SimCity Review
SimCity Box Art
System: PC
Dev: Maxis
Pub: EA
Release: March 5, 2013
Players: 1-16
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Mild Violence
Rebuilding The Beloved SimCity From The Ground Up
by Jake Valentine

I want to like SimCity. I want to like it so much. In fact, I do like it. So much that I'd love to tell you to run out right now and buy the game. There's just one thing holding me back.

I can't play it.

As I type this review out, I'm sitting on the game's splash screen as it reads "authenticating with the game servers." I wouldn't be surprised if it stays like that for about ten minutes, or if it shuts me out with a server error or full server. The irony in all this is that I don't really have an issue with SimCity's need for a constant Internet connection.

SimCity Screenshot

Oh hey, I actually was able to log onto the server I wanted. That's been pretty hard to do recently. Still, I'm unable to connect to my region. Restarting the game puts me into a queue. Man, I really wish they'd just add more servers to account for the overwhelming demand.

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It's a bit of a shock that EA didn't see that demand coming. It's a highly anticipated title that hit all the right notes leading up to release.

But enough about the loading issues. Let’s take a look at what the game actually is once you get past all that, as long as I’m waiting here.

SimCity Screenshot

This isn't a proper sequel to SimCity 4. The two games simply cannot be compared; they're apples and oranges. Instead, SimCity focuses on smaller cities, forgoing the larger sprawl we’ve grown used to. While that may sound off-putting to some, the concept actually works pretty well. We're connected to a group of cities, ranging anywhere between two and sixteen, in regions. Individual cities are connected to one another, meaning we can share power, water, sewage, health services, and so on.

For example, I attempted to make a giant urban sprawl, which didn't go well at all. One of my friends focused on the dirty work, providing power and garbage pickup. Another friend made a mining town and is gathering coal. I'm able to use their specialties to my advantage by purchasing goods. In exchange, their Sims visit my city for their commercial needs, or flat out work in my city. Maxis has done an excellent job of creating the feel of a real community here. Does the inability to make custom highways stink? Sure. Does it bite that more often than not, we're specializing our city to do just one thing? Perhaps. But this is a new day and a new SimCity.

SimCity Screenshot

There have been some concerns when it comes to how the game's environment looks. Thankfully, it doesn't look as jarring as some suspected. You'll see your neighboring cities in the background as you build and play. The night skies can look gorgeous as you fill up your regions, especially when you get your great works up and running. Great works are a region-wide goal that people are able to achieve together as they pool resources to create a major airport, space station, or one of various other technological marvels.

My queue ended and has been met with another queue. Fantastic. Maybe I should take this time to explain the GlassBox engine.


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