• Industry Giant 2 Review, by Rick Moscatello

    Let the dinosaur die.


    So here I am reviewing a game from 2002. I’m not even going to try to stay focused on the game, because look back that far, it’s impossible not to consider that many other games that have come out in that kind of time.

    Why am I looking at Industry Giant 2, a game that first came out 13 years ago? Because it reaches for a few things I like, and, somehow, I totally missed it when I was about 50 pounds lighter (i.e., 13 years ago…I really gotta cut back on the Klondike bars), and when it was re-mastered three years ago.

    I’ve always been a fan of business sims…not that I’ve particularly liked any of them. Most tend towards humor, which is fine for a little while, but jokes wear thin in games, where they can come up dozens of times in an hour.

    I also like train games. Industry Giant 2 uses the same engine as Transport Giant, another dinosaur. Transport Giant has you building all sorts of machines, from ox carts to jets, to transport things all over the map. It’s not a great game, but as a sandbox toy, it’s a great deal of fun, especially building ridiculously complicated train track systems all across the map.

    So, Industry Giant 2 uses an engine I like and is a genre I like, so I have to give it a whirl despite the age.

    Yes, this dinosaur has dinosaurs in it.

    The game runs very smoothly, even with many animations running at once. Many ancient games just don’t work as well as they used to, but this game runs great, and even looks great, I can’t fault the graphics at all.

    Unfortunately, everything else about the game falls flat. Transport Giant is a weak transportation sim, but it’s a great “build a train set” sim. Industry Giant 2 is a weak business sim, with nothing else going for it.

    Heck, this isn’t even a business sim.

    Behold your empire's theoretical maximum!

    Industry Giant 2 is a supply chain management sim. There are loads of maps and plenty of scenarios to choose, but things play out the same every time. First, you look for raw materials to plunder from the countryside, and build a resource gathering building (eg, a logging camp). Then you build a place for the resource gatherer to store the resources (a warehouse, but the game calls it a “storage space”—the many generic names don’t help). Then you build something that can use the resource (a sawmill). Then you build something that can refine the resource, hopefully drawing from the same warehouse (a furniture factory, but the game calls the building a “furniture industry”). Finally, you build a store in town that can sell the finished resource (a furniture store).

    You can build quite a few other supply chains, but it’s all the same. Getting everything to draw off the same warehouse can be tough, however, especially as the map runs dry of resources or when you want to sell in other towns. And, hey, look, the trains are back! Boats and planes too (no reason to waste the graphics from Transport Giant, after all). You can set up routes to haul supplies from one warehouse to another, but it’s a very limited affair, with nothing to offer fans of train simulations.

    Another town to bring under my thumb.

    The fun of the game, such as it is, is micromanaging every aspect of the supply chain. Too much lumber being cut down, filling up the warehouse? Well, then, cut back production of the lumber. More demand for furniture than what you’re providing? Upgrade your factory production. Screw any of it up, and your whole supply chain can lock up, although after a while you get the idea to just start slow and ratchet up.

    Great graphics and a functional game were probably good enough for 2002, but nowadays a good sim in this genre needs to have a bit of depth. Research and development (better furniture!), personnel (better production!), random events (tree shortage!) are all things that are pretty much mandatory for these games nowadays…and I don’t think any/all of these would turn this into a top title, since there’s also the issue that you only play on relatively small maps, with perhaps a dozen towns. It’s hard to feel like an industry giant when your whole empire serves a few hundred thousand people at best, and fits well within most state lines.

    If you’re looking for a cheap thrill, Capitalism 2 does most everything better (except no trains and overall weaker graphics…but most folks don’t play business sims for those anyway), and sells for about as little as Industry Giant II. On the other hand, Transport Giant also sells for almost nothing, and is a superior train sim than Sid Meier’s Railroads (although perhaps not as good as Railroad Tycoon III).
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Industry Giant 2 Review, by Rick Moscatello started by Doom View original post