When it comes to sequels, it’s hard to get the balance right. While you still want to keep the game similar to the original, you need to add enough content and variety to rope the buyer in. In Virtual City’s case, unfortunately Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort feels far too similar to the previous game. Even though it is certainly the better game, with new locals, missions and buildings, it doesn’t distance itself enough from the first and so isn’t going to satisfy gamers who already enjoyed Virtual City.
Virtual City 2 Gameplay
And this deja-vu mostly comes from the fact that Virtual City 2 starts back at the beginning. It assumes you haven’t played the first game meaning that if you have, the first set of levels aren’t going to do much to entertain. On the flip side, Virtual City 2 remains a good game for newbies meaning that if you have yet to visit Virtual City, you aren’t going to feel overwhelmed with this one.
Virtual City advertises itself as a ‘city builder’ but construction is one of the minor factors of gameplay. Instead the game focusses on production chains and population transportation. There are also meters which monitor the population size and happiness, environmental rating and a new addition; Visitor and Job rating. These new stats are affected by transporting people to either an entertainment facility (ie. a club) and to an office to work. These more or less make up the new buildings in Virtual City 2. Restaurants, museums, fitness centres and office buildings facilitate citizens and boost their relevant statistics. Along with that, there are some more production chains, like ski lifts etc.
Whereas these additions help make your city more alive and diverse, it doesn’t improve on what Virtual City is best at. I love linking production buildings to create an end product and so I appreciate the new production chains. However, stat managing is so frustrating in Virtual City and the new meters for job and visitor ratings don’t help. As figures like ‘happiness’ can’t be measured (unlike environmental rating) it’s sometimes impossible to manage. One level requires you to get happiness higher than 80 and a jobs rating at 230. Seeing as the two are indirectly proportional (in that when one goes up, the other goes down) getting the two to rise steadily in unison was almost impossible. In the end, I had to wait for about an hour for both figures to reach their objective very… very… slowly.
Despite this, Virtual City 2 has improved in other areas. The locations seem more detailed and vibrant, the music is still excellent and overall, it’s still an excellent game. It’s just when you play something for the second time, you begin to notice the flaws in things. Therefore, players who have already played Virtual City won’t get as much out of it as they might have hoped. On the contrary, gamers who have yet to play any Virtual City game should go get Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort. It’s definitely the better game of the two, and you are bound to enjoy it.
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Price: $4.99 (£4.99)
Description: A Casual City Builder
Pros: Same great visuals and attention to detail, added production chains and locations, an improvement over the original.
Cons: Stat management can get frustrating, not enough new to be worth the price if you’ve played the first.