Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection is definitely a better effort than the first release of the title at the start of the generation though still not entirely where it should be. The game is fine to play, a great title for all ages and offers a variety of modes. They removed the terrible build limit that ruined the original release and threw in a pile of new features. To start things off there's a campaign area where you can work through various goals in multiple zoos across the globe. This is matched by some additional regional campaigns and this provides some decent content.
There's also a challenge mode where you have more precise goals and objectives to complete in order to continue. The final and best part of the game is the sandbox mode. This where you're free to build whatever and just unlock new content the more you level. It would have been nice to see a more traditional option where the game had some money/challenge settings included though if you want to just build a zoo than it's nice for that. Still, it would have been great to see them add some new alternative modes to play as it's essentially the same as the first version. You can also play this game online with friends across either device since it is a Xbox Play Anywhere title.
It's a bright, vibrant world that looks really great with its increased 4k resolution and HDR settings. The game looks fantastic whether you're on console or PC with just basic graphic options on the latter. While playing you can either enjoy a stroll through the park in a third person figure option or with a god overhead mode. When in the regular walk around mode you're able to interact with exhibits, drive vehicles or enjoy some other smaller activities. This is also where Kinect comes in as you can use it to interact with certain parts of the world, it's limited here though for the most part.
When in the overhead mode you're able to build things, adjust settings and basically run the entire park. There are just a pile of things to edit whether that includes adjusting items within a venue, selecting new animals or managing park resources. You can hire staff to help; breed animals, donate animals or clean up poop in exhibits. There certainly is a lot to do and with over two hundred animals this is a very complete package.
It's a solid effort in bringing Zoo Tycoon to a higher standard though very much the game from a few years back. The additional selection of items are appreciated and the removal of the build limit is incredible. It can be fun to play, but it certainly could use some more work to make it a perfect title. It's definitely a solid foundation for hopefully more simulation efforts. The younger audience will particularly enjoy the game and hopefully learn more about the plethora of animals that are present. It's got some great features including the cross-play coop options to play with others online and many upgraded graphical aspects making it look excellent.
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Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection Review on Xbox One X & Windows 10
Review Code Provided by Microsoft