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. 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]
  2. 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]
  3. May 9, 2013
    40
    There's more problems with this game than I have words. Looks great though. [June 2013, p.80]
  4. 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]
  5. 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.
  6. Apr 15, 2013
    75
    SimCity is basically a good game, although it's crippled by poor technical choices and the DRM that requires an internet connection for single player game is obviously the worst thing since the plague. It's very fun to play, but after a brief building stage all there is left to do is to optimize, optimize and optimize. There's a load of patching to do. [Apr 2013]
  7. 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.
  8. Apr 5, 2013
    80
    Neither minor bugs nor some questionable ideas change the fact that one thing was recreated perfectly in new SimCity – the addictive quality this series is known for. [CD-Action 04/2013, p.60]
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Apr 1, 2013
    40
    Ultimately, when compared to other city-building games, even the decade-old Simcity 4, Maxis set the bar low and failed to clear even that.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Mar 22, 2013
    75
    As great as SimCity is - and, it really is - a combination of unnecessary server issues and hiccups with the Glassbox engine tar what would otherwise be the best SimCity game yet.
  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. Mar 20, 2013
    90
    SimCity is a fun and addictive game that offers an intuitive simulation interface that will help you create thriving cities that can interact and trade between each other. Even though it's launch was smeared due to server overload, once you start creating, you won't be able to stop.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Mar 18, 2013
    70
    A game full of possibilities and excellent ideas. Unfortunately - there are many disappointments: absurd limitations is terms of the area that can be used for a new city kills creativity, and Glassbox technology has some issues that interfere with an idyllic metropolitan life. The developers have concentrated too much on cooperation and social elements and have forgotten basic gameplay elements. You play and have a very strong feeling that the game isn't polished enough. And when you consider monstrous problems with servers and DRM, you get a game that's simply not very good.
  23. Mar 18, 2013
    70
    SimCity as a game is thoroughly entertaining, if flawed in several areas, and now at least we can experience it fully, and hopefully put the disaster of launch in our rear view mirror.
  24. 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.
  25. Mar 18, 2013
    52
    Ultimately, SimCity is going to go down as a “what could’ve been.”
  26. Mar 18, 2013
    87
    The new SimCity is a rich and fun computer video game, definitely a must-have, already on the list for best PC game of 2013: it's good, however, but it's not a massive game or a title with the fundamental component online, despite the need to be constantly connected to the network.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Mar 17, 2013
    80
    While it still needs more content and depth, SimCity is a fresh and exciting new start for the series.
  31. 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.
  32. Mar 15, 2013
    80
    Despite its tremendous launch, day one DLCs, and always online mode SimCity is still a really good game with some new interesting feature.
  33. 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.
  34. Mar 15, 2013
    40
    So what do we have? A Good presentation, a multiplayer concept which is definitely not for everybody, technical issues galore, tiny maps and recurring problems with the servers... There are irritations in the basic mechanics and some bugs that are just not acceptable. As much as I, a fan of the series, want Maxis to succeed in fixing all of this over the next months, I fear those are not the sort of problems that you can do away with a couple of patches. In this state, SimCity is a real letdown.
  35. Mar 15, 2013
    70
    SimCity has the potential to become a true goliath in the city building-genre, but is still being bogged down by too many problems, like the randomness with which services are exchanged in a region or the idiocy with which working citizens drive to work. That the buildable surface is smaller than in previous installments didn’t bother us that much because there are enough devices that will let players put every bit of space to good use. It would help though, if the intercity cooperation and chaotic traffic would be improved with a patch.
  36. Mar 15, 2013
    40
    We loved SimCity for the first few hours, but the compulsion soon gave way to frustration...The simulation promises more than it delivers, and you feel perpetually boxed-in by the meagre city sizes. The social features are interesting, but we'd rather have the ability to save our game, play offline, and not have to worry about server downtime. The regional multiplayer really should be an optional aside to a standard single-player mode.
  37. Mar 15, 2013
    40
    I can handle the graphical bugs - those overlapping buildings, the misshaped roads, the fire fighters who have chosen to stand on the station roof and spend their time endlessly vibrating. What I can't handle is the knowledge that things aren't working properly, that whatever success I've made is a sham, the result of misshapen game mechanics producing outcomes that are frequently contradictory or even nonsense.
  38. 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.
