Metascore
64

Mixed or average reviews - based on 75 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 75
  2. Negative: 10 out of 75
  1. Mar 9, 2013
    70
    SimCity is a brilliant, accessible yet very deep game - at no point do we deny this conclusion. But for now, EA's infrastructure makes it a sometimes-broken, severely disappointing example of how good intentions with regards to DRM, monetization, and anti-piracy can backfire and create problems for gamers and publishers alike.
  2. 70
    When it’s working, SimCity is an ecstatic god game that can be addicting to play; when it’s not, it’s one of the most frustrating experiences you’ll have.
  3. Mar 6, 2013
    70
    The present itself is fantastic, well-conceived, and highly customizable to new SimCity players such as myself, and will be for SimCity veterans provided that they can get stomach the smaller cities, several missing tools, Origin, and always online DRM. Of course, that may be one too many pills for them to swallow. As Electronic Arts and Maxis fix the issue with the online servers, which the entire game hinges upon, feel free to add up to one full star to the grade below.
  4. Mar 9, 2013
    69
    As a simulator, SimCity advances the achievements of SimCity 4, SimCity 3000, and SimCity 2000, but as a product, it is inferior to all of them. Constant connectivity does have benefits, such as leaderboards, worldwide challenges, and the Global Market, but it’s not even close to being worth the hassle for those features, and hardly touches the essence of what makes SimCity so diabolically addictive and engrossing.
  5. May 9, 2013
    68
    Hints at great things but is limited by small cities and promises it can't deliver on. [June 2013, p.80]
  6. 65
    Given enough patches and DCLs, SimCity might eventually become the game that should have been on its release and justify the ambiguous choices that its developers made. [May 2013]
  7. Mar 20, 2013
    65
    Our general impression was: SimCity is good fun. Unfortunately, the game is let down by some serious server breakdowns leading to quite long waiting times and the fact that it doesn't really have a proper single-player mode. By addressing these issues and providing the possibility not to only be able to build cities along with other hobby mayors the developer could easily develop into a buy recommendation from our side.
  8. Mar 17, 2013
    65
    There are some lovely aspects to the game, that have been developed from the earlier experiences that so many people knew and loved. There’s a great soundtrack, and the game has a polished look about it that makes you want to love it. But underneath, there is so much that’s broken, that I currently wouldn’t recommend the game - as I experienced it - to anyone not willing to go through the pain for a glimpse of the game they once loved.
  9. Mar 15, 2013
    65
    Given time, Maxis could clear up the problems with SimCity. The studio could deliver consistent server performance, restore cheetah speed, patch the AI, and give players larger cities. But games can’t be reviewed based on the product they might become; Electronic Arts and Maxis are charging gamers for this experience right now. At this point in time, it just isn’t worth your money.
  10. Mar 15, 2013
    65
    While the GlassBox engine is definitely an exciting direction for a city builder, its implementation is still lacking. Strange behaviours and problems in pathfinding are more than frequent, and the area available to build your city is too small. Online features are entertaining, but they don't justify all the limitations of the always-online system.
  11. Apr 21, 2013
    60
    SimCity is a bit strange and it is difficult to get used to its mechanics, all because of the many problems related to multiplayer functions. Nevertheless, the series seems to be on a good path, it was necessary to give it a new life e maybe this is the right way. It’s just too bad that there isn’t an offline mode for the lovers of giant cities.
  12. Apr 2, 2013
    60
    It's still highly addictive and you'll probably have a good time with it, but that's something you could also get from the previous games without lowering the demands made to the player.
  13. Apr 1, 2013
    60
    Unfortunately, the compromises necessary to make SimCity a multiplayer, always-online game detract from what’s most enjoyable about city-builders, resulting in a product that feels like it’s actively trying to keep the player from having a good time.
  14. Mar 27, 2013
    60
    Someone far more astute than I pointed out that the game feels like a Facebook game and it was at that moment that everything that is wrong with SimCity clicked into place. The always online requirement, the pleasantness, the restrictions, the simplicity, the overwhelming emphasis on community over the individual. SimCity is a game that seems ripe for the casual social networking infrastructure, but has instead found itself unfortunately released onto the mainstream market.
  15. Mar 26, 2013
    60
    It’s cleverly designed and brilliant - it just can’t seem to manage all of its ambitions within the rather tight, easy-to-run framework that Maxis has placed the game within.
  16. Mar 26, 2013
    60
    A huge disappointment not only due to the known technical issues, but mostly because SimCity is a toned down, kind of a "casual" approach to the classic games of the franchise.
  17. You soon realize that control, like your city, isn’t all its built up to be. So much has been smoothed out that it doesn’t always feel like you’re running the show.
  18. Mar 22, 2013
    60
    SimCity looks and sounds beautiful, and contains many great development ideas, but the always-online requirement has hurt the game. It also needs some patching.
  19. 60
    The core mechanics have heaps of potential, but I was disappointed with the overall package. Server issues persist, the game has numerous bugs, and isn’t as open ended as one might expect. I definitely encourage potential players to do a little research about SimCity before diving in – you may or may not like what it has to offer.
  20. Mar 18, 2013
    60
    Despite its shortcomings, SimCity is proving a compelling and absorbing city builder. Given a few months to implement community suggestions this could be everything we had hoped for from this beloved franchise.
  21. Mar 18, 2013
    60
    For now, SimCity is good for the reasons it’s always been good, and bad for reasons old and new. And yes, we wish we could play it on the train. But after spending two weeks as mayor of a series of teeming pocket metropolises, we’re still ready to spend more.
  22. Mar 11, 2013
    60
    SimCity's a mess of moving parts, occasionally clicking into place and allowing for brilliant experiences before coming undone and tearing everything down. With updates to both server stability and the game itself, SimCity's wonderful moments may be able to overtake the bad ones to create the best game in the series. But if those don't come, EA's bustling metropolis may end up a ghost town.
  23. Mar 11, 2013
    60
    To those who’ve never played a SimCity before, it’s definitely worth your time. However keep in mind in 2003, Maxis made SimCity 4. It is still a great game, it’s much cheaper, it runs on any old PC, and it’s all about YOU.
  24. Mar 6, 2013
    60
    This is a game with startling clarity of vision, but that vision often feels narrow and intractable. It knows precisely what it wants to be, and in most key ways, executes on those ideas with precision. But in setting that course, it all but dismisses the way in which many played SimCity sequel after sequel. And while I expect many will fall head-over-heels in love with this SimCity's cooperative design, at its best, the game feels more like a really thoughtfully designed multiplayer mode for a larger, single-player capable game that, sadly, doesn't exist.
  25. Apr 10, 2013
    59
    The worst thing about this SimCity that it is much more interesting to read about its woes rather than build cities in it.
  26. Apr 1, 2013
    55
    There's just something disturbing in seeing a game that is part of such a storied and influential franchise sacrifice so much to rush headlong into the social sphere. Perhaps the bugs and shortcomings will be resolved in a few weeks, but until then, SimCity's hidden requirement of additional patience still applies.
  27. Mar 18, 2013
    52
    Ultimately, SimCity is going to go down as a “what could’ve been.”
  28. May 1, 2013
    50
    Nicely balanced in many ways, but frustrating for the single player. Not detailed/stable enough for interactive, co-operative play yet, either. [May 2013, p.86]
  29. Mar 19, 2013
    50
    There is magic here, but after hitting the ceiling so often I can't recommend this game to many people without a list of caveats to warn them first. It's gorgeous, and a time sink, but the more you come to understand it, the less you wish you knew.
  30. Mar 15, 2013
    50
    Like an archeological dig. Somewhere under the dirt lies the broken pieces of a fantastic game. EA and Maxis are working furiously to put Humpty Dumpty together again, but in the meantime, we have a game that’s equal parts entertaining and frustrating. Sporting a fantastic user interface, great graphics, and an interesting concept, SimCity has an astounding level of potential. But in its current state, I can’t recommend it to any but the staunchest series fans.
User Score
2.1

