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Sim City (2013) Review

Sim City Review (2013)

 

  Well after ten years since the release of SimCity 4 and nearly six years since the release of SimCity Societies, we at last have a true sequel... er I mean a reboot to the fan favorite series with the release of SimCity.

 

  So how is this reimagining of the franchise? Well... let us start at the beginning.

 

  After placing the franchise in the hands of Tilted Mill Entertainment with the release of SimCity Societies the series returns home to the hands of Maxis/Electronic Arts for the latest entry to the series.

 

  SimCity is a city simulator that puts you behind the mayor's desk to design and run your very own city.

 

  For a long time SimCity has been the king of city simulators and the previous game in the series, Sim City 4, has fans that still mod and play it to this day, even after a decade has passed!

 

  It is a rare game indeed that can lure back fans to reinstall a game and play it again and again.

 

  Maxis is using the Glassbox engine to give the rebooted series a fresh coat of paint, the new look is fairly impressive at times, giving you the feeling that you are looking at a model train table that has come to life.

 

GlassBox Engine

Oh shiny!

 

  Too many times in this day and age do I have to mute the music in a game and supply my own, this was not the case with SimCity.

 

  I have always been a huge fan of video game music, I have music from the silver age of video games on my iPod, so needless to say it was an absolute pleasure to listen to the background music in SimCity.

 

  It is not easy to create music that is a pleasure to listen to in a video game when you realize just how many hours the listener will be spending playing you're game, it is a true challenge to create a repetitive piece without it sounding, well repetitive.

 

Casino City Sim City

 

 So she has the looks and the sound, does she have the moves?

 

 Well...

 

  A few bad decisions were made during the design phase of the game. First off to combat online piracy and create a "multi-player" experience the decision was made to require an always online internet connection DRM based on your Origin account

 

  As we all know another large company recently tried to do something similar with another beloved single player game series...

 

Never have I been so wrong Sim City launch

 

  The launch of SimCity could be one of the worst online game launches in the history of video games, think about that sentence for a second, it is a true and amazing feat to screw up that badly.

 

  The game was so broken on launch that Amazon temporarily pulled sales of the game, and now EA is scrambling to do damage control and is offering a free EA game to customers who purchased Sim City.

 

  Of course no one is allowed to return the digital download of the game even, if it did not work properly when the game was released.

 

  In fact challenging the charge on your credit card could cause you to have your Origin account banned, which means losing access to all of the games that you have ever bought on Origin.

 

  Great way to treat your paying customers. I think someone at EA needs to go through some customer service training.

 

  It seems that an old quote from the famous philosopher and poet George Santayana, seems very appropriate when looking at online game launches "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".

 

  Hopefully none of EA's competitors take advantage of the terrible situation that the SimCity launch has placed EA and Origins in.

 

Steam sale until Simcity is playable

DOH!

 

  There is no save or load function in SimCity, this means that if you make a mistake in your city you have to live with it or start all over.

 

  This a takes away the chaotic fun of building a huge metropolis, only to unleash some hellish disaster upon it that can easily be rewinded by a quick reload.

 

  This also means that if something happens between your connection and that of the server and the game has not recently synced your city on the cloud, you could lose tons of hard work.

 

  The maps to build your cities on are tiny, so small in fact that I feel that this article should be called "Sim Village review". I understand the need to limit the map size due to the constraints of the servers processing capability, but yet again if the game was not forced to make you play in the cloud this limit would not be needed.

 

  The maps equate to about the size of the medium size city maps in SimCity 4, however the spacing between cities is fairly large and gives the region map a very abandoned and empty look to it.

 

  Another problem with the maps is that you can no longer terra form the terrain as you have been able to do in previous entries of the franchise, gone are the days when you could recreate real world cities or at the very least use the terrain from a real world city to create your own vision of what could have been.

 

  All of the railroads and highways are already hardwired onto the regional map, if you are someone who has OCD so bad that you call it CDO, then having the regional highway meet up in the corner of your map is going to cause you untold irritation.

 

  Planning is very haphazard in SimCity, many of the plop able lots have expansions that you will need to add on to make them effective, however it takes a lot of guess work to make sure that you leave enough space around these lots and that you place the additions to those lots just so.

 

  We live in an age of nostalgia, game companies keep trying to recreate the magic that made so many old games so successful in the first place, and yet I feel that they keep missing what it was that made their old games magical in the first place.

 

  We as players forget that those who once made certain studios great are no longer there making the games we love.

 

  Playing SimCity is like having a really pretty significant other who has rocks for brains, they may look and sound nice, but in the long term, you just know you cannot stay with them.

 

  Some fun can be had if the game is working properly however your money would be better spent picking up a copy of SimCity 4 or even SimCity 3000.

 

  If you do go with this option be sure to visit the astounding community over at Simtropolis , these fine folks have continued to support and improve upon the older SimCity games.

 

  Final Verdict for Sim City:  4/10 Always online DRM and reliance on server side processing have broken this game, if you need to shut off game features server side just so that your game can run on your server, there is a serious flaw in what you have done.

 

~Professor

 

 

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