In short, if you are familiar with the first attempt on the Xbox One, this game essentially the same game with enhanced features and moreIn short, if you are familiar with the first attempt on the Xbox One, this game essentially the same game with enhanced features and more content. I played the prior version and was extremely disappointed, and while this still feels like a step backwards from the original Zoo Tycoon franchise it's much better than the original xbox variant. Before I state my thoughts I should clarify that I played on the pc using the Xbox Anywhere thing, and that is only available if you upgrade to windows 10.
That being said, the game is exactly what it says on the box. The goal is to create a successful zoo of your design while making as much of a profit as possible. This is done over three main modes, Campaign which is essentially missions in pre-made zoos, Challenge which is the bread and butter create your own zoo, and Sandbox where there is no money constraint so you can build to your heart's content.
Campaign is about what you would expect, in fact quite a bit more fun than I expected. Even though every zoo is made of the same cookie-cutter pieces each challenge I have played so far has managed to feel unique. Completing these unlocks content for the other gamemodes.
Challenge has been improved since the last game, before it was far too easy and I suspect this was to appeal to younger audiences. While it still seems to be easier than I would have liked it the game still threw curve balls I wasn't expecting and it wasn't just a slow and steady progression of funds.
I haven't played sandbox yet, so I'll take the time to explain some of the changes. There seem to be some balance changes that make challenges more difficult, there are almost 100 new animals, many of which with unique habitats, and two new campaigns which I assume unlock something new upon completion. One of the major complaints with the original was that you were very limited in what you could do, now you can manually change paths to an extent and decorate more freely. That said, it's no where near as customization as the first two in the franchise.
That said, the game surprised me with just how much fun it was now. The first game was so easy and as a result so boring that it felt like a slog to go through. The gameplay improvements, however minor they may be, help significantly. I do have a few issues though, mostly minor.
While this was also a problem with the first game, the exhibits are way too small. I would be fine with having premade set-ups if they were spacious, but even the largest version of an enclosure you can get feels like a small or at most a medium to me. While the game isn't trying to be super accurate to a real zoo I couldn't help but feel bad for the animals as they got crammed into tiny boxes. The smallest enclosures that can still fit big animals would likely garner a real zoo closure due to animal cruelty.
Secondly, the original game had mini exhibits for things like meerkats and lizards. It's a great touch, but the problem again is that most of the new animals go into them. I wouldn't mind if it was more lizards and rodents but you get some actually big animals in there. For example, you can get tapirs, which are much larger than chimps or alpacas. Both of the latter can go in the full size exhibits, but the much larger tapirs get crammed into this tiny little 9x9 circle meant for a turtle (And frankly to small for one of those). The animals can barely even turn around in those. I cant help but feel that since a lot of the new animals go into those (Crocodiles, Giant Anteaters, Wombats) they originally meant for those to be in the big exhibits but time constraints or something of that manner forced them to put them in these tiny little exhibits.
Lastly, there are a few technical problems. Almost all of the animals with fur have shading problems where the entire model or patches either turn jet black or glow bright as the sun. Moving an animal to a new enclosure via a helicopter seems to require a full game restart to work most of the time, and while not necessarily a bug the first time you make a save game, it will always be replaced by the second game you save, which I found out the hard way. After that saves are fine though. Whole not a bug, it must be said the fur effects on the animals look fine from far away but poor to terrible up close, and I don't remember them being that bad in the original xbox release.
Again, these are just nit-picks and I guess I would rather that the tapir be in the game but not in a normal exhibit than not at all, same with the crocs and anteaters. In the end, aside from the tiny exhibits and being a bit too easy, the game is a lot more fun now and if you enjoyed the original franchise or were interested in getting the first run of the xbox edition I can suggest getting it.… Expand