by JoWooD Productions
Above all else the thing that most excited me when I first heard about the release of Hotel Giant was the name of the designer behind the game. Trevor Chan is one of those rare game designers who knows how to make a thoroughly deep and involving game. His previous titles include Capitalism I & II and Seven Kingdoms I & II. Anyone who has played these titles will have been amazed at their depth and complexity. Let's see if Hotel Giant can match up to these.
Hotel Giant places you firmly in the tourism industry. Taking charge of an hotel you will have to design rooms, take care of complaints and strive to meet goals in order to succeed. The game features three campaigns, a main campaign, a learning campaign and a random campaign. The learning campaign will teach you the basics and put you in a few tricky situations to test you. The main campaign is played out over 18 ever increasingly difficult scenarios. The random campaign is a set of randomly constructed scenarios with an alterable difficulty setting. You can also elect to play a random game where you set the goals.
When you first see the game in action you will be surprised to find that the game looks surprisingly similar to The Sims in it's appearance. The one difference being that The Sims is in 2D whilst Hotel Giant is in 3D and runs much smoother than The Sims. Unlike The Sims you can't alter the exterior of the building. If you play a random game or have a scenario where you have to begin from scratch then you get to choose which style of hotel you would like: urban, suburban or resort and choose where you would like to place it in your given city. You will then be placed inside a hotel with a set number of floors, the number and size depends on the style you picked, and you will have to plan and construct the layout of your rooms and facilities before you can open the hotel.
One thing struck me when I first played Hotel Giant and that was the thought of designing all those rooms over and over again. Say you want to have 30 single rooms, that could possibly be a nightmare. Thankfully the game remembers your designs for that particular game and placing a copy of a room you have just made will take just 2 clicks of the mouse. You can also save the layout of any room that you've created. Let's say that you've designed a superb restaurant in one of your random games and all your customers are very happy with it all you have to do is to save the layout of the restaurant and when you are in a campaign where a good restaurant is required you simply load up the design and you will be able to use it. This is a tremendous time saver and rewards good design as it will help you in future games.
Some rooms have to be designed within other rooms. Take the business centre. You have to build a business centre before you can build a meeting room or a computer room. This adds structure to your hotel but it can prove to be a bit of a pain. Say you want to put some toilets, or restrooms as they are known in the game, in your reception area. You wouldn't be able to do this because restrooms are a sub-room of rooms such as bars, restaurants and health centres.
The game offers plenty of textures, wallpapers and carpets, and objects to place in your rooms but it could have provided you with more by the use of themes. You can build your hotel in one of 23 cities but the furniture and decorations remain the same for all of them. It would have been so much better if themes had been provided in the style of the city, for example London compared to Hong Kong.
The game gives you plenty of work to be getting on with. You can decide upon the price of the rooms, the quality of the ingredients in the Restaurant and whether there is any shampoo in your guest bathroom and altering these values always makes a difference on the customers satisfaction ratings. It is a shame that your employees didn't have more personality though as they all seem generic and have no real qualms with their working conditions. It would have been great to have to settle staff problems or customer complaints. Just imagine if the restaurant guests had an insect in the meal and you had to compensate them with a free week at the hotel. This would have been great and added some much needed charm into the game. You don't really have any control over the customers but you have a certain number of cheat cards to use. A cheat card enables you to order a customer to use a facility in your hotel and hopefully increase their satisfaction. You gain one extra cheat card after a week of game time; if you want more it will cost you $100,000 to purchase one. So use them wisely.
Graphically the game is OK and a variety of camera angles can be used to examine your hotel. As we mentioned earlier it looks remarkably like The Sims but you have to say that being on a much bigger scale the game runs very well indeed on a midrange PC.
There is no speech in the game, apart from mumblings from some of the guests if you zoom in close and to be honest it is too garbled to make out. Everything is given in static text and needs to be clicked off before you can continue. The manual is very good and you can find out how to do pretty much everything especially as it has a very useful index.
On the whole Hotel Giant is a solid game, if a little bland in places. However I have had one major problem with the game and judging from the message boards on the official JoWooD I'm not the only one. The problem is that the game does not always load from the desktop icon or the autorun screen. This can make it infuriating if you want to play the game and you can't get the game to load. At the time of writing there is a patch on the official Hotel Giant website but this appears to do nothing to solve this problem. Let's hope that this problem is solved sooner rather than later.
Overall Game Rating: 7.9/10 Hotel Giant is a solid management game but the bug that prevents the game loading up half the time has to be sorted out.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problems for the deaf gamer here.