Date Posted: 26/04/20
Originally released in 2018 for the PC Two Point Hospital received a console release in Feb 2020, and it is the PS4 version that I played. The game could almost be considered an update to Theme Hospital which was released by Electronic Arts (who go by EA now) for PC in 1997.
Generally I would give a short intro to the article before giving a brief run through of the plot, sadly with Two Point Hospital, there basically isn’t one. You play the omnipresent Hospital Administrator and your task is to manage a hospital by building various diagnosis and treatment rooms to cure a variety of NPCs. The more patients you treat the more money you earn, but you also have to micro-manage the look of the hospital, spearhead different research projects, and train up your staff to become more specialised in different areas. You also need to not just mange your staff needs by building a staff room, but also make sure you have toilets, bins, heating if the hospital is cold, and facilities that enable the patients to eat, drink and be entertained whilst they are waiting
From the basic description above you may be thinking that this game sounds like it might be rather boring but it is incredibly absorbing. Similarly to my Minecraft review the best way to describe the game is to discuss the first few hours that I spent with it.
So I was given an empty room and in the tutorial level you are basically given instructions on how to build different rooms. The GP office is the first that you need. The bigger the room or the more aesthetically pleasing you make it, the higher the level of the room becomes. Naturally you then need to employ a GP, the pool of potential staff have various skills and you need to have one with diagnosis ability in order to correctly determine what aliment is affecting your patient. Then you need to build treatment rooms like a pharmacy, or a ward and again employ the best staff for the job.
In my first hospital, because the tools at my disposal were limited, I had a GP room, a pharmacy, a ward. Then as time went on and my hospital got busier I built additional rooms and hired more staff. As you move to new hospitals in new locations your doctors diagnose different illnesses that require new methods of treatment.
The goal is to get your hospital up to 3-Stars, but once it hits 1-Star you can unlock the next hospital so can return to the world map to move on. However you unlock more equipment and upgrades if you remain in the same location to continue building up your hospital.
The hospitals are made up of different plots, you get one to begin with then can buy more as your hospital expands, and you need more facilities. The plots tend to be relatively cheap so it is not difficult to select a new one and start putting in additional rooms to treat you ever growing patient base.
I quickly got into the swing of things and whilst it was taking a few hours per hospital I was hitting that 3-Star rating then moving on.
I only really began to encounter problems (problems of my own making) when I moved to a hospital in which the only staff were student doctors so had no qualifications. Therefore my cure rate was down until I was able to build a training room to train my staff up. The more desks in a training room the more staff can be trained at any one time. This hospital was also going to be my main research facility as you can return to previous hospitals to research new illnesses discovered in different regions. I had over $500,000 so decided to build loads of research rooms, train up a bunch of doctors to just do research, and constructed three new training rooms that could teach up to six people at once...by the time I had done this I was down to very little money. The problem that I had created was that I was paying my staff way more than I was getting from treating patients. Whilst I had been focussed on building my research wing I had failed to notice that my hospital was being swamped with people and the nine, yes NINE, GPs I had were just overwhelmed. I had numerous treatment rooms but the patients were not being cured fast enough so my expenses were higher than my income. I was forced to shut down four of my research rooms, and sell the other four. Plus shut down three of my shiny new training rooms, then fire some of the researchers I had trained, which did the trick so my income was higher again. My point is, don’t get over confident because the money can vanish a hell of a lot faster than it took you to earn it!!
The game is not as simple as it initially seems.
The hospital has different procedures in place, which can be changed, but initially patients may not be treated unless the doctors have an 80% certainty of diagnosis. You can lower this all the way down to 0% if you want but that runs the risk of patients dying or treatment failing if they have not been correctly diagnosed. You can overview you staff’s skills and assign them to different roles. Putting someone who had diagnosis in a treatment room is likely to result in failed treatments because that person is not trained to work the machine necessary to cure the patient. You have to manage who you set to do what, and whilst you can controls who goes on breaks and when, I haven’t quite found out where the controls to do that are yet.
As a side point, don’t worry though you aren’t going to be dealing with any real life conditions, no one is going to come through your door suffering from leukaemia or going through a miscarriage. You deal with things like Lightheaded-ness, people suffering from this have a light bulb instead of a head, and you treat them by unscrewing the bulb, and crafting them a new head (I am not kidding). Other conditions include panhead, in which people have pans stuck on their heads and to need to use a big magnet to remove it. The style of the graphics are very cartoony so there are no blood and guts otherwise this could have been a very bleak experience.
