Two Point Hospital dropped on PC after a little bit of build-up from the community. I personally have a distinct longing for the older Theme and Sim- titles of the 1990s but these things never did make a great transition to modern systems. Theme Hospital is easily one of my most favorite titles amongst these simulation games, with its whimsical ailments, wacky in-game characters and excellent comedic jabs, it still managed to put a decent experience for players who wanted the challenge of maintaining a hospital, juggling the roles of macro hospital administration to micro-managing who gets to water which plant and clean which toilet. It was a fun classic which maintained cult hit status and maintained longevity thanks to efforts like CorsixTH. Still, the challenge was always there. To make a true, modern experience similar to Theme Hospital.
Enter Two Point Hospital.
Developed by Two Point Studios, the game was recently released in consoles and we’re taking a look at the PlayStation4 version in this review but we’ll dash through the details since I’ve decided to forego the PC version review during its release. Not much has changed since then but from a player that is playing this game on console for the first time, much like I did with the original Theme Hospital which released a year later on PlayStation after the PC release. Certainly a nice callback to what was. But nostalgia aside, Two Point Hospital exists in a world where simulation games are a dime a dozen. Let’s see how Two Point Hospital on PS4 stands-up. Let’s begin!
There’s really no plot to talk of in Two Point Hospital. Simply put, you’re a new hospital admin put to task to build a hospital empire in a not-so-normal setting. That’s pretty much everything you need to know about the story. In terms of progression, the game gets tougher each level by introducing more complex diseases that require multiple specialist stations to cure. The areas at which you need to operate these hospital also present their own challenges. You’ll start simple with a nice plot of land to build your first hospital and get the hang of the game.
The game will require you to balance multiple tasks in managing the hospital but at the onset, you’ll only need to learn how to build a room, install its equipment and fixtures and hire the staff that’s needed to run the facility. Hiring staff requires understanding how their unique traits help you but also balancing their salary rate. Not all highly-paid staff are the best and overpaying staff will sometimes send you to the red. Speaking of which, the game ultimately requires you to make money which means managing expenses and income, making sure you turn a profit. This is easier at the start of the game, but as you progress, you’ll essentially learn how to micromanage the components that make your hospital run including managing the priorities of your staff, how much each health care procedure cost, how much a can of soda in your vending machines sell a pop, and plenty more.
The game features various hotspot and color-level views to allow you to monitor various details like staff energy, patient happiness, hunger, hospital temperature, beauty, etc. Certain things affect these and you will need to manage these as well or you can ignore it, less work to do but a bit more of a challenge since the game doesn’t automate as nicely as you’d want it to and I guess that’s fine for a simulation game to still force you to be a bit more hands-on but ultimately, even after setting priorities, some staff will not behave as their work slider suggests. The receptionist can be on the PA non-stop and no doctor will be on a station because he’s walking around doing nothing.
The pacing of the game isn’t restrictive and you can play at your own pace. You can freeze the game to stop it from progressing time as you build or as you narrow onto a specific target to check his/her stats. You can also speed up or slow down the game’s passage of time. This helps best for time constrained situations like emergencies where you’re under time pressure.
Mouse and keyboard was definitely the way to go for these types of games and Two Point Studios really did a great job making the transition. The game actually doesn’t teach you much at the start how the controls are laid-out but the intuitive button displays on the interface. Controlling individual items is also very easy and intuitive as there is a marker on screen to see what you’re highlighting. The game itself cues you on which is highlighted and how to go back to which menu if you need to do some modification to the room, for example, when you’re in item mode. The game could’ve made better of use of the D-pad and hold button commands to make access to different views faster but checking status conditions liked staff energy, patient happiness, etc. is done via a few menus deep, toggled via R1 and then activated. The game reverts to normal view once you’re out of this menu but versus the Numpad shortcuts on PC, this is definitely a bit more tedious.
Ultimately, its a nice port and is actually well-executed despite the challenges of the control and target player-base, varying heavily. For those that want a slow, chill game, Two Point Hospital can adapt to that pace as well as speed it up for those that want to breeze through the campaign and then screw around with the patients in the post-campaign when you’re making money.
Speaking from a purely port-execution perspective, there’s really nothing lost in the transition and as I’ve been more of a PS4 gamer in the past year than PC, and its a nice way to rediscover this game.
If you’re a newcomer to Two Point Hospital, it’s a perfect simulation game that can definitely give a nice level of enjoyment especially if you appreciate its humor but the challenge will always be there but its under your control.
Two Point Hospital for the Playstation 4 is a great example of a great control layout of PC-to-console conversion and with the game being as great as it is, there’s really nothing more to say.