'Two Point Hospital' Review: The Consoles Will Play You Now
By now you obviously - okay, hopefully - know a bit about Two Point Hospital, a hospital management sim that harkens back to the days of Theme Hospital and Hospital Tycoon. Indeed, it's made by developers who worked on Theme Hospital, back in the day. It's set in some sort of bizzaro Britain, where all healthcare is seemingly private and the NHS doesn't exist. (Careful what you wish for.) The game was released on PC in 2018 but is now, finally, available on console - just in case you wondered why I'm reviewing this now one-and-a-half-year-old game.
Management sims have always had a will they or won't they work kind of relationship with consoles. And just like the fantastic Jurassic World: Evolution (I'm a big fan, no need to @ me) translated perfectly to the living room, so too has Two Point Hospital.
That's not to say that this port is perfect. There are several small issues you may come across when coming to terms with the controls, and these are especially obvious during the room-building segments of Two Point Hospital.
There are often times, while managing your hospital, where you'll need to rearrange rooms, altering their shape and purpose, or just adding new items and equipment. Each action on its own can be a simple task; but flipping between them can lead to confusing sessions of button mashing, leaving you wondering why a certain button did this thing before, but is now doing something else.
I wasn't surprised to have this issue, as it's an obvious side-effect that comes with the genre on console. There are just too many things that need doing here and not enough buttons available to individually map them to, and it's something players just have to accept.
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Every in-game year, which passes in what feels like every ten minutes, the game holds a mini award ceremony to celebrate your best staff. It's a nice touch - a simple way to see your highest-performing staff - but you cannot avoid it. The game gives you a very short countdown, warning you that the awards are going to pop up and stop everything you're doing. It's incredibly frustrating when it happens, especially when you're trying to fulfil a task or make a room a little bit swankier, as anything your holding just disappears... gone!
I'm also not convinced that the game's - well, the port's - systems work properly all of the time. In one scenario, I was challenged to increase my overall staff morale. Unfortunately, I had one particular doctor who was furious about needing the toilet, and there were none nearby to him. That's fair enough, we all have a better time when we don't need to hike across a huge site to relieve ourselves. But in this doctor's case, there was a lovely, five-star lavatory merely two steps from his office. What the hell, pal? Thought you had a doctorate?
But outside of these fairly minimal complaints, any other niggles are smaller still when compared to the good time I've had in every session with Two Point Hospital's console version. I found myself so invested in each current location I was working in that I never wanted to leave and move on to a new hospital until I'd three-starred - the highest rating - the one I was currently managing.
Two Point Hospital is a huge amount of fun, and it's so easy to find yourself engulfed for hours at a time, perfecting every single aspect of your respectable institution and unlocking more and more 'kudosh', the game's essential currency for all of those requested upgrades. After a while you really won't remember that this is a game that was originally designed for PC. The port is just as brilliantly in-depth as its PC predecessor, and hilarious too, and it oozes the kind of welcome nostalgia that can't fail to take you back to happy days playing Theme Hospital on PS1.
Lovely stuff, basically. And it's worth pointing out to Xbox players that Two Point Hospital is being added to Game Pass, on release (for console only, that is). Happy days, indeed. It's also coming out for Switch, which I haven't been able to try but I've little doubt that Two Point Hospital will make for a perfect long-commute companion for anyone into their management sims.
Two Point Hospital is out now for PC and releases on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Switch on February 25th with Bigfoot and Pebberley Island DLC included. We tested the game on PlayStation 4 using code supplied by the publisher, SEGA. A guide to GAMINGbible's review scores can be found here.
Featured Image Credit: SEGA