Tycoon City: New York Review

The Tycoon series of games has presented very few enjoyable titles in recent years. Sure, the Roller Coaster Tycoon games were among the best, but other titles like Prison Tycoon or School Tycoon felt more like cheap, low-budget games that milked a dying series. Of course, just about every Tycoon game has been created by a different developer, so it,s not too surprising to see some of these titles take on completely different characteristics.

The latest in this long running series is Tycoon City: New York with developer Deep Red at the helm. Tycoon City: New York is a business simulation in which you create your own empire of businesses, and basically invent your own version of New York City by adding new buildings and beautifying the landscape. We haven,t seen a good city-building game since Sim City 4, so hopefully this newest entry to the Tycoon line of games can not only breathe some life back into the series but serve as an updated replacement to an older strategy game. At least that,s what we hoped before playing the game.

Although the basic concept of Tycoon City: New York sounds a lot like Sim City 4, a few hours spent within the game will tell you that there are hardly any similarities between the two. The main difference is in the fact that you don,t take on the role of a mayor or other important official in Tycoon City. Instead you,re just a simple business man out to earn a quick buck and perhaps maybe create a chain of businesses or two. Unfortunately, this hurts the game,s design, as you,re not allowed to fully customize New York City to your liking. So instead of building roads and bridges, you,re just building small businesses and headquarters on pre-built roads that the game generated. That,s the limit of your building capabilities in Tycoon City, and as you,ll see throughout this review, these limits that really bring down the replay value on what could have been an amazing game.

There are two different modes to play in Tycoon City: New York, Build New York mode and Sandbox mode. Before selecting which mode you would like to play, you can first customize your character. You can enter your full name and even choose your portrait or import a picture from your PC. As nice as this feature is, it really serves no purpose whatsoever during the gameplay. The only thing you really get out of it is seeing your picture on a magazine cover for 5 seconds if you become famous. Other than that it,s really a feature that we could have done without.

As you may be able to tell, the Sandbox mode allows you to construct New York City with all of the businesses and features unlocked. Every district in New York City is also unlocked in this mode, allowing you to build wherever you like within the confines of the city. When selecting this mode, you,re given a few choices on how to start the game out. You can select your starting amount of money, your upgrade credits, and whether or not the AI will build their own businesses to compete with yours as well as how aggressive the AI will be. This is the best mode for those who just want to jump right into the game with everything open to them.

The Build New York mode is the main portion of the game, as it allows you to start from a small business owner in Greenwich Village to a more renowned corporate leader. At the very start, most types of businesses that you can build are locked, and the only district that,s open to you is Greenwich Village. In order to unlock more and more features you need to complete a number of different opportunities. These are basically small missions that are separated into regular opportunities and prize opportunities. The regular opportunities are presented to you with in-game cut scenes. Normally it,s just two or more people talking to each other and asking you to build a specific business for them. These types of opportunities can consist of just building some businesses that the local college wants, to preparing for the local Halloween parade by developing businesses along the route that the parade will travel. Once you complete these opportunities you,re usually presented with such things as higher business rankings, a happier local population, more upgrade credits (or you get to watch the parade). You,ll also need to complete these in order to unlock more districts to build in.

The prize opportunities are more like side quests. These are simply presented to you in plain text and can be started at any time. A lot of these involve you building a specific business in a certain district, and then you need to make sure that it earns a required amount of money or gains a required amount of popularity. Completing these opportunities will usually give you a lot of upgrade credits, and they,re generally very easy to complete.

Of course the main portion of this game isn,t just in the missions that need to be completed. Tycoon City: New York is all about building businesses, and there are a nice amount of them. There are roughly 100 buildings that you can construct, but these aren,t 100 entirely different businesses. So, in other words, there are a number of different hotels, entertainment spots, retail stores, restaurants, offices, and tourist attractions that you can construct. Each of these buildings can house a different amount of people, have different upgrade options, and some can only be built in specific districts. Unfortunately you can,t build landmark buildings like the Empire State Building or The Statue of Liberty, as these are already added into the game for you.

