Reviewed by Darryl Linington
Developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts, SimCity is the latest edition to the much loved simulator genre. While SimCity suffered a rather diabolical launch phase, it is still a game that I have been looking forward to for a while now. I mean who can pass up building their own city, making a profit, and accumulating mass amounts of debt and then recover skilfully?
Before I can carry on, I would like to point out that, over the past few weeks, I have also suffered through the constant trials and tribulations of the having to have a constant internet connection in order to play this title. While most of the issues have been ironed out, it is still something that gamers should have not experienced.
Once you eventually get past the start-up screen, SimCity is actually a well thought out title (apart from the Always-on DRM) that will indeed capture your attention. Things start off with a much needed tutorial, which will guide you through the most important aspects of building your thriving new city.
Once the tutorial is done with, you will have the opportunity to finally start your own city from scratch. One of the more important decisions you will make is picking a region to build in. Each region has its own pros and cons, which come in the form of whether or not your region is rich in some elements, or poor in others. Additionally, try and select a region that most of your friends are playing in, as this will help improve the overall experience and help your city thrive even further.
Once you are settled in your new region, you will be presented with a large area of land and 50 000 Simoleans. While this may sound like a lot of cash, it is only enough to get you started. I personally found myself in a mass amount of debt while building my very first city, as I kept taking out various bonds in order to keep things running smoothly… not a good idea at all. Instead of rushing things, it is always better to take your time and rather place necessities like roads, water towers, power plants, waste maintenance and so on. After that is all up, you can start placing residential, commercial and industrial areas down in order to progress smoothly.
Education also plays an important role in your city. Much like real life, Sims need to be educated in order to progress through life. Without education, your city will not progress and your residents will eventually set fire to things, get sick more often and harm your cities potential for becoming a technologically advanced community.
One thing I would like to point out is the actual detail that has gone into this title. Once your city is up and running you will be able to view various statistics that relate to your city. These statistics will inform you, in detail, on the Sims living in your city, the pollution levels and anything else you would like to know. It is quite honestly refreshing to experience a game with this much detail and information; however, the information provided can be a little overwhelming and confusing at times. Furthermore, each city can be turned into specific type of city for example gambling and entertainment cities and so on.
Going further into detail, everything from your Sims, buildings and business are unique in their own special way. I mean you can always zoom in on the Magtoto household and see what makes them happy, or check in on the local Burger Shack to see how business is going, which is rather awesome. SimCity also allows players to take on additional challenges. These challenges help keep the game moving, and help earn you a rather large amount of cash. I will admit that trying to take on these challenges in the very beginning of the game is not entirely the best thing to do. This was due to the fact that my entire city burnt down compliments to a fireworks display held by the fire department, who could not contain the fire… thanks!
Natural, and not so natural, disasters are also featured within SimCity. These disasters come in the form of tornadoes, meteor strikes, and a massive lizard that attacks the city. While there are indeed more disasters featured within SimCity, I would rather you find out what they are in order to prevent spoilers.
SimCity is not entirely the most graphically advanced gaming title out there; however it does look good… even on lower spec machines it looks pretty superb. Just be sure to check the system requirements before purchasing this title as you wouldn’t want to get home and be disappointed that you cannot play.
While SimCity is a gem, it also has its problems. Graphical and audio glitches are present as well as a few gameplay glitches. A few gameplay issues that I came across was the inability to bulldoze various buildings, which causes many problems, as well as some rather awkward traffic backups.
Overall, SimCity is a gem of a game… despite its diabolical launch phase. It features great gameplay, decent graphics and enough lasting appeal to keep you coming back for more.
While it still has various issues that still need to be ironed out, EA seems to be doing a pretty good job when it comes to issuing frequent patches in order to fix bugs.
Lasting appeal: 8/10