Indoor, Outdoor & Kids' Trampolines

LGR – Planet Coaster Review

[typing] Planet Coaster has been one of
my most anticipated PC games ever since it was announced by that title at E3 2015. And now that it’s finally out of early access, it’s time to take a look at the full release. This is a game very much in the vein of
Theme Park and Roller Coaster Tycoon, which makes sense, seeing as
it’s a game by Frontier Developments. Yep, the same developer behind
space trucking sim Elite Dangerous, although their involvement with park
management games goes back much further, with titles like Scream Ride, Zoo Tycoon 2013, Coaster Crazy, Thrillville, Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, and even the Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 expansions, all being developed by them over the years. Planet Coaster begins with an avatar
creation process which seems important, but this is pretty much the first
and last time you’ll ever see it. Maybe they’ll do something
more with avatars in the future, but as of now, the only thing they
do is appear on this world map alongside your friends acting
as Steam Workshop shortcuts, and I think they might show up
at random in other people’s parks if you’re playing online. And yes, this is a game with online functionality, but it’s not a multiplayer game, nor does it require an always-on Internet connection. Once it authenticates itself with
Denuvo servers after installation, you can play offline and dive
into the meat of Planet Coaster, which is the single-player Career,
Sandbox and Challenge modes. Each one of these plays using
the same tools, just different rules, and the overview for fools is the Career mode gives you a somewhat linear set
of maps and objectives to complete, Sandbox mode lets you do anything at any time with no restrictions to creative freedom, and Challenge mode is like a mix of the two, giving you lots of creative choices, alongside a set of objectives to
complete and a budget to maintain. Speaking of budget and objectives and all that, there are no surprises as to how Planet Coaster plays, if you’ve messed with any notable park
management game in the last 20-odd years. You pick a map or a scenario to play and are presented with a plot of
undeveloped land to do with as you see fit within the confines of however
much profit you can generate. There are indeed roller coasters– plenty of them, of course– but the majority of things you’ll see
and do have nothing to do with them. Attractions abound in Planet Coaster, with thrill rides, carousels, log flumes, train tracks, and all manner of stuff in
between to keep visitors occupied. There are also employees to hire and train, shops to build and customize, and food and beverage needs to fulfill. On top of that, you’re going
to be managing ticket prices, cue times, litter and vomit cleanup, and research and development
on new rides and features. It’s also imperative that you maintain
each ride so it doesn’t break down too often, as well as beautify your park so that visitors get distracted by pretty things and don’t ask for a refund when it
takes hours to board the teacup ride. This is all well and good, and absolutely the bare minimum as far
as PC games about theme parks go. The real question is whether or not this is fun and compelling enough to play beyond a couple of hours of screwing around. Well, I’m happy to say that, yes, it is! But it also doesn’t do a whole lot to push the genre beyond what we’ve already had in the past, either. It’s also not the only game on the block right now, with titles like Roller Coaster
Tycoon World and Parkitect also vying for your attention. So why bother with Planet Coaster? Well, what it has is a very particular set of skills. Skills its developers have
acquired over a very long career. Skills that make Planet Coaster
a dream for people like you. Potentially. Because while Parkitect is a game
aiming to mimic the gameplay and style of the Chris Sawyer Tycoon games, and Roller Coaster Tycoon World
is a rushed-to-market anomaly of bad timing and poor planning, Planet Coaster picks up right where
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 left off, but improves on that in ways that game sorely needed. Immediately upon starting a new map, you can tell it’s a game crafted with care. The interface feels familiar, yet modern. The graphics look promising. And there’s this soothing soundtrack by Jim Guthrie
and J.J. Ipsen playing in the background which instills a sense of focus and calm. [music plays] Or maybe it sounds like the trailer to the latest
award-winning indie flick reveal in 2016, I can’t quite decide. [joyful music plays] Planet Coaster is also just a gorgeous game, which of course isn’t necessary
for the business side of things, but it’s a great plus in a 3D park sim like this. The sound design is also right on point, giving you all the screams, coaster whooshes, crowd chatter and rickety mechanical audio cues one needs to suspend disbelief. [amusement park ambience] You can also customize this further with
ambient sound generators and music customization. And yes, this also lets you
drop in your own music tracks to fine tune your park’s audio-visual theme. [hard rock music plays] As you can see, it also allows you to enjoy the rides from a first-person perspective, and man, this really makes me wish for some VR support. Seeing as they also made Elite Dangerous and it uses the same Cobra Engine underneath, I have hope for that in the future. Speaking of engine stuff, it apparently allows or some
pretty robust terrain manipulation. Easily the best I’ve seen in a park sim to date. My jaw dropped when I saw THIS could be made, completely from scratch, using nothing but the base game and
