Average User Score: 2.2Mar 5, 2013So I bought this after playing and loving Simcity 3000 and Simcity 4, enjoying Simcity 4 even today, 10 years after its original release. ISo I bought this after playing and loving Simcity 3000 and Simcity 4, enjoying Simcity 4 even today, 10 years after its original release. I was hesitant about buying this, but the Glassbox engine and a few gameplay mechanic improvements were enough to make me plop down the $60 entry fee.
Whoops, Origin is required, and you are always required to be online while playing the game. After waiting a good 40 minutes for EA's servers to let me into a single player game, I started playing a bit. Except my internet dropped out for a few minutes without my knowing until the game kicked me out for being offline. To EA's credit, it didn't make me lose my save, much. I still lost about 10 minutes of progress.
Okay, so second try. I spent another hour logging in because the servers were getting pounded again. I decide to jump into the deep end by making the biggest city size they had available. I had to check two times to make sure that it was the biggest city size, because it was absolutely tiny. SC3KU's medium size was a bit bigger than this. So that's an actual city with suburbs gone out the window, and I resigned myself to making towns and nothing more.
So when playing, I noticed another thing. Power and water mechanics are vastly simplified. Not streamlined, simplified. Of the vein "make a few buildings at the town edge and forget about it" sense, easily funded by pitiful money management. You can't even make water pipes or power lines anymore, removing any of the challenge in getting that infrastructure up. Sewage would be a neat addition too, but it's still largely useless.
Then comes the zoning, where you zone different densities by... making different road sizes. You absolutely cannot have high-density buildings touching streets, so you have to build avenues all over the place to get high density buildings, largely unutilized since the "individually simulated" citizens love to funnel into a single avenue regardless of just how gridded your city is. In addition, industry and commercial buildings all have childish, enormous, uncreative names plastered on billboards seen from space. It was a bit charming at first, but seeing your entire industrial core covered in "DIRTY INDUSTRY" billboards gets old fast.
The difficulty itself is awful. I could easily get a full-sized city up and running within an hour or two, never once going into the red. Monetary concerns are gone out the window unless an infrequent and easily-managed disaster strikes, and the only difficulty in this game has to do with somehow utilizing all of your meager amounts of land.
Which leads me to another thing. Yes, roads can be curved now, but lots still follow rectangular grids. There is tons of technology these days that allows for curved and unequal lots, including in competitors like Synekism, Introversion's city generator, or even Shamus Young's city generator. However, since EA is still somehow stuck in the past, any curved roads end up wasting massive amounts of space due to lots always being rectangular. Areas inscribed by curved roads end up wasting up to around two thirds of their area. Even when you're not using curved roads, it seems the snap-to-right-angles option always wastes space due to a lack of visible grid, but the in-game adherence to a grid system. It wastes a bunch of space in the areas next to lots. This is horrible when your city size is already at a minimum.
Finally, we come to the entire region view and multiplayer aspect of the game. The region system as set up is extremely visually jarring. There is a lot of wasted space and it results in two massive high-density cities being next door to each other but having absolutely no connections to each other aside from a meager, meandering highway. Then you have the myriad of idiots who just build cities in the shape of phalluses, ruining your experience anyways. Then, you're forced to play in a multiplayer region if you want the full experience of the singleplayer game, namely having all those imports and exports. However, all the cities next to you also move pollution to and fro. So there's always that guy who picks an upwind position and builds nothing but coal factories and industry, filling everyone else's cities with stifling pollution and preventing any meaningful progression. "So just play with friends in your own region" you say, well I'm sorry to say that I'm the only idiot dumb enough to buy this awful game.
This is not a SimCity game in any sense except name only. This is just SimTown with awful design decisions and a clear plan to have loads of microtransactions.
Save your money and don't buy this game until it hits the $5 bargain bin. Hope that EA doesn't shut down the servers by that time.… Expand