I booted up my PlayStation 4 eager to try out the HD Remake of the original constructor, which was developed by System 3 and published by Acclaim Entertainment, Constructor made it’s first appearance back in 1997 for PC, before being ported onto a real conso…. I mean, home consoles such as the PlayStation.
I ventured into the tutorial first to better acquaint myself with the controls and workings of the game, as I had not played this type of setup since the glory days of command and conquer which I enjoyed very much. Now, the tutorial was very helpful in showing off the basics, one thing that I had noticed however was the sheer number of mini menus with regards to things like types of houses, amount of money, workers, tenants, lumber yards. If, like me, you’re unfamiliar with RTS’, It may be slightly bit overwhelming.
Having built my first house and moved in a set of tenants I began to get a feel for the game and slowly got more accustomed to the controls and layout, with this new-found confidence I delved into story mode. after what seemed like a lifetime I had successfully built a house and had real tenants, so all is well, or at least it seemed.
The first hurdle I encountered was when a fire broke out at my lumber yard, which I had no idea how to put out as the game thought virtual firefighting wasn’t a necessary skill, but never the less I got the fire put out, but this was just the tip of the shit covered iceberg. My tenants soon became angry at the noise of the lumber yard, obviously they thought they had moved in beside one of those silent lumber yards, but I thought “okay I shall improve their house to keep them happy” (Am I not the best landlord).
No sooner had I finished upgrading the kitchen and the bedroom before I was assaulted with another group of warning icons telling me the kitchen was on fire, and then of course a house exploded and left 2 workers and a foreman dead, because we apparently insulate our houses with plastic explosives!
The more I advanced through the game, the more the petty little niggles became more inconvenient and harder to overlook. I never got to enjoy the fruits of my labour, the game was always nagging me to fix, repair or build something, like an annoying child whining for ice-cream. The game play makes you feel like you are playing for the sake of it and not because you want to progress.
The camera in the game can be quite annoying as there is just the standard up down left right, with no free camera to speak of, which can make moving across the map difficult and annoying, certainly not something I would have expected in a HD remake. You could argue it’s because it’s a controller rather than a mouse, but XCOM managed to work around that issue.
The restrictions placed on the player strips the fun away, we are given the whole crime meets construction vibe from the intro animation, but from the hours I have sunk into this game it just feels like a 2nd job! I’m always paying bills, sorting tenant’s constant issues, redecorating houses, or pass council inspections and I can assure you, none of the above was fun or enjoyable at any point.
How It Looks
The graphics are well presented and colourful, and a surprising amount of effort has gone into the small details of the game. Like the worker’s outfits, which are all well designed and detailed or the different bushes & hedges you can plant. The surrounding environments like hillsides, roads and fields all look nice and detailed, and they are laid out how you would expect them to be laid out in real life, unlike in sim city where you would see a power-plant next to a playground, so there is a nice blend of all the environments but it is a shame the contents of the world don’t seem to blend together.(What town doesn’t need a light house?)
Maybe I am not cut out for the world of construction and criminal activity, to be honest I’m glad I’m not, as it would have meant more time wasted on this game. I never feel like I could command and conquer my criminal empire, instead I felt like a point and click man who’s only job was to get through the game with as little headaches as possible and even that was no easy task.
A HD construction of a game from days gone by, but after my inspection I would deem this unfit for purpose in the modern day.