its included modular parts system. In fact, it’s not only optional to construct
rides and buildings using a bin of parts, it’s a necessity. The creative side of Planet Coaster seems to be the main focus in
almost all portions of the game, perhaps to a bit of a fault. Thankfully, there’s a ton of pre-made
stuff on Steam Workshop already, so if you don’t want to spend hours
creating a toilet, you don’t have to. But yeah, everything from ATMs to drink
stands are completely bare-bones blocks until you add some aesthetic fluff to make it look presentable to visitors. And this is sadly where the experience begins to falter, because while it’s great that
you have this much freedom, it can be a huge pain to take advantage of it. Object manipulation in complex
areas is just fighting a losing battle, as items constantly get in the way
of what you’re trying to click on, and the object movements go from being too slow to insanely sensitive, depending on the camera angle. Path creation is also an absolute chore, with a piece-by-piece system in place instead of any kind of point-to-point
or click-to-paint system. Same goes for coaster creation, which is slow and old-school in a way that invokes frustration in lieu of happy nostalgia. Placing pathways and coaster rails
is arguably the one function that the ill-fated Roller Coaster Tycoon World actually pulls off better than Planet Coaster. There’s just a lot of room for improvement here. You get used to it, but the fiddling
and fighting with controls never stops, and neither does the lack of information
presented to you while building things like coasters. There are heat maps and ratings and all that, but it doesn’t tell you HOW to improve the stats. It’s just up to you and your
pain threshold for trial and error, which is doubly annoying when you’re
playing a Career or a Challenge map, where a finite amount of cash is on the line. And then when you do get a half-decent
park with a bit of money coming in, well, so much for the challenge. It’s all but gone after that
initial profit hurdle is overcome. There’s very little in the way of hassle or hardship once you’ve attained any kind of steady income and have a few trained employees
roaming around doing their job. Visitors don’t seem to get bored of old rides at all. When rides break down, they’re easily fixed up in a jiffy and no one is ever turned off
by the apparent lack of safety. And of course, no one ever dies or gets injured. Heck, you can’t even pop their balloons or pick them up and drop them into the water anymore, which is not a real complaint, so much
as an observation to make my point. About the worst that can happen to anyone is sometimes they’ll vomit, and to that point, just clean it up, give them
an unpoppable balloon and they’ll be fine. There are no disasters, no unexpected events, no time limits to complete objectives, no VIPs to give special treatment to, nothing really beyond giving
people enough affordable junk to do while making sure everything is clean and punctual. Even the stuff that looks like
a bit of a challenge really isn’t, like how visitors demand nicer scenery around rides. You COULD carefully plan out a lush garden for them, complete with intricate flower
beds and old-world architecture. Or you could place a ton of freakin’
flame throwers and call it a day. The result is exactly the same,
and no one ever acknowledges it. One final thing that sucks is the performance, which is irregular and laggy after you
reach a certain point of complexity no matter what system you play it on, it seems. This is somewhat expected for a game like this, being rather CPU- and GPU-intensive with all the object and physics
calculations happening on the fly. But even on my latest PC build,
I had to crank down the graphics to low when building coasters and
placing pathways in larger parks, because the input lag just
gets unbearable in those cases. Ugh, man, it probably sounds like
I hate Planet Coaster by this point, but I assure you that is not the case. I’m just frustrated that it comes so
close to being a phenomenal game while still succumbing to many of the same pitfalls that so many similar park sims have in the past. Whether or not you want to purchase this is
up to your tolerance for the issues at hand. But the asking of $45 is actually
pretty decent for the potentially dozens, or even hundreds, of joyful hours
you can spend here if you like this. Even with some performance issues,
superficial challenges and iffy pathway creation, Planet Coaster is still one of my favorites of 2016. I haven’t had this particular
gaming itch scratched this nicely since Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, and dude, that game had some issues. But it still got my mind racing with
creative possibilities in a 3D space. Planet Coaster improves on the
gameplay from that in several ways, and still achieves at least the same
level of inspiration and blissful freedom that people flock to tycoon games for. It’s got visuals, atmosphere,
style and charm out the butt, and you can tell the folks behind this had
learned much from their past experiences. Planet Coaster is still not the ideal park simulation, but it is getting close, and has me once again optimistic
for the future of the genre. [joyful guitar music] Hey, you’re still here!
Well, if you enjoyed this video, perhaps you’d like to see some of my others. You can click these right here or stop by every Monday and
Friday for new videos on LGR. And as always, thank you very much for watching.

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