SimCity (2013) review!

Plauged with server problems all throughout its release, I didn’t really feel the need to buy it to try it. Then a friend of mine bought it and managed to get it to work and the day after I went and bought it for $0 dollars thanks to amazing promotions.

SimCity exhibits the most addictive traits and brings out the perfectionist in everyone. It’s one of those games that you can’t just play a little in one go, there is always something to do as you’ll be expanding and upgrading constantly throughout your game. The aspect of having to  constantly try to keep your city dwellers happy, whilst balancing industrial and commercial neighborhoods is both time consuming and addictive. While boosting two game modes (sandbox and normal) you’ll be able to choose between building a town from the bottom up with nothing but hard work, or having the option to enable cheats. Either way, SimCity becomes “hella” addicting.

However, I said “try” earlier because your population will never be happy, there’s always something to improve or build or do. Alas, that’s not to say that this game is too hard, no not at all, SimCity is the easy gateway to city building, you’ll find yourself naturally knowing what to do. Building certain things will improve other aspects of your town, such as building departments of utilities or safety. Respectively they will improve your sewage output.water pumping and health, fire safety and police effectiveness depending on how much you upgrade them.

As you start earning more and more money, more people will start to pour into your city, so the natural thing to do is to expand your roads for more incoming traffic, which will in turn increase your density and improve the surrounding buildings. You’d also want to build mass transportation (buses, trains and airports), in order to accomodate the heightened amount of people traffic.

The “always online” aspect of the game has its ups and downs. The downs clearly being that connectivity issues aren’t always making the players happy, as disconnections will hinder your city building as sometimes it won’t save and you’ll be reverted to an earlier stage than you anticipated. Also, the relationship between players and their cities seems to have its downs as it takes time for them to interact, such as gifting money to a fairly close neighbor will lag and take ages to arrive. I sometimes wonder if thats because the delivery truck has to deliver the money or something, but no truck should ever take several hours (days and weeks in game time) to travel across a bridge.

There are positive aspects to this though, such as the flip side of the lending lag; you can actually lend other cities money. Also you can import and export certain goods or services to help out other players in your region. For example my friend and I are exporting services to each other, I take his sewage and treat it whilst he takes my trash and burns it. Also the departments that you attach to your town hall affect the entire region, such that each city can have a specific set of departments that will enable their respective unlocks for the entire region. Pretty nifty, even if you don’t have a department of safety, as long as someone else does you can build the improved hospital, fire stations and police stations.

Joining a strangers region? No problem, there’s a chat function that ties in with Origin and lets you chat to your neighbors whilst you maintain your own city (or visit theirs as a spectator). That way you can ask for instant help (providing that they’re online), say you’re running low on sewage treatment, you’ll be able to ask if they could perhaps take some of it. Also, should you not have a fire station, police station or hospitals, neighboring cities are likely to send you the respective service just to help you out.

SimCity is definitely better with friends, you’ll find yourself struggling if you’re playing alone as you won’t be able to import or export anything. You don’t necessarily need friends as you’ll be able to join other people’s open games, just be careful of those trolls who create nuclear plants and don’t take care of them and then suddenly you have another Chernobyl on your hands.

SimCity is not a solo game, as has been proved by their “always online” aspect. You’ll need to get over the disconnections every now and then, but the servers are getting fixed and should be running fine anytime now. It’s fun and addicting and definitely a game you can sink a lot of hours into without even thinking about it. Three out of five just cause of the connectivity issues, that’s not to say that this isn’t a great game, because it is, it just has some issues.

3 out of 5

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