In addition to dealing with your inflow of patients, and staff requirements you are also given tasks by different staff. Things like build a Level 4 room, or cure 20 patients, or whatever. In general you have 90 days to complete these tasks and will be granted rewards if you succeed.
To keep things from getting dull you will have to deal with emergencies so will be warned that an influx of people are going to be coming in who need specific treatments. You can decline if you wish but if you have the facilities to cure everyone then you get the bonus, if you fail then you get nothing. You can also send patients home if you have no means of treating them or they are diagnosed with a new condition before you have a means of treating it.
I have watched Jane from Outside Xbox doing several live streams so know quite a bit about how to play the game from watching her. However, there is a guy who pops up to give you different tips on how to play and warns you if you are low on funds or if staff are idle. I wasn’t aware that patients are sent for diagnosis and then returned to the GP office for final diagnosis before being treated which could have accounted for why there queues outside the GP offices were so huge.
My biggest problem with this game is by far the text screens. I have got pretty good eye sight, and yet I struggle to read the text onscreen unless I sit about three feet from the screen. I play games on a decent size view screen, a screen that can pick up the individual particles when viewing nebulas, and yet unless my nose is pressed against it I cannot read the tips and tasks that I am being given. I encountered this problem before when playing Dead Rising and thus far I have not figured out a way to make the font bigger or change the contrast to make it easier to see.
I think that the controls are a little jerky because they were originally designed to be used with a mouse and keyboard. There are weird mono-brow creatures that you have to shoot with a target reticule, but the amounts of times that I have been aiming at one and clicked on it only for the game to jump to the nearest room or person has become too many to count. I find it very difficult to do precise movements using the game controller’s analogue sticks which can get a little irritating. It is only irritating at the moment; thus far I generally don’t need to do anything so precise (with the exception so far being shooting mono-brows) that it has become frustrating as I am fighting with the game itself.
I have also had problems with some of the NPCs AI, for example in my research hospital; I built a massive room of toilets in my second plot, which I figured would serve the needs of everyone in the hospital. But messages kept popping up telling me that patients were desperate for the toilet, why the hell weren’t they going to the toilets I built??? I wonder if perhaps you need toilets to be in each plot or maybe if people are queuing they don’t want to leave to spend a penny or something??? I’ll figure it would and find that sweet spot between toilet requirements and the location of toilets within my hospital. I have to admit it is kind-of funny to watch NPCs racing to the toilet clutching their bums as though they have a turtlehead poking out.
Emails will pop up giving you info on new illnesses, visiting VIPs, emergencies and so on, I haven’t found a way to flick through the messages. I have had instances when I have been issued a challenge like Promote 3 Staff but it is at the bottom of a pile of emails some of which have been telling me that staff have completed training and are ready for promotion. If I had been able to access the email issuing the challenge I could have done it immediately rather than promote staff, then get the challenge, then have to train and promote yet more staff.
The AI might be a bit limited for staff as well, as I have had janitors standing next to a burning piece of hospital equipment, watering a plant, because I did not specifically tell them to out the fire out. It is at least better than the jeeps in Jurassic World Evolution which would drive past gaps in the fences because I hadn’t told them to fix it. Janitors can also be given specific tasks like just unblocking toilets and ignoring everything else so perhaps the janitor in question was only tasked with watering plants which is why he ignored the blazing inferno happening nearby.
Like I said the game is not as straight forward as you think it is.
The reason that this is an initial impressions rather than a full review is simply because I haven’t had much time with the game yet, but it is a game that I wanted to talk about. I imagine that as I proceed through the game there will be more to discuss as illnesses become more varied.
The game seems to have been heavily influenced by Theme Hospital which was a game I played back in the day. Naturally with the graphical improvements and technological capabilities Two Point Hospital is a hell of a lot more varied than Theme Hospital was capable of being. It does strike me as a game that is like Jurassic World Evolution, when there were goals to accomplish like finding all of the genes to make the different dinosaurs, completing the departments missions and so on, I played the game into the small hours of the morning, often long after telling myself I would stop. Since completing those goals I have not returned to Jurassic World since. I think Two Point Hospital might suffer the same fate, I will be absorbed by it, but once I hit those 3-Star ratings I may lose interest in the game, never to return to it again. Still for the moment, I am enjoying it, and if I have anything more to add I will post it in an Update.
I will hold off my Thumb and Number rating for the moment until I have spent a bit more time getting to grips with the game’s different mechanics and the new illnesses that are sure to pop up as I play. Plus as my experience with Shadow of War taught me, I shouldn’t be premature when rating something that I have not yet finished or played until I decide I don’t want to play anymore.
