SimCity Review

I like this game, I like this a lot but you shouldn’t buy it, not yet anyway.

Why shouldn’t you buy this game?
As I type this SimCity review out, there is people out there who will only see “authenticating with the game servers.” This is because SimCity needs a constant Internet connection.

….these issues are now fixed…so go and buy it 😀

Maybe you will be lucky, like me and be able to log onto the server you want. It’s a bit of a shock that EA/Maxis didn’t see the demand coming. It’s a highly anticipated title that hit all the right notes leading up to release.

But enough about the loading issues. Let’s take a look at what the game actually is once you get past all that.

This isn’t a proper sequel to SimCity 4. The two games simply cannot be compared; they’re apples and oranges. Instead, SimCity focuses on smaller cities, forgoing the larger sprawl we’ve grown used to. While that may sound off-putting to some, the concept actually works pretty well. We’re connected to a group of cities, ranging anywhere between two and sixteen, in regions. Individual cities are connected to one another, meaning we can share power, water, sewage, health services even our police patrols can be shared.

My first city had to be abandoned as I had called the region ‘Cumbrishire’ a mix of both Yorkshire and Cumbria but the ridiculous word censor turned it into ***** so after a day or so I joined an already established region that someone had advertised on the official SimCity forums. It is going well, better than opening my own region and waiting for it to fill up. I have a decent city which is getting better everyday and there is a few others which seem to be a little better but everyone plays this game differently and thats a good thing. I’m able to use their specialities to my advantage by purchasing goods. In exchange, their Sims visit my city for their commercial needs, or flat out work in my city. Maxis has done an excellent job of creating the feel of a real community here.

There have been some concerns when it comes to how the game’s environment looks. Thankfully, it doesn’t look as jarring as some suspected. You’ll see your neighbouring cities in the background as you build and play. The night skies can look gorgeous as you fill up your regions, especially when you get your great works up and running. Great works are a region-wide goal that people are able to achieve together as they pool resources to create a major airport, space station, or one of various other technological marvels, read more about them here:

If EA knows 1 thing its, take our money. In return we sometimes get rewarded with upset and stress but the game we are playing looks great. Battlefield has the Frostbite engine and SimCity looks great thanks to the Glassbox engine.

The engine makes the city a living, breathing thing. Your sims will go to work, shop, and live. Well, they’ve always done this, but GlassBox allows you to actually see it. You’ll be able to pinpoint traffic jams (there will be a lot of those), track an enormous amount of data such as land value, crime trends, which sims are being educated, and what areas are most likely to expand. For a game that features smaller map sizes, Maxis made up for it with a large amount of data to digest and comprehend. Thankfully, Maxis didn’t change the core gameplay experience, meaning it’s still addictive, it’s still fun, and yes, it’s still frustrating. The minutes spent planning your city will quickly become hours, until you look out the window and wonder where the sun went.

I haven’t had anything to complain about as far as servers go, apart from when I was trying to join a region I was invited to via the EA Forums and the ridiculous censoring. I have mentioned on the EA Help HQ that surely it’s not too much to ask that EA accept there is places with rude words in them, such as Scunthorpe and Cumbria and allow people to use the flag button if they find something offensive. Then EA can email someone say why the name was changed…not just assume that the name is offensive and block it automatically.

They are working on the issues on a 24/7 basis and the servers are becoming more stable so thats great news but if you seriously want to play this game and know that most errors are a thing of the past, then I would give it some more time or if thats not possible just remember that the game still has a few issues and don’t let it stress you out.

Despite all the negative thoughts that have drifted across the internet like some kind of Black Plague, SimCity is a game I absolutely adore. When I’m failing miserably with my city planning, I’m learning how to avoid those same mistakes. There’s no undo button in this game. Everything you do has a consequence.

Ultimately, Maxis set out to create a real living world for players to tinker with. At that, they’ve succeeded. Well, they’ve succeeded whenever the game actually works…

Before I score the game I just want to mention something that I found quite a nice little extra found in the options. You can have filters whilst your playing so that the game can look a little different. These filters are similar to what we have began to see on some photo sharing sites and even some social networks. On the next page you will find will see a gallery of images that I have taken using the various filters. You can even have Tiltshift in the game, this is where you have a set point of the image and everything else around it becomes less focused, so its looks like a toy town perhaps…like this. Head over to page 2 :)

About Stephen Quinn

Born in the 80's, Steve has always been a fan of gaming and his first ever gaming experience was from playing on an Atari 2600 that him and his younger brother got for Christmas. Since then he has owned various consoles and even won a Super Nintendo via a competition held by Odeon Cinema at the launch of Super Mario Bros Movie. Nowadays you'll find him mainly on Xbox Live.