SimCity 2013 / 5

I’ve always been an avid fan of the Sim series so I was especially excited to see this new SimCity come out especially since it was integrating multiplayer support. I love being able to go in and build a city, but being able to do it, and have friends join is icing on the cake. The gameplay is very familiar if you have played any of the SimCity series before and I especially like how they have removed the micro management of electrical, water, and sewer issues and instead opted to have every road carry all the utilities automatically. RCI (Residential / Commercial / Industrial) zones no longer need to be exactly plotted on a graph to maximize space, but instead each area can be drawn with curves and filled in as building values grow. This should be an incredible addition to anyone who likes to artistically crafty their cities to look like actual cities instead of efficient squares. I was surprised when I found that I could not alter the terrain to suit my perfectly flat city, but the land automatically adjusted as you built around it. As you place fixed structures the land changes to “fit” them but, at least what I’ve seen, there isn’t an ability to alter the terrain independently of structure placement.

 

When starting the game you have the option to select several region sizes that determine how many cities you can build or share with friends. You can choose to not invite anyone and keep your region private so you can create all the cities yourself. You can invite friends and let everyone create however many cities they want, or you can open it up to the public and let anyone join. The cool part about this is it gives you the ability to completely fly solo, invite friends and benefit from their creative design and resources, or make it public so anyone can join and you get the pros and cons that come with that. You might get someone that had no clue what they are doing and require your help with resources, or you’ll have someone who knows how to play this game inside and out and can possibly support you. Either way you can either benefit by selling your extra resources to them, or by buying resources that you can’t attain on your own. It gives you a lot of freedom to explore new combinations and specialize cities without having to worry about building self sustaining cities. For example, one area could skip on worrying about utilities and focus on tourism, or have another area build an industry heavy city to support the commercially driven neighbor. All areas can be built with a different focus to support the towns around it with their craft, while the neighboring towns support it’s specialization.

 

Release day seems to work fine for me, but on the second day during peak playtime after people got off work, I did have issues logging into the servers to play. It is a bummer that they require an internet connection to play, as this removes anyone being able to play on their own when they don’t have an internet connection, but also shows that if they have not allocated the correct amount of server resources that people who want to play the game, can’t because the servers are down. I really hope that they can fix this, and wishing upon a star, I hope they allow offline play. Maybe you won’t be able to play your offline cities with friends online, but still there should be an option for offline play. I know the server issues put quite a few people off and I don’t blame them. I got to participate in all three closed beta’s and was surprised that the last one was not an open stress test beta. I really think they could have gotten an idea on how overloaded the servers really could have been before the game was released and people who paid for the game got locked out of playing. Besides this error I’m still a fan of the game and as I said before, would be even more of a happy fan if they allowed offline play. I do understand that the point of having a game check into online servers is to prevent, or at least reduce piracy, but it really hurts a company’s image and reputation when people can’t play a game because they don’t have the internet.

 

All in all, if you are a fan of the Sim style games, and loved the SimCity series, definitely take a look.

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