It has been quite some time since I wrote a Initial Thoughts blog on a game but here we are with the new Zoo Tycoon type game Planet Zoo.
Marketed on being beautiful and giving you not only the chance to build a zoo but to have animals with real personalities and all sorts in it obviously being the big nerd I am I went out and brought it even though I don’t really have the money.
Was it worth making myself poor over?
Unfortunately the answer is kind of no.
Whilst the game runs OK sometimes there are other times, especially on Franchise mode, where it is nearly unplayable. I’ve never had a problem with any other game so why my laptop hates this one so much I don’t know but it became too difficult at times to play that I just stopped. Even on the lowest settings sometimes it lags to the point I honestly want to throw my laptop out of the window.
When I did get to play it there was nothing that special about it honestly.
Sure it was a beautiful game but it felt like a step down from just about any other “build your own” type game I’ve ever played and so much less enjoyable then Zoo Tycon was. The only thing that it obviously gets a plus point on is that it is beautiful and you can go into a camera mode and just watch as your animals move about.
Career mode has constantly bugged out on me whether it be the fact I have to buy new species for the zoo and I just can’t because it won’t load any other then the ones I already have or apparently going too fast for the story because of the lag and overly long explanations/story telling that leads to the game just no longer seeing that I passed the objective 10 minutes ago.Which is unfortunate because I really found the career mode quite charming and the voice acting whilst cheesy as hell is right up my alley.
That being said Career mode and Sandbox are basically the only reasons I would still play it.
As I said above Franchise mode basically just kills my computer. Not only that it is based on collecting the Conservation points which are a pain in the ass honestly. For a start you are trading the animal for the weekly projects with other players and obviously the other players want to make as many points as possible which means that, especially when starting the game, you will be unable to join in on the main quest until you have gathered enough points to buy the incredibly high prices for the animals. They also seem to never be in store for cash either so you really ARE relying on the cheapest ones in the Conservation points section and the goodwill of other players.
When the mode doesn’t work though it makes it even more difficult because there were plenty of times I spent close to 2 minutes trying to click a damn button to buy anything and nothing happened meaning especially in Franchise mode I lost out on cheap animals that I needed.
Away from the modes and I just found that in making it look cool they made it so difficult and I know from asking around I’m not the only person who is baffled by some of the choices they have made.
Paths being the main one.
Why is it so difficult to create paths or areas full of paths? There is a grid placement system which just complicates it even more and I honestly rage quit this game the first time playing because the path system wound me up. Not only that the Career mode which acts as the tutorial to a point doesn’t really actually explain anything, or at least not the two I attempted before giving up because it was so buggy, so you are left trying to figure out most things on your own. Terrain changing is also a pain but I feel I got used to that aspect much faster then the paths which still to this day make me angry just thinking about them.
Not only that but everything has to be so complicated.
Nothing in the world seems to like more then a few things in their habitat with them, you can go years without a problem then suddenly there is a imbalance in a habitat that hasn’t changed because you haven’t remembered to research the animal high enough for them to breed. I can’t be the only person that no matter what I did seemed to fail to keep the Peacocks happy? Constant alerts for the SAME THING and nothing I did seemed to help it. No matter how much staff you have there is never enough to do anything and I haven’t even attempted to relearn how to set the work areas again because it just drove me insane.
Not just that but there are no pre-made climbing frames or things big enough so if you struggle to figure out how to create anything with the weird controls then you have to rely on those talented enough to get it and hope that you have the right equipment unlocked or enough money to stick them in your game.
I’m not saying not to buy the game though.
There is a charm to it that is undeniable and I feel like maybe this just isn’t the genre for me anymore. I don’t like free building to the point they want me too, for some reason the game just doesn’t like my laptop and it just makes me too angry to concentrate on just about anything. Nothing I did ever seemed to make certain animals happy and I spent way too long trying to get one or two habitats in working order just to find out that something changed when I blinked and suddenly I had no idea what I had done wrong.
Things like changing the actual terrain around to get the right percentage of grass or soil or rock just drove me crazy as no matter what setting I had it on I could never really tell where the long grass that everyone hated was. Very obviously though there are people who find these things easy to do and had no problem in doing them. Some of the creations you can find are absolutely amazing and I have zero idea how they’ve made them.
More then that it is just a bog standard Zoo Tycoon just trying to be a little bit bigger and better. For me it didn’t work and I really don’t think the way it came out it was worth the money I spent on it but for others they seem to have genuinely found happiness in the game which is all you can ask for.
If you are going to make it so you can create a character and give the option of having larger characters it is rude as hell to have such a small selection for “bigger” people when all you literally have to do is use the same clothes and just stretch it like you did the character model. I mean the customization in the game for your character was poor to begin with but boy did that make me angry.