Hotel Giant 2 PC DVD
Published by: Nobilis
Developed by: Enlight Software Ltd.
Hotel Giant was the kind of game that you could describe as a 'slow-burner'. The game was released back in May 2002 and over the years it's managed to slowly but surely rack up sales of over one million copies. Hotel Giant was actually a pretty solid game and quite enjoyable if creating financially successful hotels is your idea of having a good time. There were problems with the game however. It had its fair share of bugs, such as the one which prevented the game from starting on occasion, and the game was rather bland and could have done with more in the way of charm. Almost seven years on and here we have Hotel Giant 2. In many respects the game feels a little too familiar, bugs, blandness and all.
Hotel Giant 2 offers a choice of several modes to play. You can tinker around with fully furnished hotels in the Sandbox Hotels mode. You can opt to take a one-off challenge with a Random Game which throws you into a situation with randomly generated goals. Where you'll probably want to begin however, is with the Campaign mode. Here you have a choice of playing the Learning campaign (which is effectively the game's tutorial mode), the Hotel Giant campaign, essentially the real meat of the game, and you can even play a random campaign which is great for extending the replay value of the game.
Those who have played Hotel Giant will know pretty much what to expect here as it's a very similar experience. The game charges you with running inns, motels, resort hotels and the more ritzier establishments. These are situated in cities such as Rome, Munich and Paris. For the most part you're tasked with taking hold of an inn, motel or hotel that's on the slide and it's your job to turn things around. There are occasions where you'll have to start from scratch however but your job is pretty similar in both situations. You'll have to keep an eye on both customer and staff satisfaction levels and make sure no one remains unhappy for too long. You'll have to look after their leisure needs and take care to provide a restaurant and other facilities that impress your guests. You'll have to make sure the rooms are at least adequate, and in some cases they'll have to be much better than that, when it comes to decoration and furnishings. You'll also have to promote your hotels through the media and carry out market research. Essentially then, you've got your hands full and at times it can be one heck of a challenge.
It's fair to say that a few things could have been done better in Hotel Giant 2. The tutorial campaign is tedious and at times it can be very frustrating which is something a tutorial should definitely not be. The game isn't as stable as it could be out of the box and I was dropped back to the desktop on the odd occasion which was slightly annoying. The game has been patched, which seems to have fixed the stability issues so take care to have that installed before you begin a game. Some of the English in the game seems a little awkward and the dialogue in the game should definitely have been proof read before being finalised.
The biggest problem however is that the game lacks any sense of charm. In some respects the game feels like a very matter of fact simulation. The inclusion of 'cheat cards', to provide a quick fix to your customers' lack of satisfaction, does shatter the illusion of the game being a simulation however. You keep an eye on your customers' complaints and try to address them and you use all of the information at your disposal to help you decide on what needs to be improved. Actually, as an aside, it has to be asked why you have to follow individual guests around to find out what they want? Surely you aim to please your customers as a whole and not pander to the individual's whims and fancies? The game even rewards you for managing to completely satisfy a single customer which is just plain silly. Whilst you can place new hotels, you can only select from pre-made hotels and you can't alter the external properties of the hotel at all, although the options on room design are virtually limitless, which is disappointing. It's all very dry and there's just nothing endearing about the game. It all feels very cold and calculated, with no trace of humour on offer, and that's a real shame.
Graphically the game looks a little better than Hotel Giant but the game doesn't look as good as it could have done seeing as it's being released almost seven years later. When you're zoomed out the textures look absolutely fine but as you zoom closer you'll notice that they look rather blurry and a little bit ugly. The character models look OK but you'll see plenty of staff and customers that look identical which comes across as pure laziness on the part of the developers.
At least the game won't give deaf gamers any problems. Virtually all of the information in the game is displayed visually either through the use of text or icons. The game's learning campaign is delivered exclusively in text and you'll get to read the text at your own pace. The same can be said for the other campaigns' briefings. Objectives are all shown in text and can be recalled at any time. You'll see question marks floating above customers' heads if they have a complaint. You'll also receive text messages to inform you if your customers have issues with any of your rooms. The game manual does a good job of covering the basics and addressing any questions that newcomers to the series may have.
Hotel Giant 2 isn't a bad game but it's disappointing that almost seven years after the release of the original Hotel Giant, the game doesn't really improve much on anything. Those who weren't impressed with Hotel Giant and those who expect a modicum of charm and personality from their games will be turned off by the game's blandness. There are some features here, such as the cheat cards, that will upset those who were hoping for a simulation. Those who like a touch of humour (the kind of which you'd find in games like Theme Hospital) will also be disappointed with the game's sterility in this respect. The game strikes an awkward balance then. Only those who have continued to enjoy Hotel Giant over the last six or so years will appreciate Hotel Giant 2 and that's kind of disappointing.