Two Point Hospital Gameplay: Dirty Docs, Murky Morals And 4 Features You’ll Love

In one room a man has his head stuck in a
saucepan, so it’s lucky we have a giant magnet ready to pluck it off. And out in reception the lounge is flooded
with Freddie Mercury impersonators – they’re suffering a bad case of Mock Star, you see. They Wanna Break Free from this affliction,
and that task is down to you. All this is a pretty quiet day in the world
of Two Point Hospital – a spiritual successor to 1997’s Theme Hospital, created by many
people who worked on that game back when Bullfrog Productions was still a thing. 21 years later and they’re back in the operating
room, but this is more than simple sequel. Let’s take a look at how Two Point Hospital
is much more than Theme Hospital 2. Having played the first three hours of the
campaign what really jumps out at me is the sense of progression and shape – it’s really
easy for management games to hand you a set of tools and leave you to build a succession
of successful businesses. Two Point Hospital does boil down to building
lots of rich hospitals, but each new location introduces a quirk or two to push your thinking
in a new direction. When you arrive in Lower Bullocks, for example,
they’ve had a outbreak of Mock Star, so your aim is to invest in the psychiatry department,
hiring staff with a background in therapy before your hospital is overrun with flamboyant
pop star wannabes. Later you’re trying to set up a business
in a teaching hospital, where the staff are junior and undertrained, forcing you to put
them through the training process to build a workforce that can actually handle machinery
without killing the patients. Which is generally a good thing. Now you’re trying to juggle staff who need
to be removed from their duties for study time, but without just hiring a swarm of fresh
idiots to clog up place. Much later you’ll visit the hotter climate
of Sweaty Palms – ho ho – where you’re suddenly having to focus your efforts on keeping the
hospital cool with efficient aircon placement, before the heat encourages the spread of disease. You’re still spinning the same plates as
before, but now you’re playing with heat maps and trying to design rooms and layouts
that won’t turn your hospital into an oven. All of a sudden, a load of Freddie Mercury
imitators doesn’t seem so bad. What I love about the mission structure is
that beating the basic hurdles gets your hospital to two stars, where you are free to move on
to the next location in Two Point County. This path eventually branches, letting you
pick the kind of challenge you want to face next. More importantly, you can return to earlier
hospitals with the equipment and knowledge you unlock in later levels, to try and raise
every hospital to a three star level. There’s a much better sense of building
a medical empire, of gaining a foothold with simple operations and then punching everything
up. On the surface there are loads of quality
of life improvements compared to the days of Theme Hospital. Just the act of building a room is highly
pleasurable, as you paint a floorplan into the world and attach furniture and decorations
with a satisfying click. Tick the green arrow and it wobbles into existence,
making real life building look very clumsy by comparison. By making building easy you can focus on more
important work – like playing Tetris with the sofas in the staff room to trick the game
into giving me a high facilities rating. But i’m more interested in what’s going
under the hood – a layer of simulation that didn’t exist in the days of Theme Hospital. There are the obvious systems, like the temperature
heat map or the hunger or thirst of each person, but characters are also governed by unique
traits that can cause strange happenings in the hospital. In our playthrough we hired a receptionist
who was green fingered, meaning they go out of their way to water plants – which gives
the janitors one less distraction when they should be cleaning up piles of puke. Another character might be hangry – meaning
their temper rises as they get hungrier, forcing you to keep them within walking distance of
a vending machine or suffer the consequences. It means characters exist beyond a job title
and qualifications, and creates weird new dilemmas – what do you do with your most experienced
doctor if he refuses to wash his hands after going to the toilet, risking the spread of
infection? And is it worth hiring a relative dunce if
they are a nice person who keeps others happy? Can your hospital afford its very own hype
man, in other words. Even if you don’t dig deep into these traits,
you still get the benefit of them existing – you can sit back and watch characters go
about their business, see who gets on with who and learn their routines. Talking to the developers they mention how
they didn’t like the way people would just fire staff in the original Theme Hospital,
and replace them with those with better stats. The hope is that these new personalities keep
you invested and respectful of your workforce. Though no one is going to judge you for sacking
that gross dude with pee on his hands. One thing that has changed in the real world
in the last twenty years is the heated debate over healthcare and what should and shouldn’t
be taken care of. Two Point Hospital isn’t a explicitly political