  39. Mar 15, 2013
    49
    The re-imagined and return of SimCity is a disappointment that's a direct result of the included always-online system. Even worse, the gameplay suffers from multiple issues including reduced map sizes to seemingly-unintelligent Sims. Individuals looking to purchase SimCity should wait until the online restrictions have been lessened and gameplay issues fixed.
  40. Mar 14, 2013
    86
    Controversy and technical issues aside, SimCity is deep, full of details and very accessible. No matter if you like this kind of game or not, we think it deserves a try.
  41. Mar 13, 2013
    70
    In some ways I'd equate SimCity to an early version of Minecraft: a wonderfully creative toy attached to a barely functional game.
  42. Mar 13, 2013
    50
    It's conventional. Playing the game is like being handed a piece of paper and checking off a to-do list. The old games weren't much different in this respect, but this is supposed to be a modern game and it's lacking in stories to tell your friends. A city is millions of people living together in harmony and tension. It's a human achievement and it's messy. SimCity is gorgeous and bland.
  43. Mar 13, 2013
    83
    If the servers worked all the time and we could play offline then this game would easily score 9.5, but that elephant is huge and a problem.
  44. Mar 13, 2013
    50
    Something that looked like a very decent restart of the meritorious open-ended city-building game series turned out to be as dull as ditchwater. Maybe, the new SimCity title will be a good game some day. Only if its cities are 4x - 5x bigger, if modders take charge of it, and the online component is working the way it should be working.
  45. Mar 13, 2013
    83
    Obviously SimCity is far from perfect and we have concerns about its small scope, but it's still an addictive and enhanced experience.
  46. Mar 13, 2013
    80
    Initially some of the decisions surrounding SimCity’s mechanics may seem frustrating, especially for diehard fans of the series, but give it time and you’ll realise – in spite of all of this – this is actually the best SimCity game yet.
  47. Mar 13, 2013
    75
    SimCity only partially delivers on its high expectations. It does a lot right and tries to do add something new to the concept, but not to great avail. Despite being able to lose hours upon hours by managing the most complex cities, SimCity will not sit right with the veterans.
  48. Mar 12, 2013
    75
    Were it not for the fact that SimCity’s servers have been so broken, the above criticisms would have been all there was to complain about. Unfortunately, the decision to design SimCity to only work with an online connection is adding a truckload of other things.
  49. Mar 11, 2013
    40
    It’s a genuinely revolting vision of the future, of a games industry that treats its players as enemies to be bullied and manipulated – not customers to be entertained and attended to. If SimCity really was a city we’d realise we weren’t welcome and move out immediately.
  50. Mar 11, 2013
    40
    Nothing /quite/ works as it should, and when Simcity is built on those systems from the ground up, that’s an incredible shame. There’s so much to like, but there’s so much that will frustrate, and it’s hard to recommend you brave the many ailments.
  51. 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.
  52. Mar 11, 2013
    50
    The visuals are nice and while you are plotting your metropolis you can feel the potential of SimCity. But even though EA and Maxis are hard at work to fix everything in this state this game is rather disappointing.
  53. 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.
  54. Mar 10, 2013
    90
    We've chosen to rate the game, not the service so far, and this new SimCity is a pure joy to play, a different but worthy re-imagination of the franchise.
  55. 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.
  56. Mar 9, 2013
    50
    Before it unwillingly became a fantastic rant against always-online DRM, and forced social cooperation, SimCity was supposed to be the shining new star of the city builders genre. Instead, Maxis and EA delivered a very pretty screen saver one can build as he likes. Miniaturized both in terms of zones to play with and gameplay mechanics, this SimCity is really fun for 10 hours, the time you need to build a full city and watch it like the pretty ant farm it is, before you simply abandon it before the very eyes of other players who were relying on its resources. It may still remain fun when played privately among friends with a decent strategy, which they need to polish even before laying their first piece of concrete on the ground, but in the end, we'd wager the game itself will be forgotten in a year's time. Its disastrous launch and unreliable servers? Maybe less so.
  57. 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.
  58. Mar 8, 2013
    20
    If Electronic Arts is going to make a game with the basic premise being that no city is an island, if they're going to stress the interaction among cities, if they're going to make playing alongside other people a cornerstone of the design, if they're going to force my creations into tiny boxes that cannot exist past a certain point without the help of other tiny boxes, they're going to have to do the hard work of making it actually work. And ideally, that hard work should be done before they sell people the game, not after they've been caught flat-footed for botching it so completely.
