It isn’t easy to port a game designed for the PC to a console.
I recall in 2003 they ported Rollercoaster Tycoon to Xbox and the game wasn’t a patch on its PC cousin. Hell, even Minecraft, a game which feels suited to a controller, had to make a fair few concessions to port it to console – the PC version is, and looks like it will always be, the better version. Then there’s Industry Giant 2.
When I was told I’d be reviewing this game, I couldn’t work out why it had the same name as a game that was released in 2002. That was because it was the same game. A very unusual choice I thought, and so I was curious to know how exactly this port would play out.
The question is, why Industry Giant 2? Why has this fourteen year old game suddenly and randomly been released for Xbox One and PS4? There are many games from the 2000s that are completely unplayable on PC due to modern operating systems cutting out back door weaknesses created by DRM, which came with a number of these games. I have recently installed The Movies and Scrapland from CD only to find them completely unplayable due to their DRM being unable to work. Industry Giant 2 is also a victim of this, so it has been re-released in order to work with Windows 10. Seems like IG2’s new publishers decided that it they may as well port the games to console while they’re at it, and it looks like they’ve spent perhaps in the region of twenty pounds to make this port work.
The first thing they’ve done is swapped the mouse for the analogue stick. Sounds simple, but anyone who has been a PC gamer and then swapped to a similar game on console will tell you that the analogue stick is far less accurate than a mouse. Just try playing any FPS on PC with a pad and see how badly you get owned.
Problem is, icons are so small you constantly find yourself having to adjust the analogue stick to select anything. That’s another issue, menus. Menus are a big park of games like this, menus and sub-menus are a bit of a curse but it’s not easy to work around, even Planet Coaster and Cities: Skylines have dozens of menus. But Industry Giant 2 is a straight port of the PC game which is extremely dated, meaning that the menus, layout, and general design of the game also looks rather dated. With a game with so many menus, it’s important to find a way to navigate them using a controller: the SNES version of Sim City was released in 1991 and while it was a pretty straight port of the PC edition, it had a custom designed user interface which made it easy to navigate with the SNES controller. If they had spent more time with the port, they would have been able to add features like this which would make the game a lot easier to play.
The game itself is poorly optimised for Xbox One. Graphics are hard to see clearly and also there’s the issue of the text. It’s so small and has a terrible font for viewing from my sofa – it doesn’t take into account that you’re not sat directly in front of a computer screen. I found myself sat two feet from my television on a fold out deck chair squinting at the text, not helped by there being no voice-over, which means that getting up and actually reading the difficult to view text is the only way to do it.
The graphics are quaint and small, but rather nice and charming; the towns themselves bustle with life. The music is pretty standard fare for this type of game from the era it was released. Another slightly odd choice is the tutorial diagrams. While I’ve not seen them in the original game, I find it odd that they’ve chosen to use what looks like Microsoft Paint to draw diagrams on the tutorial’s example screenshots. Even if this was in the original, seems like an odd choice in a fully fledged retail title.
The core game is actually pretty good. Simply put, it’s build the products, ship the products, sell the products. While I like tycoon style games, I didn’t enjoy Industry Giant 2 as much as I thought I might. Perhaps if I’d played this back in the day I’d have liked it more, as I rather liked Transport Tycoon and Locomotion. However, it is true that Industry Giant 2 is a different game to either Transport Tycoon and Locomotion, it plays differently so it’s not quite fair to compare them. But I think I would’ve enjoyed the game much more if I’d been playing on the PC, but the poor port really made it difficult to play, let alone enjoy.
IG2 is dated and that can detract from the game a touch, but it’s still a deep management game that fans of the genre will love – newcomers may struggle to get into it, though. It’s nice to see this sort of game getting a console release, but it’s just a shame that it didn’t quite work and a classic game like this deserves to have more attention given to it rather than just a lazy port.
If I were playing this game on a PC then we’d be looking at a 7/10, but despite the fact that Industry Giant 2 is a good, if dated game, the port is so very poor that it at best struggles to do the game justice, and at worst, is a chore to play.