game – it exists in a fantasy land that is British in flavour, but one with a largely
private healthcare system – but there is a innate sense of morality baked into the game. As Two Point Studios co-founder Gary Carr
jokes, you are basically farming illnesses and can milk people of cash by keeping them
moving around the system. But your own morality is increasingly put
to the test with the level of control you have over the business end of your hospital. You can adjust the cost of everything from
the treatments to individual vending machines – as anyone who has been to a British hospital
and paid five million pounds for a KitKat will know, this is very true to real life. Will you give people an easy ride or exploit
them when they’re at their most vulnerable? Will you push your staff to breaking point
or increase wages and allow long breaks. All these options are yours. The team tell me about one level later in
the game where you do take over a state hospital, and the focus shifts from making money from
patients to getting everyone healed on a fixed budget. As mentioned earlier, it’s another one of
those campaign twists that takes established mechanics and flips your approach on its head,
but it will be fascinating to see the game step into NHS simulator mode, if only for
a level. Oh, on a related political note – if, like
me, you thought the guy who handles the tutorials was meant to be a riff on Jeremy Corbyn – the
leader of Britain’s Labour party, for any friends across the ocean – then you’re mistaken. Apparently it’s a pure coincidence. Art director Mark Smart tells me he was actually
imagining the Architect from The Matrix films when he created the character. And now I’m imagining a version of The Matrix
with Jeremy Corbyn as the Architect. Let’s move swiftly on. If all that talk of moral hand-wringing gets
you down, I should remind you that the game is mostly daft. Bullfrog and later Lionhead, always brought
a British sensibility to their games, so it’s no surprise that their alumni continue to
do it here. If you take your foot off the pedal and just
allow yourself to watch the hospital you see all kinds of weird stuff, from people randomly
dancing in the corridors to janitors chasing ghosts with vacuum cleaners. At times it’s like looking at an animated
Where’s Wally book. And it’s an effect helped by the increased
numbers of people screen, and the improved variety of character generation. In 1997 the game memory couldn’t handle
female doctors or male nurses, in 2018 it has male and female everything and enough
memory left over to handle a range of randomised moustaches. Then there are the machines that heal people,
from the magnet that yanks pans off heads, to the giant grip that unscrews patients feeling
a bit light-headed. The puns are terrible, but the animations
are good enough to forgive them – it’s hard to stay mad at Chroma-Therapy when you see
the machine spraying paint onto black and white patients. Oh, and a special shout out for the comedy
radio stations, which is the kind of zany British humour that can easily go wrong, but
had me chuckling throughout. I like this one for holistic medicine… And this one for a snack called Cheesy Gubbins. Ah man, now I want some cheesy gubbins. Hopefully that’s given you a good feel for
how Two Point Hospital is shaping up – I enjoyed the few hours I spent with the game, and am
intrigued to see how those later levels build on the earlier ideas. I’m also curious about what horrible puns
lie in wait. We don’t have that long to find out, of
course – the game is out on PC on August 30, though as always, I do recommend waiting for
the Rock Paper Shotgun verdict before diving in. I’ll link to it in the description when
it’s up on the site. If you have any questions about what I saw
in the first few hours, do let me know – i’ll try my best to answer them in the comments. And if you liked this video, why not subscribe
to Rock Paper Shotgun for much more of this kind of thing. A video a day keeps the doctor away, so why
not check out our back catalogue and I’ll hopefully see you soon. Goodbye!

21 thoughts on “Two Point Hospital Gameplay: Dirty Docs, Murky Morals And 4 Features You’ll Love

  1. We've got a new wibbly-wobbly intro animation to match the site redesign. No more having to listen to a stone very slowly grind along the floor.

  2. Hey guys! Probably not the best place for feedback, but I have to say the new page layout is kinda weird.
    That being said, I think I want to take your new logo to dinner.

  3. I'm torn (TORN) between wanting to ask for all the names of the various ailments and waiting to see them myself

  4. The thing I'm most expectant about is the announcement of a larger overarching "Two Point Universe" spanning multiple different games all set within the larger Two Point County and supposedly having some overlapping integration.

  5. 'This time it feels like an actual career, with scenarios such as an outbreak of mockstar or a training hospital where you need to train the doctors up'.. You mean exactly like 2 levels in the original game?

  6. The game looks great but I can't stand that the narrator of this video is hyping up a bunch of features as new and exciting when they were already in the first game!

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