Freddie Schwartz Contributor
SimCity was one of this year’s most highly anticipated video games. It was developed by Maxis and published by Electronics Arts, the same companies that produced The Sims franchise, a well-known life simulation game. The last installment, SimCity 4, was released over ten years ago so this new game was a major deal for gamers and the fan base of this series.
The game is essentially a city-building and urban development simulator where players act as mayor of a town and turn it into a thriv- ing metropolis. Users have a lot of freedom to customize the game experience. Users can focus on becoming a major industry town that involves mining for coal and ore or becoming an oil tycoon and expanding your corporation to new heights by making highly priced petroleum and plastic.
Players can also create a bustling sin city atmosphere with casinos and bright lights that becomes a main tourist destination for black-jack and nickel slot crowds. However, for those that want the simple life, a quiet city with high land values and a focus on education is avail- able. Players can have their own university and watch citizens become more intelligent. They can even create new inventions to be eco-friendly and energy efficient. The possibilities in this game are virtually endless.
SimCity was designed well and it is easy to learn how to build roads and buildings as well as zone residential, commercial and industrial areas. The control is very fluid and users can learn how to play the game without watch- ing the tutorial. The challenge is when players tackle real problems that a growing civilization faces such as power supplies, the environment and pollution.
What really sets SimCity apart from previous SimCity games is that this edition has an online multiplayer function. This was met with harsh criticism from some fans. The game requires use of the Internet at all times, meaning this game cannot be played if Wi-Fi is unavailable. The game had previously been a single-player experience, a game that can be played anywhere. It did not have online achievements before.
Another major problem is the city size. Overall, users play in a region of their choosing in various city locations and the cities work together in terms of commuters, students, necessities and services like volunteer fire protection. Even though this is nice when playing with friends in one region, many players that want a simpler experience have trouble juggling cities.
In addition, the very small amount of room provided to make cities is eaten up quickly by roads and structures. To some, this makes the game more challenging but for others, it only makes it more tedious. Many players feel like the multiplayer function is forced onto them.
The graphics are colorful and the city looks alive with moving cars, walking people and changing streetlights. It is visually appealing and it feels as if it is a real city. This is an online-only game. Players must buy the disk but the game requires a free Origin account run by EA. If internet connectivity is a problem, the game experience is not as good as it could be. I recom- mend users to make sure their existing computer can view these graphics ahead of time.
Despite the pressing issues this game has, the actual game play is brilliant. It easily captures what this game is about: constructing and customizing cities. If this game had an offline single-player option and larger city sizes, SimC- ity would have received a perfect score. These issues hold the game back from greatness.
SimCity is available for $59.99. A deluxe version of this game includes DLC content called the “Hero and Villain” set and more customizable city sets. The deluxe version incorporates French, British and German style buildings and monuments. The deluxe version is $79.99. My final verdict is an 8.2/10.