Written by  :  Philip Mathis (7)
Written on  :  Jun 03, 2005
Platform  :  Windows

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A good sequel to the quintessential Business Sim

The Good

A toy rather than a game, you can do just about anything business related--retail, manufacturing, r&d, media ownership, real estate and stock market speculation. You can be the CEO of a one-product firm or a huge conglomerate.

The Bad

In the interests of gameplay, I understand that total realism is impossible; however here are some gripes about unrealism in a few major areas:

1. No taxes are paid by the company on its profits. Like this ever happens.

2. While some products, particularly oil, have alternative uses in real life, in the game you are limited to how you can use them. If you buy an oil well, it's only to produce plastic, and a few other products. There's no getting rich refining it into gasoline.

3. Company stock never splits. What company has stock worth thousands of dollars per share (besides Berkshire Hathaway)? Railroad Tycoon had stock splits, so I'm pretty sure it can be done;

4. This isn't really a complaint about the game as it is, but rather a "wish list" for future installments: The service sector is limited to retail establishments, such as department stores. Since the game is focused on manufactured goods, it would be problematic to allow the player to start up, say, a Big Four Accounting firm; but there doesn't seem to be any reason one can't own gas stations since they could be simply added to the retail store list, and the refinery could be added as a special type of factory.

Also, since your stores and factories can be burnt down or destroyed by earthquakes, you should be able to purchase insurance to rebuild if those events take place.

And again, this game was published just recently, so why is there no mention of the Internet? One of the business units you can build should be a High-tech Networking center that can increase sales or decrease costs in some way.

The Bottom Line

Improved graphics and some streamlining of the interface almost make this a better game that Capitalism Plus, but not quite. Not to say it's a bad game, rather the trade-offs keep the games' enjoyability roughly equal. You can speculate in real estate now, by building apartments or office buildings. You can also buy up newspapers, radio stations, and television studios and run them, although with a lot less involvement than a factory. Also, you can avoid building a company at all, and simply trade the stock market, although your business will never show a "profit", even if you successfully trade into billions of dollars.

The graphics are an improvement, and so is the music, but there are other trade-offs: you are limited to four cities now, and the expanded range of products that you could make in Capitalism Plus has been contracted back down. In Capitalism Plus there were three huge product groups, one of which was strictly food products. Now there are just the basics (Autos, computers, leather wallets, etc.)

It also seems to be easier to be "just a factory". The earlier games almost required you to build a retail store to sell your factory products, whereas now you can just be a manufacturer and other companies will stock your products, if the price and quality is right.

I've even tried (unsuccessfully) being "just an R&D center", researching new products and improving existing ones, while selling the technology to other companies.

Capitalism 2 has a lot of replayability, as did its predecessors, and if you can find a copy, I definitely recommend purchasing.