  59. Mar 8, 2013
    40
    At first I started to enjoy it, but soon all I found was frustration. I can't recommend this game to anyone, and I don't want to play it anymore myself because I am afraid of seeing all my efforts lost due to server issues. It's a decent game if it worked right, but the online dependency, forced multiplayer, and DRM ruin it.
  60. Mar 8, 2013
    80
    Aside from some issues with its online requirements, bugs, and restrictions on city size, it's still a satisfying and addicting simulator that will grant dozens of hours of entertainment with one well-designed city alone. It's best played with friends, but there's still plenty of fun in store for those who go it alone, and the work Maxis has done here proves that the beloved franchise can still hold its own in a gaming world vastly different from its first appearance in 1989.
  61. Mar 7, 2013
    50
    SimCity (the game) isn't the pinnacle of the series, but it's super fun. SimCity (the service) is a disaster. What you get out of the package as a whole rests solely on how many flaming hoops you're willing to jump through before arriving at your just reward.
  62. 80
    Maxis set out to create a real living world for players to tinker with. At that, they’ve succeeded. Well, they’ve succeeded whenever the game actually works.
  63. Mar 7, 2013
    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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 75
    SimCity made me connect with the Sims in my world more than any Sims game ever could - and then it made me wilfully hurt them to further my own agenda. It simultaneously made me uncomfortable with my actions and impelled to win at the same time. That's an odd feeling to get out of a game where you can deliberately unleash a giant fire breathing lizard on an unsuspecting populace.
  67. Mar 6, 2013
    80
    If you have a good look at it, you can see as many reasons to like this new SimCity as to hate it. The required connection offers plenty of possibilities but it is a pain in the ass to lonely mayors. The HUD is elegant and subtle but hides some curious flaws. Finition seems perfect, but several bugs will come to spoil your gaming experience. Anyway, SimCity will make you play again and again, and that's quite a good point.
  68. Mar 5, 2013
    94
    What SimCity offers is so much potential for so much expanded and persistent gameplay that its mindboggling. All I can actively offer you is what the game offers you upon firing up, and in that sense it’s a fricking addictive affair.
  69. 90
    EA has listened to the community, improved, brought back what was good, improved again and made the most marvelous city creator you could ever imagine.
  70. 80
    Sim City engulfs you right from the outset, and everything is so intuitively designed that you're never in doubt of what needs doing, and what possibilities are available to you. It's a very ambitious game - although we'd wish that Maxis had set their sights just a little bit higher and made the playing field a little bit bigger, as there's a small tinge of unfulfilled potential. The rest is excellent, though, and Sim City stands as an incredibly well-designed and beautifully presented joy.
  71. Mar 4, 2013
    100
    A fantastic city simulation that meets all expectations. So perfectly balanced it makes it easy to pick up and enjoy, but proves to be very difficult to master. Funny, addictive and with great options for both co-operative and competitive online play - Sim City is a clear candidate for Game of the Year.
  72. Mar 4, 2013
    80
    SimCity is a game you can lose yourself in for hours at a time. It's a game where you can keep digging deeper and deeper in underlying systems and play a plethora of different ways. Mostly though, SimCity is a game where you can allow your creativity and organizational skills to work in tandem, just the way you wish.
  73. Mar 4, 2013
    95
    A near-perfect fusion of the classic simulation game with modern social and online play elements. It is in every way the fully realized evolution of the franchise and a much welcome iteration, perfectly engineered to dispense the maximum amount of fun in the most efficient way possible. [Editor's Note: this quotation and score are from the original Polygon review. Metacritic, per long-standing site policy, only accepts a publication's first review/score for a given game.]
  74. Mar 4, 2013
    90
    It’s a joy to see SimCity return in a better form than it has ever been. It is wonderfully complex, but very easy to play. The title is a massive undertaking and it has come together beautifully overall.
  75. Mar 4, 2013
    88
    The world’s biggest simulation franchise is back with a vengeance. We’ve all grown up playing SimCity, and it’s finally time to get back to living the life of a virtual city planner. Whether you play the game alone or with friends, SimCity proves to be a great deal of fun.
User Score
2.2

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 4404 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 »