JoWooD's Hotel Giant is the latest in a line of simulation titles, and is the sort of game that will see fans of the genre walk around like zombies due to endless nights without sleep as they slump over their keyboard in an attempt to complete every objective possible.
The first thing you'll notice about Hotel Giant is that it uses a familiar control system, which you should pick up in almost no time at all if your used to other sim style games. You've got a huge number of objects (over 600) that you can place in your hotel to style it how you like, ranging from walls and floors, to beds, cupboards, games machines, flowers and tables to name just a few.
However once you get past the initial "fun" of building your dream hotel with the provided objects, you'll find that it feels like you could do with twice as many items to pick from, as other than placing them all your really faced with is the harsh reality of the business management, leaving you with just the items you've got to pick from to place to make the basic hotel, and then hope you make enough money to complete the tasks, almost as if the design of your hotel is an aside to the actual task at hand - bizarre when you consider that your hotel can be set in a number of locations from around the world.
It's a shame that some of the more important features are missing, such as the fact that you can't design the outside of the hotel, you don't have any cleaners or porters, there's no chance of generating revenue from carparks, shops, telephones and not even any room service - surely missing out some of the more vital aspects of a decent hotel? It's this incomplete feel that makes the game less entertaining than it really should be, and hopefully JoWooD will consider realising an add-on pack which could improve on the situation.
Completing the objectives in Hotel Giant seems un-necessarily hard, and as if the only aim to is earn the most money in the most business like ways, and whilst doing this you find that there's a lack of entertainment value about the business aspects of the game, mainly caused by the lack of features like telephones and room service, and made worse by the fact that your guests just seem to walk around with very little expression on their faces.
If guests walked in to a room and spotted something new that you'd placed, or went to have a shower to find there was only cold water, and went storming out to the reception in a fit of rage with steam pouring from their ears then it'd prove very entertaining, and indeed it'd be good if hotel guests just interacted more and appeared to act like real people - sadly they don't though, and this makes you feel as though no matter what you do, it's just the running of the hotel that matters and the guests activities are just going to happen no matter what.
Along with an isometric style view (which can be zoomed and rotated), there's also a camera which follows people around - however this isn't ideal, and you'll often find yourself going through walls, and standing the wrong side of doors if the room which your chosen guest is a small one, such as a bathroom. Neither view is perfect, and if you stick with the perspective style view you'll find that you miss things that happen behind walls, and it doesn't seem like you can zoom out far enough to really get an idea of what's going on at a glance, meaning there's a lot of movement required just to see what's happening.
A good attempt at mixing The Sims with Sim Tower and Theme Park, but Hotel Giant sadly doesn't quite manage to include the high level of entertainment that the other games in the genre have (such as JoWooD's excellent Industry Giant series), and focuses too strongly on business side of hotel management with objectives which leave very little to the imagination and would be suited more to some sort of intense management training course at your local hotel chain rather than an evening of entertaining gaming.
There are many aspects to the game which are perfect, but there's also a lot that makes the whole game feel very restricting and limited, such as the lack of decent AI in your hotel guests and staff, the limiting (albeit huge) number of items that you can place in your hotel, and tedious business style objectives which are a bit hard going.
Hotel Giant will appeal if you an addict of business management instead of revelling in the life control aspect (such as The Sims offers), but for the game to appeal more it feels like there needs to be a lot more possibilities for interaction with the people rather than just walking around randomly performing actions, and more guest based tasks which would have made the game much more entertaining and would have boosted our overall score immensely.Overall score: 5 out of 10
Recommended Price: £29.99
Available: NowBuy Hotel Giant for the PC from Amazon