If it weren’t for scientific advancements in medicine, we’d still be dying from cholera, scarlet fever and syphilis. We’d not be able to calm a raging headache or subdue the pain of an aching muscle, and without Calpol our kids would remain the devil incarnate whenever they have as much as a tickly cough or a runny nose. Making people better is big business, and that’s why the huge pharmaceutical companies of the world charge an arm and a leg for the privilege.
Big Pharma lets you build an empire of drugs, focusing on researching new equipment and ingredients and building an efficient production line to earn lots of money in the process. After hours of superfluous tutorials and repetitive gameplay, it didn’t take long before the basics became dull and uninteresting.
In the Marketing and Malpractice DLC, you’re introduced to the corrupt and back-handed tactics companies go through in order to make more money at the expense of the naïve and ill general public. The inclusion of a much more personal element to Big Pharma helps to prolong its appeal and it plays upon your moral compass, even if it is just a game. It’s a shame this DLC wasn’t available at release, but it’s here now and it goes a fair way to improve on Big Pharma’s diminutive appeal.
One of the biggest features in the Marketing and Malpractice DLC is the perks system. Before each game starts you get to choose two perks to help you build your empire. You can choose from 4 to start with, but as you complete specific challenges more will unlock; for every other scenario or custom game you want to play through, these perks will become available. For example, Recycling Expert is one of the perks you can start with, and it allows a 100% return on any equipment you want to sell. When I struggled to turn a profit through poor research, I sold my entire production line and it added some extra funds to the kitty.
Some of the other perks you can unlock will help cater to you depending on how honest you want your company to be. I preferred to choose perks based on how much money I could make regardless of how it affects other people (don’t judge me, it’s just a game). With the Undercutter perk, discounting a product is twice as effective at generating sales, and having the Water off a Duck’s Back perk means a product can’t be banned. There are also perks to improve your research speed, start with more money or more upgrade points, so having these perks makes every new game feel different if you choose to adapt to them, although not every perk I used had as much of an impact as I’d liked.
The Marketing and Malpractice DLC helps to give you more control on the money side of things, and instead of just selling a cure for a set price throughout you can hike the cost of a drug when you know the demand is high and people are in desperate need of it; something as simple as a paracetamol may be in high demand after a tragedy somewhere in the world, and you can use it as an opportunity to charge a fortune for it. You can also undercut a competitor to gain your own company more money at the expense of theirs, adding new ways to play Big Pharma and causing you to be savvy off the production floor as well.
Executives are another new feature and these dodgy fellows will be lifesavers as you play through the game. You can send them off to sweet talk your competitors and even buy them gifts, start awareness campaigns to make the public scared enough to believe they need your drugs and start clinical trials where you can even alter the results. This is where the illegal side of big business plays its part and it helps to make Big Pharma more than just repeating formulas and building more factory space. Speaking of factory space, you’ll need to find more room for some of the DLC’s new equipment, namely the Booster Mixer and Stock Gate as these will help to earn your even more profit.
Big Pharma’s Marketing and Malpractice DLC helps to make the game more interesting. If you’ve spent any time playing Big Pharma, you’ll know there was very little to do after you’d worked out how to gain a profit. Twice Circled has added new machinery, moral choices and monetary control and these embellishments are long overdue. Thankfully this DLC breathes new life into the isometric sim, even if it does so by making you feel really bad about sponging off poorly people.
Adds a new personal approach to playing
Still suffers from repetitive gameplay
Once you’ve played around with the new features it loses appeal