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 4349 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Mar 5, 2013
    3
    Server reached maximum capacity and so I was placed in a queue and was not allowed to play a SINGLE PLAYER GAME because it forces me to constantly be online.

    So despite my flawless internet connection, EA's incompetence has forced me to postpone playing a game I'd like to play on my own anyway.

    I have played the beta and the city size limits are awful.

    But it isn't all bad, I do enjoy the new features, such as removal of the piping networks and the add-ons for buildings. But it's awful comopated to SC4
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 5, 2013
    0
    The game has a lot of problems. Only one of them actually matters. Never support always online DRM for a single player game. Lots of people cannot play their single player game because of this and gamers need to do everything they can to stop developers from including it. Do you still play SimCity 4? Good luck playing this game in 10 years. The servers will probably be down then and you'll be locked out of your single player game. SINGLE PLAYER! Full Review »
  3. Mar 5, 2013
    0
    It may be looked down upon to use this as a megaphone to shout through but the fact is that people need to see this, that NO-ONE should EVER support always online DRM for a single player game, on my partners 2nd attempt to play this game, she was told the servers were at full capacity and could not play until 235 minutes had elapsed. There are a staggering amount of other problems, such as the save states being tied to client-side servers, so that once EA decides this game is finished so is your progress and your ability to play it, forever. Not only that but, as probably said before, this game is on Origin only, so you must install this malicious, unoptimized, buggy front-end to just begin to play the game.
    Regardless of how the game plays as a Simulator, or whether or not it is improved upon it's predecessors, these issues need to not just ironed out, but abolished completely and utterly. The business practices being executed here are absolutely disgusting and should not be tolerated, at all.
    Full Review »