SimCity – Review

SimCity sees a reboot after 10 yrs since the release of SimCity 4, but I don’t think that applied to the servers.

SimCity releases under much of the same criticism Diablo 3 took when they released an online only video game and once again we see a franchise fall hard on their decision to do so on launch day. However, we were still lucky enough to get plenty of hands on time prior to the server debacle. Once you get through the server experience we think you will actually enjoy this title!

SimCity Screen 1

You immediately are given access to the tutorial which will give you a great run through if you haven’t played a SimCity game before. It walks you through the importance of zoning, frieght and most importantly energy, water and waste management. All these skills will be important for you to conquor your city!

The game starts you off with a nice budget of 50K, you are given a plot of land within a region and are expected to grow it into a metropolis. The game quickly gets you into the action and allows you to build your city as you see fit. The only problem is….you better make sure you have a plan!

The game challenges players and leads them into an unforgiving black hole immediately at the start of the game without the player realizing they have just been taken advantage of. The game’s unforgiving non-ability to upgrade streets to avenues could be the most costly mistake to a player, the biggest problem, when the player finally realizes they need avenues, the city has grown beyond repair and “plops” (buildings you specifically pay for and “plop” down) have been established…..the player will be required to tear it all down to upgrade their streets to avenues…..Unless they knew this going in and prepared accordingly!!!! Personally this is a huge downfall to the make up of the game, you aren’t suppose to build a game knowing there are knowledgeable players out there, you have to cater to the new players as well. This minor detail could turn out to be a huge hinderance. Secondly the ability to connect roads to each other is still clunky and more often than not you are told you can’t lay a road down because a building is laid there, but yet I unzoned the area and bulldozed everything in the way…..hmmm….

SimCity Screen 2

After you get through the short comings of road construction, the game has a ton of meat to it. The ability to upgrade buildings you buy (“plops”) is pretty extensive. You can add incinerators to improve your local waste management facilty to burn off the garbage quicker, or you can add filtration tanks to your water pump stations, you can even build a sewage processing facility to pump and clean Sim crap! How awesome is that…..uh wait…I mean……you get the idea.

If your strategy for city domination works out, you can see your city blossum and grow into a HUGE metropolis in no time. Skyscrapers will line your skyline and region domination is at your finger tips.

The cool new feature to SimCity is that each city will have the ability to take on a specialization. The specializations are as follows:

  1. Mining (Ore or Coal)
  2. Drilling (Oil)
  3. Trading
  4. Electronics
  5. Culture
  6. Gambling
  7. Education

SimCity Screen 3

You can purely go one specialization or mix and match to your liking. Choosing to specialize your city will have lasting affects on both the city and the region you are a part of. Combining specializations is particularly advantageous. For example, a region with both a casino to bankroll its operations, and coal deposits to provide mass power, together offer enough Simoleons and energy for the entire region. Another cool feature of the game is that as you invest your city’s resources in a specific industry, the look of the surrounding areas will begin to take on the appearance of your new specialization. If you build a coal mine you will see coal breakers and factories pop up in the industrial district. Building a casino can make surrounding houses become high-end condos, and the commercial businesses become brightly lit tourist spots and hotels. Plop a university and residences will transform into frat houses filled with partying Sims.

The depth of the experience is what you want to put into it. If you want to invest time you can build a huge money making kingdom, if you want to build a nice little coal mining town you can do that too, it is all in what your imagination brings to the table.

With the idea of regions now, you are limited in your city’s growth, but with 16 plots in some of the regions, expanding to new territories will be easy. You can also share resources with each city and have them working as one. Although it would be nice to see EA expand in the future the area allowed for building.

SimCity Screen 4

Overall the game is a great experience when you can actually play it. I will never understand how a company can make the decision to create an online only video game and then on lauch day fail miserably on allowing people to play their product, especially after there was an extensive beta experience offered. Using the excuses that “we had no idea this many people were going to buy the game” is a simple cop out and trying to turn the situation on the overwhelming support by the fans.

If you have the patience to wait for EA to iron out their server mess, then this game is certainly worth it! Will it be the game that makes you not play any others, no.

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However, it is a game when you want to just chill and relax, you can share some laughs and get lost in another world……and who knows maybe rein some terror and call in a Giant Lizard attack, that is always fun right?

Rating Breakdown:

*Note – singleplayer rating was reduced because of the online only feature of the game. We feel a singleplayer experience should never be compromised regardless of someone’s internet connection.

Singleplayer: [xrr rating=6/10]
Multiplayer: [xrr rating=8/10]
Replayability: [xrr rating=6/10]
Graphics: [xrr rating=7/10]
Sound Effects: [xrr rating=6/10]

 

 

 

 

 

Game Details:

Developer: Maxis
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Reviewed Platform: PC

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