GamesPaper got hands on experience of Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 during Game Stars Live in London earlier this month, and even though it was only an 80% complete build, it's clear to see the full game is going to be hugely impressive when it's released later this year.
Biggest highlight of the third game in the Rollercoaster Tycoon series has got to be the fully 3D CoasterCam, which lets you experience a front-seat view of your rides, and is much more impressive than we were expecting, with a real feel of movement as the coaster rolls in to banked sections or track and plummets down a hill.
The translation from isometric to 3D has been pulled off very well, and the use of dynamic lighting really brings your park to life at night, whilst the context-sensitive sound which changes as you get nearer to rides helps with the atmosphere of being there in your park, as people walk past talking away to each other, buying goods from the shops and queuing for the rides.
Constructing rides does seem somewhat easier than before (once you get the hang of it) but it's odd that the Station track section isn't automatically selected when you start building - especially when it's a requirement to have a station for your guests to get on to the ride!
It was also somewhat surprising to see that the traditional menu system for selecting the ride types and objects has been removed, and instead lots of very small buttons and text based buttons feature, making it harder to see exactly what you have selected until it's showing full-size on screen ready for placement.
One point where the early build did disappoint was the River Rapids, which still seem far too closed-in, as they have done with previous versions of RCT, and don't capture the feel of real Rapids rides which often are quite wide like a real river and feature more bumpers and fast rushing rapids - hopefully Frontier will have seen to this issue by the time the full game is released.
Despite this pet gripe, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 is shaping up to be a hugely enjoyable game, which appears to be going one step further than the strategy management title that it's been so far, and turning itself in to a much more entertaining experience - one where you can actually feel as though you are there riding the rides instead of just building them.
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 is due for release on November 5th, and you can order yours from Amazon.co.uk
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