Constructing a building is very easy. You just simply click on the ground in one of the districts, select a building from the drop-down menu, make sure that it lines up with a street, and then place it down. It,s then constructed right away, and your new business is up and running. Once you,re new business is up you can then add upgrades to the building in order to raise the beauty, satisfaction, and appeal levels. There are a number of upgrades that can be placed on different businesses, and doing so will cost you a certain amount of upgrade credits depending upon what you purchase. These upgrades can consist of billboards, plants and trees, flags, lights, staff members, etc.

Once you,ve constructed a certain number of the same type of business, you can then create a franchise. At this point you get the chance to select a headquarters building to construct in a business district which will be in charge of managing your local franchise. The headquarters building itself will grow over time as your franchise brings in more money.

Managing your businesses is very easy, and there,s really no challenge in it at all, which is rather disappointing. There are a lot of different information menus that tell you everything you need to know about all of your businesses. These include such things as how much money they,re earning, how many visitors they,ve had, and what the needs of the local people are. In order to stay in good standing with the population, you need to construct new businesses in areas that the people require them. So, if you see that the residents of a certain apartment building want some entertainment, then it would be wise to build a bar in that area. It,s as simple as that. In order to be successful throughout the game, all you have to do is just make sure that you,re keeping the locals happy and completing opportunities. Besides that, there,s really not much here in terms of managing your business. It,s all pretty automatic – it,s also just about impossible to go bankrupt in this game.

This all starts to get fairly annoying after a while, because it,s clear that under all these limitations there,s actually a game that has the potential to do a lot. The limits on Tycoon City: New York really makes it boring after a short while of playing. It quickly becomes obvious that the general gameplay consists of building a business, buying upgrades for it, and then just sitting back and watching your profits come in. It,s just a little too easy, and it could have greatly benefited from some more in-depth management options.

Fortunately, the graphics are much better than the gameplay. Of course the graphics don,t make the game, but in this case the graphics tend to hold your interest long enough to shoot through Tycoon City: New York at least once. It,s actually stunning to see how well the graphics are done for a game of this size. Everything is highly detailed and can be seen up close. It,s fun to watch the pedestrians walk around the streets of New York City, doing different tasks. Some will talk on their cell phones, others will sit down at a café, and the traffic will get jammed through the congested streets. Not only do the pedestrians look pretty real, but they,re animation isn,t that bad either. During some of the in-game cut scenes, you can see that the movement of their bodies is nice and smooth, and their mouths move well with the words.

However, all of these great details that make this game feel like a living, breathing New York City do come at a price in the form of technical issues. Some of the staff members that you can hire are actually missing textures. In this case, instead of you seeing an actual person you see a small brown box. Some of the textures also flicker when moving the camera around the city. These technical problems aren,t anything ground-stopping, but they can get annoying and show signs of an incomplete game.

The audio is also done quite well. You can hear the loud noise of the crowds walking on the sidewalks and the rumbling of cars driving by. Other details can be heard in-game, such as people arguing and cash registers ringing at your businesses. The voiceovers for the characters in the cut scenes aren,t the best we,ve ever heard, but they,re not really that bad either. Overall the sound effects in this game do a good job at recreating the noises and racket of New York City.

In the end, Tycoon City: New York does have some good attributes. It is really neat to see you,re city fully built, and the excellent graphics really give a sense of realism and excitement to your city. On the other hand the same thing can,t be said about the gameplay. The game mechanics that make up this title are just too limited to be fully enjoyed. With a little more work, it could have been a very enjoyable and complex game, but at this stage it actually feels somewhat incomplete. Not having a whole lot of management ability over running your businesses and not being able to do something as simple as building roads really makes it feel like a simple experience that won,t last that long. If you,re really dying for a city-building sim with some up-to-date graphics, then playing through Tycoon City: New York at least once might be worth it. Just don,t expect to get a whole lot of replay value out of the title.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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