Date Posted: 10/05/20
I have continued to play through this hospital management game and there are a few more things that I wish to discuss. There are going to be some negatives that I have encountered which I did not discuss in my original article, however some of the things that I discussed in my first article I have since figured out so I am going to talk about those too.
As I said originally once you hit 1-Star you are free to move to a different location, but me being me, I have been staying put until I hit 3-Stars. Aside from being a bit OCD there is a reason for doing this. Generally you unlock new items and equipment by remaining in one place and continuing to level up that hospital. Some of the requirements for getting your Stars can be pretty difficult and/or annoying. I was playing the game the other night and needed to cure a certain number of people in my recently unlocked Surgery, however, the patients that were coming in did not require surgery. As a result I was stuck at 0-Stars for quite a while before a Surgery emergency happened which finally got me to that first star. Generally the requirements can be fulfilled by actively doing something, one of my hospitals needed to have the machines upgraded, I was able to do that once I had the money but if I am reliant on certain patients to come in then you might end up trapped in limbo awaiting patients coming in.
There is a Marketing room that I have unlocked and you use it to generate increased business for the hospital, I have used it to promote various rooms that I have built like Lightheaded-ness and have had an influx of patients. However, it didn’t seem to work when I tried to promote my surgery.
As of yet I haven’t found a way to limit the amount of people coming into the hospital, there are menus which are quite in depth which give you plenty of information (which I will talk more about later) however you cannot cap the amount of people being allowed in. I have ended up with queues 20 people deep at my GP rooms and simply cannot diagnose and treat them fast enough. Generally I end up having to build half a dozen, at least, GP rooms to try and stay ahead of the flow of people. Leading on from that I haven’t yet discovered if there is a means of controlling where people go for diagnosis. In one hospital I had a M.E.G.A scanner which is very useful to diagnose patients, sadly everyone seemed to head straight for it the moment they are through the door. Sometimes there are people that have no visible signs of illness so they need the scan, however, if someone comes in with a plaster cast on them, then they obviously need to go to the Fracture Ward. I initially had no idea why they are standing outside the M.E.G.A scanner when a janitor could give them directions to the appropriate place. I later discovered that whilst I can recognise what is wrong with a patient you need different diagnosis rooms for the in-game staff to determine what is wrong. The more diagnosis rooms you have then the more separated that patients needing diagnosis will go, if you have a GP office and a M.E.G.A scan then everyone is going to flock to it. If you have General Diagnosis, Cardiology, and Fluid Analysis as well as a M.E.G.A scanner then patients will be dispersed amongst the different rooms. In some cases rooms can do more than one task, the Ward for example can both diagnose and treatment. What you need to bear in mind though is that should you have an emergency for your DNA lab then it is a good idea to switch it to Treatment only if you are hoping to get the patients cured before the timer runs out.
You can kick patients out of the hospital in a menu or individually and can send them home if you want, and there are sometimes options to send them for treatment. Patients suffering from Saturday Night Fever are dressed like John Travolta and Mock Star who look like Freddy Mercury need Psychiatry. In those cases though I don’t understand why the donkey bolloking hell they wander off to get an X-Ray or something when all they need to do is go to the GP who can send them to one of the Psychiatry rooms??? I have started culling people with low health because chances are they will die before they are diagnosed and treated and sending people home on masse just to keep ahead of the relentless queues of people coming in. If someone has low health they will probably drop dead before they get cured which affects your Hospital Rating so it is better to kick them out to die on the curb least they expire in the hospital and end up haunting the place.
I do like the fact that certain rooms can be set to Diagnose and/or Treatment. As I said above the Ward can be both, so can the DNA lab, as well as Psychiatry. However, you can choose to set them to only do one of those things. If you have an Emergency and need people cured in the Ward then set it to Treatment only. Likewise rooms like the Ward and Fracture Ward can be set to have more than one staff member in them at any one time. You can therefore populate some rooms with additional personnel should it be required to manage the patients.
I initially thought that you had to cure 100% of the people during these emergency situations, however that was incorrect. As long as you cure 50% or more you get the rewards, prestige and so on. What I do find irritating is that generally 7 people will arrive for an Emergency and usually I am able to cure 5 or 6 of them, but for some strange reason treatments can fail, and no reason is given why. When I thought I needed 100% it was very aggravating to watch one patient’s treatments fail when the same doctor using the same equipment has just cured the previous patients.
