Roller Coaster Tycoon World EA Review

Thursday, March 31, 2016 07:04 AM

Roller Coaster Tycoon World EA Review
A note before you read the following review - I do own and have extensively played the previous titles in the Roller Coaster Tycoon franchise. I do not consider myself a die-hard, "rabid" fan of the franchise, but I do/did thoroughly enjoy playing the games. I don't consider myself an expert of the franchise or its titles; I did not get deeply into custom content, modding, or advanced features of the games. However, I do feel that I am representative of the "average" player of the franchise and its titles.

After multiple delays, set-backs, and push-backs, the release date for Roller Coaster Tycoon World was moved-up quite suddenly to March 31, 2016. Roller Coaster Tycoon World has been released as an Early Access product. What Early Access means - honestly and bluntly - is that Atari hopes that you will pay to Beta Test Roller Coaster Tycoon World. Games released as Early Access products generally are full of bugs and errors; and they are greatly lacking in content. Roller Coaster Tycoon World is no exception.

Atari (though they say they are willing to offer refunds until March 31, 2016 if you pre-ordered the game through their site) and Steam (Valve) are hoping you will pay at least $49.99 to Beta Test Roller Coaster Tycoon World. There are rumors that there are other retailers offering the game for over 50% off already; Roller Coaster Tycoon World hasn't even been "officially" launched yet. Steep discounts on games this early into their release never bodes well for a title. If you are intent on purchasing Roller Coaster Tycoon World, be aware that prices might greatly vary depending on the retailer.

I cannot suggest or recommend Roller Coaster Tycoon World to anyone at this time. My advice is to completely avoid this game at least until it is out of Early Access and is officially and completely launched. From the bugs and errors, the lack of content, to the wildly varying prices for this game; it is clear this game has issues and it is questionable what Atari intends releasing the game this early for purchase. Roller Coaster Tycoon World suffers from many serious problems.

The minimum System Requirements for Roller Coaster Tycoon World listed Steam's page for the game are grossly under-estimated. For the game to run smoothly (and not over-heat your computer or GPU) on the lowest settings in the game you need at least double the processor and graphics suggested. If you do run this game on the lowest settings on a system meeting the minimum requirements, do expect your computer and GPU to run hot and run slow. Of course, the Steam page does disclose the caveat for the system requirements: "Additional Notes: Subject to Change." Do not run the game with other applications open on your computer and minimize the amount of unnecessary tasks and processes running.

Regardless of your computer, since this is essentially a Beta Test of Roller Coaster Tycoon World, do expect a lot of serious bugs and performance issues. The game does have a serious memory leak; after 4 hours of playing you can expect to see the game using over 4 GB of memory and still climbing. The game will become frequently unresponsive and cause your computer and operating system to become unresponsive. Also beware that the game can crash at this point, and create a "zombie necro thread" on Windows that cannot be cleared by any means. This will force you to restart your computer to free-up your system's memory.

People visiting your park is now more "realistic" than past titles; they will enter and exit your park in droves when the sun rises and sets. However, this is still purely aesthetic as you will notice several days pass before the sun sets momentarily. Because people enter and exit your park in masses, it creates an issue where the game can lag when you suddenly have 500 or more people entering your park in the mornings. Also, it will cause your park paths and rides towards the front of your park to become grossly over-populated resulting in 500 people queueing for 1 ride. The people ultimately will leave your park in anger after waiting in line for hours and this repeats daily. Either there is a bug in the AI for the people, or this title in the Roller Coaster Tycoon franchise behaves vastly different from previous titles rendering past park planning strategies useless.

Roller Coaster Tycoon World, as of Early Access release is greatly lacking in official content. You can expect to see and play all the official content in about 4 hours of solid gaming. Campiagn Mode provides a bit longer gameplay by gate-locking the content until you achieve objectives; however, you are still limited to the same (about) 20 rides, 50 or so plopables, 6 or so shops (in 4 theme flavors), and 6 or so food stalls (in 4 theme flavors.) I did not count everything to be exact in my numbers, but there honestly isn't much more than 4 hours of official content; for $49.99.

There is the option to create and utilize content created by other owners of the game. While this is nice and the implementation of the system to share and use User Generated Content is well done; it really feels like Atari is hoping that the customers will create all of the content for the game and will never release a finished product's worth of official content. As of Early Access release, I do not feel that the User Generated Content is a saving point for Roller Coaster Tycoon World.

Some positives about Roller Coaster Tycoon World: beautiful graphics, great soundtracks, a beautiful park entrance and parking lot, and simple, easy to use landscaping tools.

Honestly, the negatives and bugs are numerous. I'm not going to do the job of a paid employee and list them all. My honest advice is to avoid this game until it is out of the Early Access phase and is officially launched. Roller Coaster Tycoon World is not worth paying to Beta Test. I found the Early Access release to be disappointing and not worth the $49.99 that Atari and Steam are charging. If Atari relies on User Generated Content and does not release a much larger amount of official content without asking us to pay for a DLC, then this title will go down as another franchise killer. This game, as of March 31, 2016, is not worth $49.99 and is not worh paying more for DLCs is more free, official content is not added; in addition to serious game optomization, numerous bug fixes, etc.

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