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Published on May 11th, 2013 | by Dembonez19

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Review: SimCity

Review: SimCity Dembonez19

Summary:
Developer: Maxis
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Systems: PC, Mac
Release Date: March 5, 2013

2.5

Mediocre


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)

Hello, mayor. Welcome to your brand new city! It doesn’t look like much now, but that’s where YOU come in. You don’t know where to start? That’s okay. We have hired a team of knowledgeable advisers to help you along the way. Just remember; the final decision is always yours.

SimCity is a game chock full of beautiful, exotic locations. The best part of it is that YOU create the locations and determine how the city will be run! The idea behind creating your own city is knowing exactly what resources are offered to you. Whether your city is full of water, coal, oil, etc. could easily and dramatically sway the direction you want it to go, and if you have neighbors close by, it will determine what would be best in the way of trading.

Neighboring cities are controlled by people just like you, and with a handy message board in the top-right corner of the screen, you are able to communicate with your neighbors to better assess their needs. Anything can be traded or shared in the game not limited to what was already listed. Allowing emergency vehicles to travel from city to city to cut down on crime in neighboring regions not only offer assistance to those who need it, but it rewards the mayor that shipped the vehicles out as well.

On top of various resources, the Town Hall is an integral part of any region. Only one city actually requires a Town Hall and all of the departments for the rest of the region to reap the benefits although it would be wiser to spread the love around. The problem with spreading love is that a lot of players play the game for themselves without offering much help to their neighbors. This isn’t a problem with the game per say, but that does make SimCity much more fun to play with people you get along with and can cooperate with to form a well-oiled region.

The downside to having a Town Hall or City Hall is that protestors never stop coming. As you pass through your city, you will likely hear a ruckus going on constantly where the mayor does his work. The protestors will complain about anything, no matter how minor. They can be ignored, but it is a bit of an annoyance that even though the city is running smoothly, they never seem to go away since they gripe about such minor things.

There are a few downsides to SimCity’s online requirement beyond what was already mentioned. Your play time is at the mercy of the servers, and SimCity had an extremely rough beginning since they were unprepared and underestimated how popular their game would be versus how much traffic their servers could hold. They managed to alleviate some of the strain and also offered a free game download to those who bought the game at a certain time, but the servers can still go out without any warning due to traffic, even now. Luckily, your city saves…always. No matter what you do, nothing will be lost in your city. The downside, of course, is that you would have to wait to play again without having any opportunity to remove yourself from the online servers just to play by yourself.

With saved cities and online play, this means you are unable to destroy your city and start over (without wasting money). All you can do is abandon it and hope someone else picks it up, but your abandoned city will be on the server forever. Lots of abandoned cities populate online because people aren’t really that willing to take over the mayoral duties of a city whose resources have run completely dry or have become established. It is difficult to demolish a city that preexisted and start fresh as well, and with that being said, if you are well into the design of a city and don’t like the direction it’s going, the only truly logical thing to do is to abandon it. This isn’t good because it ends up polluting regions with total lifelessness.

The Great Work location is a cool addition to SimCity that allows the entire region to come together and build one thing that benefits everybody whether they need power, students to fill their classrooms, tourists, etc. Great Works are VERY costly and require a lot of resources. Of course the benefits of having a Great Work (or more) in the region are definitely tempting. The downside is that your region has to cooperate. If only one city is pitching into a Great Work, then their city will be so dried out of resources and money that they can’t really benefit from it. If a region is uncooperative, the Great Work(s) will mostly benefit only those who are new to the region and could use an early boost.

Online play makes up a huge portion of SimCity, but there are many things that occur in your game regardless of online activity. One of those things is that your city’s residents and visitors let you know how you’re doing and propose new goals for the city’s well-being. Some things are just for fun like house parties and fireworks shows. There are others that are proposals to build parks and other things to help the Sims in your city make the best of what’s available. It is a great idea to listen to them because they do provide handy tips along the way, however sometimes it isn’t necessary to follow through with what they want because the budget and space are of great importance also.

Speaking of space, the cities are actually pretty small, and it doesn’t take that long to fill the city completely. Because of this, a lot of planning is involved. The game helps in that respect as roads can be placed along guides to maximize the amount of space needed for residential, commercial, and industrial zones to renovate and expand to fit the overall population of the city. These guides can be turned off, but leaving them on is so helpful because the more people that can fit into the city, the better off financially the city will be.

With roads come traffic, and with the traffic in SimCity comes some pretty terrible drivers. The traffic AI is not the best. For the average residential driver it isn’t a big deal. However, when it comes to emergency vehicles, moving vans, and important trucks, it is important that the AI is on top of things. Many times, that is not the case. Emergency vehicles can oftentimes be seen looping around streets where emergencies are taking place while moving vans and construction trucks could halt construction for days by being stuck in traffic. Four-way stops can turn disastrous when the AI cannot seem to decide whose turn it is to go. Because of this, money is lost in the most frustrating way, and it is especially bad when the road is already as big as it can possibly get.

What would a review of SimCity be without any mention of disasters? The disasters are elements that can either be fun or extremely inconvenient depending on when and where they happen. There are a number of structures in SimCity that are costly. Having them be turned into a pile of rubble only a few minutes after “plopping” them could be enough to cause someone to give up on a city. It would have been a wise idea to make disasters optional. They are integral to the game, but while a city is still in the process of being built, they could appear at the most inopportune times. It is fun to wreak havoc on a city from time to time though, especially if there isn’t much else to do, and brand new disasters have come to add to the chaos and carnage!

All in all, SimCity is a beautiful game with gorgeous graphics if your PC or Mac can handle it. The music is ongoing and flows with the city’s own progression. There are a number of faults that are difficult to look past, but this game could be a lot of fun with cooperative friends who are able to make the most out of what this game has to offer.

+ Beautiful graphics
+ Great cooperative potential
– Questionable traffic AI
– Inability to destroy abandoned cities
– Great Works are tough to benefit from completely
– Shaky online experience

Final score: 2.5 out of 5

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About the Author

Recent college graduate with a BA in Game Art and Design and extremely avid gamer to boot.



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