Fun When It Works! By Joe

Before everyone goes crazy for my score, let me establish some fine points…

1) I’ve been a SimCity fan since its SNES days. I have played many iterations of the game, from SimCity 4 to Societies, and even Simcity for DS and iPhone.

2) A lot of people are giving the game a bad review only because of the online DRM and server issues, while failing to mention what the game is like WHEN IT WORKS.

3) And this is what I’m writing about, what kind of experience you’ll get when the game is working properly.

4) I’m surpised that a lot of people are complaining about this single player online issue. It makes me question where these people were when games like Farmville, SimsFreePlay, and many others were around, secretly puttng their foot in the door to your wallet. The so called gaming genre, “Freemium” has ultimately paved way to consoles and computers, and at the end of the day, it’s our own fault for promoting these wallet snatching thieves. Another thing, we also play games like Minecraft, WoW, and Guild Wars and don’t complain. It should NOT come as a surprise that EA is making this game online. (Note, I’m fully aware of the antipiracy measures as well…)
Now that all those points are aside, let me start off with the fact that SimCity is not a bad game. The user interface and controls are all very intricately designed and intuitive for even the most basic gamer to use. The graphical art of the buildings are very well animated, from “plopping” them down on the ground to watching as sims walk into them. The game even has a “Tropico” esque feel to it, allowing players to click on sims and view their daily lives.

In terms of City Building, I find it pretty fun to be able to draw roads and make all kinds of wacky designs. From curvy cul de sacs to winding paths, I found it very natural and unique. I also liked the fact that people could “upgrade” their various schools, hospitals, and even parks by dragging new additions to them. Need more classrooms? Let me just plop some down for you. Want a larger park? Let me just add a gazebo and a fishing pond. In terms of zoning areas, I also liked that it is much simpler this time around. Instead of being confused about which zones to add first, it’s as easy as choosing one of three types and then watching them as they upgrade themselves. In order to place buildings, players are required to have them be adjacent to a street, which I found only natural, given that the streets also automatically give power, sewage, and all other background services to the player.

Which leads to my next point. In the other SimCity games, players had to look at graphs and stock charts of all kinds of information, which just left me scratching my head in confusion. Whenever players want to view land values, power supply range, or anything else, the city goes into this white dimension mode, coloring all the important information and giving your 3D virtual bar graphs on top of various buildings, land, etc. This in itself allows you to “visualize” your graphs and charts instead. Very easy, not confusing, and simple.

A lot of people are complaining about the game’s city sizes being too small. Before coming into the game, I had the impression that the city sizes would be terrible. They aren’t that bad. If you manage your roads right, you could easily make your city a metropolis. Not to mention the fact that players can also “claim” more regions around the area, which don’t increase your city size, but they do give you more freedom to disperse your creativity to multiple locations. I also like the fact that players can also get help from friends by claiming regions near it and give each other money, resources, services, etc.

And might I add, the soundtrack to this game is simply put, amazing to listen to. Do a search on the game’s theme song, it honestly makes you want to build something after listening to it. For that, I applaud the musicians for their hard work.

I know that many people have been complaining about Origin’s issues, but I’m going to disagree. Origin is basically a simple version of Xbox Live with chat, game libraries, and stats. While I’m fully aware of the fact that people are complaining about adding another game streaming service to their collection (i.e Steam), it’s not that bad people.

While I’m NOT advocating that SimCity is a great game, it needs work. Just like anything. Nothing is perfect. Keep in mind that we need internet for pretty much anything nowadays. If the internet was down, we wouldn’t be able to write such bad reviews for this game. Like I said, SimCity 5 is not “bad” by any means, EA just needs to reform and pick up from this mess. This game has the potential to be good, especially when it works. For now though, I would recommend getting the game ONLY when the server issues get fixed.

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