The timing of Two Point Hospital being played for review certainly has a sense of humor to it, if a little dark. But perhaps there’s a few things here that we can find to give us a bit more insight into the health industry and gain a better understanding of the world around us, you never know. I mean I had no idea that a remake of Theme Hospital would be made in this day and age where multiplayer brawlers, survival-crafting, and dungeon crawlers are pretty much the go-to genres for companies looking to make a buck. Now that it’s here I suppose it has a good reason to be, so let’s check it out on the PlayStation 4.
Production (3 / 5)
This title hasn’t really veered far from the aesthetic of it’s 1997 predecessor. It has cartoon-ey characters working in a comical fashion around the hospital to match the funny problems that people come in to ask to have fixed. While there wasn’t much of a change, there was a clear improvement made to the models and the textures in an attempt to keep up with the quality of more modern releases on the console. Unfortunately I’d have to say it’s not quite enough. Models still look quite basic, and while I find the colors acceptable, the lighting and shaders involved don’t seem to cooperate to make the best possible render it can have on PS4. An entire floor can look too washed with bright colors or just flat despite being given 3D dimensions. However, I’ll concede that the graphics more or less serve their purpose of making a lighthearted atmosphere for this hectic hospital builder.
The audio experience is quite similar to how I remember the older game to be, random radio-like songs for while you play that’s once in a while interrupted by sound effects by events within your medical grounds or by a random announcer call out for whatever reason.
Mechanics (3.5 / 5)
Under the hood the game turns out to be quite complex. It’s a bit of a shame that it’s hard to respond quickly to the Two Point Hospital’s nuances because of how the controls feel pretty out of place on the controller. It’s pretty clear that this game is designed more toward a PC experience. Mixing up cancel and confirm, or switching between menus, or even trying to actually finish something. It can be pretty annoying when you’re trying to add a potted plant into a room and you accidentally make it disappear, leaving those who were in it clueless as to what had just happened. This happened with me when I was trying to decorate a bathroom, sorry, guy who was in one of the stalls.
Like most management games, this one juggles between macro and micro management where you can generally leave the problems to be automatically sorted out by your staff given that they’re actually capable of doing that, and that’s all well and good for your smaller hospitals. However as you start managing grander structures you begin to notice that bigger isn’t necessarily better, as further expansions either in staff or in equipment may cost more than what they can make for you. You’ll have to start checking on staff if they’re doing their job well and forward them to problem areas if they just happen to be too far away to notice. Once I had a bunch of people scared to high heaven because of a wandering ghost in the building, where the guy who could deal with it just happened to be in the building next to it. So I had to drag him all the way there so that people would stop trying to run away from the treatment room.
For every condition to cure there’s a matching facility and staff with the proficiency to actually administer the treatment, so if there’s suddenly an influx of say, patients that need to have their heads replaced, you have to consider if your current setup can actually take the load and help them all out. I found myself leaving a space empty just so that I can turn it into any emergency facility it needed to be, where I just sell the equipment after the emergency. I found this to be more cost effective in the long run compared to having tons of equipment gathering dust. However this can’t be as easily done with people , who will eventually ask for a raise when they attain higher skills and abilities in their respective fields.
So here you are, constantly looking at your finances, trying to figure out if you made the right choice five minutes ago while new matters pile on in the background. It makes you wonder if there’s a treatment for ‘analysis paralysis.’
Content (2.5 / 5)
There’s isn’t exactly any epic journey behind you wanting to put together the fanciest hospital on the island, it’s just a good idea. So the big plan after making a good hospital is simply to make an even better one. Your goals are continuously set higher as you achieve them, where getting to the next level is that much harder.
To spice things up, occasional challenges or events come to your door. This can be in the form of employees giving you challenges to complete, an outside emergency asking if you can treat several patients with the same ailment, or some prominent figure taking a tour of your lovely establishment. Then there’s the yearly awards night, where you are for having an outstanding facility, staff, or track record. This also doubles as your save point.
The main challenge that Two Point Hospital presents is how you can further expand without running your finances to the ground. And like a ball of katamari, you can only think of continuously getting bigger.
Features (4 / 5)
The most noticeable feature of this game is the massive analytics tool it has for you. Any businessman would wish for something as instantaneous, accurate, and reliable as this when analyzing how their venture is doing. Not only does it cover where the money is going, it also gives you information on how well you’re able to treat specific diseases, as well as check on the status of employees and patients. It’s what quickly allows you to identify where your strengths and weaknesses are as a hospital, that is if you can dive into massive number sheets and make heads or tails of it. It could be better.
If you’re the type that gets sucked into hours of making beautiful towns like Anno 1800 or min-maxing your resource management like in Civilization, this may be the game for you, with a bit of a caveat. The thing with the other two titles I just named, is that they often have multiple facets to them, a stronger relationship between micro and macro management and an inter-connected campaign where small decisions can affect bigger matters later.
Two Point Hospital on the other hand is rather casual, where each hospital you put together doesn’t really work with one another, they’re more like levels in a game rather than areas on a map. And that’s a bit disappointing, especially when you find yourself just waiting for things to finish up. With loading time difficulties despite having a very simple looking game, it doesn’t feel like the kind of game where you switch between places especially since time freezes for everyone when you’re not around.
But hey, next when I think on why a hospital can’t quickly help me with my problems, I now have a fairly good idea why thanks to this game.
If you want something that’s somewhere between casual gaming and intense micro-management, this is probably a good match for you.
Two Point Hospital could use some extra supplements with a 3.25 / 5. It’s probably a much better experience on PC.
Available on PS4, PC, Switch, and X1.