Golf Resort Tycoon II Review

The 3D golf mode adds an interesting and fun twist to what would have otherwise been a straightforward management strategy game.

Activision Value's Golf Resort Tycoon II is an all-in-one golf game that lets you design, build, manage, and play on your own golf course. As its title suggests, the game is the follow-up to Golf Resort Tycoon, a management strategy game released in mid-2001. The sequel improves on the original with new environments and challenges and a new 3D mode that lets you golf on your own course against various computer-controlled opponents. Like its predecessor, Golf Resort Tycoon II succeeds for the most part in delivering on its promise, but rather than doing one thing and doing it very well, it tries to do everything and achieves only limited success.

The game is split into three basic game modes. In addition to following the game's limited tutorial, you can build your own course in the "instant action" sandbox mode, try to complete one of several different challenges, and golf a course in the 3D "golf a course" mode. The game's tutorial gives instructions on the very basics of creating a course--building your first hole, adding guest facilities to keep the guests happy, and constructing maintenance facilities to keep your resort running. While this is enough to get you started, any further information you get will have to come through trial and error and the tips provided at the beginning of each game, since the tiny manual only provides a basic overview of the game installation, interface, and controls.

The sandbox mode lets you build your course without worrying about any specific goal. The different difficulty settings affect the amount of cash you start with, which makes the beginning stages of the game harder or easier but has little effect on the later stages in the game. As your resort grows and you add more holes and guest services, your rating can improve from a lowly one-star course to a world-class five-star resort. The game includes a large assortment of elements to add to your resort, including restaurants, entertainment centers, golf services, lodging, maintenance facilities, and even landmarks like Stonehenge, a pyramid, or a medieval castle. While you may intuitively understand how to improve your course by maintaining the greens and building more expensive and elaborate structures, there's no specific information about what it takes to achieve a three-, four-, or five-star rating, which can make the game somewhat frustrating at times. Another part of the game that can be discouraging is that while you can see statistics about what your guests need, such as food or entertainment, there's no clear-cut way of improving those statistics. The obvious strategy of building additional restaurants and entertainment facilities seems to have a negligible effect on your guests' ratings.

Beyond giving you an initial situation and a more definite goal, the challenge scenarios are the same as the sandbox mode. The game includes a good variety of challenges that range from simply building a nine-hole course or making $300,000 as quickly as possible to attracting media coverage or getting out of debt. There is even a scenario that gives you a resort with a bad gopher infestation, and you must hire enough pest control experts to contain the epidemic. This challenge is especially amusing because you'll find that bad gopher infestations are a staple of every course you build, and even when you have a sufficient team of pest control experts, the message box at the bottom of the screen will alert you to a new gopher infestation every minute or so.

The 3D golf mode adds an interesting and fun twist to what would have otherwise been a straightforward management strategy game. Once you have constructed and saved a golf course, you can create a golf character and golf the course, either alone or against a group of computer-controlled opponents of adjustable skill. This mode uses a simplified third-person perspective with a three-click control system--click once to start the swing, again to set the distance, and a third time to see how close you can come to where you were aiming. While the golf mode has acceptable physics and lets you choose from a complete set of clubs, it is not a suitable alternative to any of the pure golf games available. Nevertheless, it's fun to watch your character bounce a golf ball off a fancy restaurant or a huge giraffe topiary, and this mode provides an entertaining diversion from the building and strategy portion of the game.

Such a diversion is necessary, because you'll find that the building and management can become tedious, especially later in the game, when expensive upgrades such as the health spa or the Manor House hotel will require you to wait patiently while your admissions and sales bring in money. While there is always some micromanagement that can be done while you're waiting, at some points you will have your resort the way you want it, and just need another $50,000 to build that next upgrade. The game includes an adjustable speed setting, but later in the game when you have 100 or 150 golfers on your course, along with a large crew of maintenance personnel, the game will slow down just from keeping track of all the commotion, and the speed settings will do little to speed things up. At this point it is useful to throw aesthetics to the wind and lower your screen resolution and overall detail, but even then the game will have some lag.

The game's soundtrack is upbeat and does a nice job of setting the mood, but it can get repetitive, especially during a long play session. The volume of the music and sound effects can be adjusted separately, which is fortunate since the sound effects can be amusing at times.

Overall, Golf Resort Tycoon II offers a good deal of variety and entertainment to those willing to put up with its shortcomings. While there are games that do a better job of letting you build and run a golf resort, and games that do a better job of simulating the actual sport of golf, Golf Resort Tycoon II manages to combine these elements to give you an all-around golf experience.

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    Golf Resort Tycoon II More Info

  • First Released
    • PC
    The 3D golf mode adds an interesting and fun twist to what would have otherwise been a straightforward management strategy game.
    Average Rating31 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Cat Daddy Games
    Published by:
    Activision Value
    Management, Strategy
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    No Descriptors