The Hospital announcer will give constant generally sarcastic or passive aggressive updates regarding what is happening in the hospital, commenting on the presents of ghosts, if people are peeing on the floors and the amount of litter. The litter is probably my favourite as she apologises for the litter that you [the patients] dropped on the floors. You are well advised to listen out for some of the things she says as she will mention machines that need repair or maintenance. Janitors will repair machines without you directly telling them to do so but they will only make it a priority if you select the machine and order a janitor to fix it. Bizarrely though even if a machine is sparking, the staff do not stop using it. This can (and will) result in the machine catching fire and if not extinguished promptly, exploding. The game’s Limited AI is pretty irritating because often I need to shut a room down to prevent staff using it for fear that it will catch fire or explode. If there is a way to prevent staff using a machine that is sparking then as of yet I have not found it.
I said that you can buy new lots to expand your hospital and indeed you can, however, I have found a lot of those plots to be pretty small and poky. Some of the machines need large rooms to store them, and personally I like to have everything of the same type next to each other. This is again down to my OCD but also because as mentioned above if a machine is on fire, then I need to know where it is so I can make sure it is being extinguished. If different machines are in different lots all over the place then I struggle to find it unless I pause the game. I like to keep rooms of a certain type together but that can prove to be difficult if the different lots can’t really house any larger rooms. I don’t know if this is a feature designed to make players focus on certain rooms and not just put every room they possibly can build in their hospital.
I mentioned a hospital in the last article that I was planning on building a Research hospital but ran out of money so had to sell rooms and fire staff. However, that hospital now has over $4,000,000 and has numerous research labs. This enables me to start in one location, as far as I know you still have to have a research room, but can then return to my research hospital and do everything there. It is a great mechanic and I have used this technique to unlock all off the upgrades for new equipment. It links the hospitals together and makes you feel like you are indeed the administrator of a vast hospital empire, sadly you can’t loan money between hospitals, but this would have made things to easy so I understand why the game doesn’t let you do that.
The game probably told me but due to how small the font is I missed it, so I stumbled across the different Overview menus. From these menus you can change hospital policy, from things like the percentage of diagnosis before someone is sent for treatment to whether they have to return to the GP for final diagnosis before treatment gets under way. From this menu, you can also manage how many staff are allowed to go on breaks at the same time so you don’t end up with lots of staff on breaks when you need them to be seeing patients.
The staff also have different abilities and can be selected to do specific tasks or limited to certain tasks. For example if you have a doctor that has a DNA qualification then you could set them to only work in the DNA lab. So unless they are on a break they will be tending that particular room ignoring everything else. This can be very useful if you need staff to remain in one place and not wander off to different rooms when they are called by the announcer.
One final point is that different hospitals need different things. I quickly got into the habit of building a pharmacy and a few key rooms but in one of my hospitals I didn’t need a pharmacy so the one I built was a waste of money. Perhaps in some ways I am missing the point and trying to put all the fancy equipment down before I need it at the cost of the lower value rooms that would actually be of more use at the earlier stage of the different hospitals.
There are some frustrations and whilst I am still playing I am happy to give the game a rating, I am giving it a Thumbs Up because it is a game that I am enjoying playing. The challenges keep it from getting dull and I have learned a few tricks which are helping me to gain different items and unlock upgrades. I might need to downsize some of my departments and perhaps only build the M.E.G.A scanner if I am rolling on money or if the game tells me that I really need one.
7.5/10 – The game has its frustrations but generally it is quite fun to do. New equipment and items are being unlocked the more I play it and I am still discovering new diseases. I will continue playing and add additional info to this page if it is necessary.
Date Posted: 11/04/21
Released in March 2021, the Jumbo Edition includes all of the DLC released for the game which includes the retro, exhibition as well as R.E.M.I.X 1 & 2 features. The version of the game that I have included the Bigfoot and Pebberley Island expansions so I didn’t reap the full benefits of the Edition, as it only added Off the Grid and Close Encounters.
The reason that this is a Part 1 is because at time of writing I have reached the final hospital location of Close Encounters but have not had the time to 3-Star everything just yet. I have fully completed the first two locations, and have gotten a 1-Star hospital in the final location but that level is still a work in progress. I haven’t had a chance to play the R.E.M.I.X levels either so additional Part reviews of this DLC may follow.
One of the reasons that I like Two Point Hospital is because it is generally a pretty relaxed experience. Running a hospital in which you cure funny illnesses based upon puns is usually a nice way to while away a few carefree hours. Those were my memories of the base game and that’s why I downloaded the Jumbo Edition even though I was only going to be getting two additional pieces of DLC. However, thus far the DLC has proven to be a bit more irritating that I recalled the base game being.
