Ok, let’s get the bad news out of the way first, yes SimCity has been plagued with issues since day 1. Yes, they even affected me. And yes, that pissed me off. But outside of that, does this new game have what it takes to make it into today’s gaming world.
So what’s new about this game? Well, where to start. First off, gone are the days of customizing your map. You are given a nice selection of regions to choose from, and when within those regions you can choose where to place your city. However, if you don’t like the amount of water in any given region, you cannot change it. You can’t raise or lower the terrain, nor can you populate the map with heaps of trees first. So right now you might think, this is a bad thing.
Well you are right, and yet also wrong. Having set lands makes you think about the type of city you will build before you even plant you first piece of road down. If you build next to a large body of water, you have some options that are not present in a mountainous region. Trade Ports and Ferry Terminals can only be placed next to water, so right away you need to choose if you’re going to build a big industrial town or a tourist town. Such a hard choice right? But this is where the city limits come into play.
Whilst you’re building your dream city, another player can be building the city that is the polar opposite of yours. And it’s in this way that SimCity takes flight. Sharing resources, emergency services or even workers is needed to ensure that your city and the ones around you prosper. You can’t just plop down a massive stadium and expect to draw tourists. You need workers, without them your city wont grow.
Adding houses in the new SimCity has nothing to do with zoning some lower, middle and high land areas. It is all road based now. You need to start out small, just with some light roads, and when you place down some residential zones, the people build to the street level. So after a while, when you’re doing well, you can upgrade that street to a medium and people will then upgrade their house. You are no longer required to go in and demolish everything in order to build newer homes for your Sim’s.
Right off the bat you will notice that SimCity looks very different from the previous games, and that’s a blessing. After the last game, Societies, changing your look would never hurt. But thankfully the team at Maxis have gone and smashed all the preconceptions for what the sim genre could look like.
SimCity has a level of detail that will amaze you, should you take the time to lower yourself down to street level and watch the goings on of your city. And even looking from up high, you can see some amazing detail.
Now this is not without issues, there are some problems when it comes to zooming out, or in, or anywhere in-between. The issue comes in the form of roads not appearing to be done correctly. There is nothing worse than spending heaps of your hard earned simoleans on a great new road, only to see bits missing. Of course if you move in closer you would see that it’s all there, but that initial look of seeing something missing, well it makes for a sigh moment at least.
How does the game compare, it was always fun to have a disaster occur just to hear the roar of the invading monster, whilst your large buildings collapse and burn. But outside of that, the general sound effects are not really that impressive. They work just about as well as you would expect them too. The music however is another story. The further you zoom out, the louder the background music becomes, and I find myself zooming out a lot, just so I can listen to that soundtrack.
When you zoom in, you get the full city soundscape thrown at you, and whilst its fine when you have a small town, once you get into the larger cities, having so much noise can be distracting. That’s not to say it detracts from the game, its all a part of the charm of the city.
SimCity is a game that gets a great many things right. And that’s a testament to the design of the core gameplay. Each time you load up a new city, your choice of what type of city you plan to build can easily determine if you will succeed or fail, straight out of the gate. For a great experience, especially with some mates, you can’t pass up SimCity.