Now, to top everything, the greatest problem of all is that, at each scenario, you have to start all over again. Is it like you are a traveler administrator and have to fix all the hospitals in the country. For a game that you have to spend a lot of time to build something, that is actually really frustrating.

The interaction with the characters, when the objective of the game was a game like The Sims, got somewhat flaccid. The game allows you to do it, yet, the lack of goals at the proposed actions ended taking the user to nowhere. It doesn`t matter what you do, or who you talk to, it won`t reflect on your work in the game. Though, it is possible to create jobbery between the personages, hugs, talks, give heroic kisses, pokes, intimidate, but nothing of this at all is directly related to the playability as it should be. Making the long story short, it does not poke the game, being a waste of time really good planned. And the same interaction can be related to game-player development. The way all the individuals of the game speak, “Simlês”, is really annoying and repetitive, being possible to hear all the conversation in the game and even your own “conscience” which, in the beginning of the game, is reflected as the old owner of the hospital and he is passing on all the shores to you. Going further in the game, the secretary of the old man gets his place to help you out, with the same annoying way of talking and, time after time, she comes to tell you which are missions that you have to go through.

And, as we are talking about the playability, practically everything already comes prompt and pre-established. Rooms come with changing room and desks and the size of them are also specific for the equipment. You do not have to plan the space and where the room will be located. The furniture is also predestinated to be fixed. It doesn’t matter what you do, it is all the same and with a not so high variety. At the most, everything has already been 50% build it out (or even more) being only the player job to locate a few places as research labs of new diseases which, by itself, identifies alone the new disease on the patient only by testing him on the Diagnostic Machine. I mean, where is the challenge in that, but only to put the patient inside the machine. (Be careful not to go wrong on the unique machine). For sure an easy thing is, for the ones that are not so familiarized with the “God view” kind of game or real time strategy, they will find this really interested, because it gets really easy to move on the game.

Also, talking about being easy, we have the money issue which, on the sad hand, is not a problem for the player. Actually, in some parts of the game, it is almost impossible to forget that you have money to spend. Everything that you do to build your hospital does not reflect in how much you earn. There is no need to worry about money, at all. You don’t have to count the outgoing, fire employees, sell machines or other desperate thing to make money and save your economies (except when the main goal of a specific mission is to do that).

Talking about graphics, we can say that, in some way of the path, something good was added. The game is really simple and clean. The rooms, machines and characters are in a cartoon style which brings an animated air to the game, extremely colorful and physically unique. Also the treatments are funnily exaggerated taking the doctors to use, as example, giant needles, large machinery and even a chair that prick balloons for a scare treatment (?). The diseases are also treated with a comedy air when comes to name, necessities and a variety of physic symptoms which gives the player a lot of fun. What about taking an acid shower or a treatment in the sample odor machine? At this point of the game, we can say that the creativity was absolutely great and we should give them some credits. But, as everything good, this was too good to last. The game sound was practically a shot in the dark. The theme, besides interesting, does not fits perfectly in the game and all the music are an infinite loop with pauses between them. You rarely pay attention to it and, for some times, you may prefer to put your own playlist going then to listen to the music; or the annoying voice of your helper.

Overall, what we can say about Hospital Tycoon is that the game is practically semiautomatic, which drives the player to be more a spectator then a real player itself, not being necessary a real strategy to have success in the game or saving money. It virtually plays itself because of the many automatic items that were included in the game by Deep Red Games. Still, if you don’t have the skill to play a Real Time Strategy Game, this is the one for you!

One way or another then, here goes the tip: Do whatever the game asks and you will have no chance to lose! Ever!

Originally posted in 04/12/2013