Generally the structure of the game is based upon starting in a new location, and you have certain criteria that you must complete in order to become a 1-Star hospital, once you hit that rating, new challenges for 2-Star appear and finally the last set of criteria to get 3-Stars. It is a winning structure which allows you to work through the challenges at your own pace building up the hospital slowly, to the point where by the time you hit 2-Stars your hospital is virtually self-sufficient. At this point you basically just micro-manage bits and pieces whilst things run themselves.
In the first location of Close Encounters this formula remained the same, one of the criteria was unlocking plots which could only be done by clicking on the plot to begin working on its criteria. I did not realise that to begin with so was working towards the plot objectives without the plot actually unlocking. Once I realised though it was relavively simple to work through the objectives, click off the criteria until I had unlocked the 3-Star rating and then I moved on.
The second location shook up the formula and opted to go for a Wave system, in which you get a certain number of patients arriving all at once instead of things starting off slowly and you building up the hospital as the demand for new diagnostic and treatment rooms steadily. This wave system was in the Pebberley Island DLC and I wasn’t especially keen on it then, I was able to beat the level but I did have to restart. The way I broke the back of the challenge was to build two research rooms and trained 4 doctors from no skills to five research slots each, (each slot allowed them to research faster) and basically just had them researching money all the time. One could generate $35,000 and the other $45,000. The reason I did this was because the hospital raked in money during the waves but lost money rapidly as the last dregs of the waves were treated before the next wave appeared. The difference between the Pebberley Island level and the one in Close Encounters was that in the former the waves increased in number starting with 15, then 20, then 25, and so on until you were dealing with waves 150 strong. In Close Encounters the waves vary in number so you might be dealing with a 100-odd patients in one wave, and then 5 (yep 5) in another. It basically made trying to keep on top of things a lot harder than it needed to be. However, as I had done a wave level before I did the same thing as I did then and built two research rooms as quickly as I could and trained doctors in research. I set them to only do research so by the time I was at the 2-Star going for 3-Star criteria I was getting $80,000 every few minutes which allowed me to just begin micromanaging as I hit 3-Stars.
Then I moved to the final location...
Now the whole thing with the Close Encounters DLC is that you are building hospitals in and around military bases in which aliens have infiltrated the local population. At the final location you are building a hospital underground at the heart of the military base. This was the level that I have come damn close to rage quitting and starting the level again.
Why you ask?
Let me remind you of a line in the last but one paragraph [ahem] “you are building a hospital underground” and as a result you, like me, may assume that thankfully you aren’t going to have to worry about electrical storms, frogs raining down from the heavens, avalanches, and volcanic activity. Unfortunately you would be wrong. Yes, despite the fact that the hospital is underground you can and will have to deal with all of the above, and all of them can damage your machines. There are weird points in each plot you unlock which I think prevent those things from happening, but it was only several hours into my attempt that I realised this.
I was close to rage quitting was because I had built up a decent hospital with numerous diagnosis and treatments rooms. I was still at the stage when you basically are either in debt or just out of debt to buy new machines before your monthly outgoings hit again, plunging you back into the literal red. Thing is that is what happens when you begin a hospital, you need to spend money, hire staff, build machines and so on in order to get enough money to start making profits. Sadly in this level I was hit by a small earthquake, a volcanic eruption, an electric storm and a massive earthquake all within about 5 minutes. As a result I lost several machines which the janitors simply were unable to fix in the few second respites between these disasters. So hundreds of thousands of dollars of machinery simply exploded and there was absolutely fuck-all I could do about it. I don’t mind a challenge but this felt immensely unfair. Plus the hospital is UNDERGROUND so how the hell does an electrical storm, a rain of frogs, an avalanche or any of the other things that would fall from the sky affect my subterranean facility???
It was infuriating and left me with this expression...
The truth is I still haven’t decided if I am going to restart the level or try to continue with the new machines I have managed to rebuild.
All in all, Close Encounters has not been a DLC that I have been enjoying as much as some of the others. Pebberley Island also had volcanic stuff and earthquakes to worry about but then didn’t usually happen so close to one another that I had been unable to repair my machines in between.
Two Point Hospital is supposed to be a chilled out game which people can play in their downtime. Close Encounters has not been especially chill and once I have completed it, then it might be a while before I return to play the final DLC Off the Grid. If I am working through it to basically just complete it because I have bought it then that is not a great recommendation. I’ll give Close Encounters my Meh rating and leave my Thumb Horizontal.
6/10 – Close Encounters is not the best DLC that Two Point Hospital has produced. If you are buying it as a pack with Bigfoot and Pebberley Island then those do carry this weaker version. If you have the other two (like I did) then I’d miss this one, unless it turns out that Off the Grid is amazing. I’ll play that when I get a chance and let you know if it is worth talking about it.