Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Platinum – PC
Developer: Frontier Developments
Release Date(NA): October 26th, 2004
Nerd Rating: 8.5/10
Reviewed by Frag Winterbrew
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Platinum is one of those special gems that were incredible and innovative for their series. It met the requirements for a great sequel; it improved its game play and mechanics while providing a fresh experience. It’s a solid entry into the Roller Coaster Tycoon series and the last before it went on an eight year hiatus. Well twelve if you don’t count spin off titles, with Roller Coaster Tycoon World coming out next year. That’s why I choose this title; it was a retired series that was simply incredible. Now it’s making a comeback reassuring its relevance in the current era of gaming.
A little information for those of you just coming in, Roller Coaster Tycoon is a theme park simulation game where you manage the business and creative parts of running a park. You have the ability to create just about any kind of ride you can imagine! Go karts, log flumes, haunted mansions, wooden coasters, mine carts, and a million more options are available to enable maximum creativity. You can spend hundreds of hours JUST building the rides and that’s merely half the game. The remainder of the title revolves around making profits for the park, advertising for it, attracting guests, keeping them happy, and regulating staff members. That’s the general basis for the Roller Coaster Tycoon series and it’s undeniably brilliant. You have the ability to create every single ride in the world and then you have the actual game to play afterwards.
It was a great concept, however it wasn’t properly implemented until Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. The previous two titles lacked a mode to completely immerse yourself into the creation part of “Create and Play;” however this game changed the field and added a sandbox mode to its roster. The campaign and single player options were both largely defined by the business aspects leaving creativity the second fiddle hardly having a roof to stand on. Now you are able to pick business simulator and creative outlet together or separately.
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 also boasts a much bulkier ride roster, fresh 3D graphics, a Coaster Cam, overhauled guests, fireworks, and lastly, themed scenery. The ride list now has a sexy inflation of new creations that stretch into exciting new territories, an example being the 360 coaster that spirals around the track. The graphics have stepped out of 2D sprites into the realm of 3D, with the improvements being comparable of the graphical jump from Super Smash Bros to Super Smash Bros Melee. It’s strongly noticeable compared to the previous games and stands “fair” being over eleven years old. The new visuals are shown quite nicely in the Coaster Cam which allows you to ride everything you place in the park from a first person perceptive.
The guests become known as Peeps. Peeps are coded to be much more advanced than the previous AI and it really does show. They can arrive in families and groups, have ride preferences, and even attend the park at different times thanks to the new day and night scale. In my opinion the best new feature of guests is the ability to create your own. You now have the ability to insert your own family or friends into the game and let them explore your amusement park. Or drown them if that’s your thing!
Fireworks are brought into Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, acting as large shows that you can time and create. You can even add your own custom music to the show! They’re just like the coasters in game, completely open to customization. The themed scenery allows builds on this note, allowing you to create themed areas of the park. It’s one of my favorite features in the game. You can create a Wonderland themed area, a gothic/haunted section, and a sunny beach segment. It’s incredibly fulfilling to finish these areas and watch them fill up with Peeps. It adds a strong sense of that Disneyland polish to every park when you make the effort.
Moving into the platinum part of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, the expansions add a nice layer of refinement to the original game as well as some much needed bug fixing. The Soaked! segment adds swimming pools, water jets for fireworks, more water rides, and fresh scenery options. The pools have creation tools on par with the roller coaster tools, which means they are very friendly to customization. You can literally create a five story pool on whim. The water jets and rides fit in perfectly with the old content, really improving the game’s core mechanics. The expansion fits so well into Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 that it feels like the original. It doesn’t play or fit strangely in the slightest.
Wild! brings animals, safari rides, and much needed bug fixes. Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Wild! is exciting at first, however. past early execution it fails to live up to its hype. It contrasts with Soaked! with its general vibe of content, and comes off as awkward in its main features. Animals in the game require an unreasonable amount of space that counters their usefulness. Late game Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 has you managing your space to its maximum potential in order to maximize profits and manage rides. The animals just don’t bring in much income, and when you have three to five new attractions to add to finish your Gothic town square, you can’t waste space on them. They tend to give off a blatant gold sink feeling about them. The safari rides become useless because not being able to use animals productively leaves them as seemingly wasted content. Wild! just has this alienation factor towards productivity. The rest of the game lets you be creative AND productive which makes it feel strange in nearly every sense of the game. Despite this the bug fixes brought in this part of the game were invaluable. Wild! fixed countless crash bugs, camera freezing, graphical glitches, and more. It essentially ensured the game’s long term playability.
Overall Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Platinum is an incredibly stellar title. It did everything it needed to do as a sequel and still manages to bring players into the series to this very date. The game play is solid, improved on its past titles, and really cemented the philosophy of “Create and Play.” It lacks any broken content or disgusting flaws, providing a very fulfilling experience. It made sure that people wouldn’t forget about it eleven years later and for that I give Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 an 8.5/10.
If you’re interested in the previous series’ entry please click here
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