Game Review: Sim City (2013)
Sim City (2013) Review
Considered a failure of EA by many, This is my review of the latest adaptation of the Sim City Franchise.
There have been many negative reviews of Maxis and EA’s latest addition to the city simulation franchise. The complaints mainly concentrate on its always online requirement and server limitations but what about the game itself. Despite the negative reviews, I decided to purchase the game of from EA Origins and try it out. After all I, like many other gamers, have been waiting for this new addition since Sim City 4, 10 years ago.
The addition of a completely 3D rendered world in the simulator is a great addition to the Sim City universe. Each building, each street, each tree is beautifully designed. The new graphics are to the point you can see clumps of leaves on the trees and waves of grass on the landscape. The buildings have a smooth texture to them and its easy to see the details in the siding, windows, and dormers.
Although the graphics themselves are a great improvement, the design of buildings appear to have less detail when it comes to being realistic. In Sim city 4 you can almost see the texture of construction materials on larger buildings, they supported more floors, and looked aged at times, a quality that isn’t repeated in the newer, cleaner graphics.
In my opinion, the overall quality of the graphics makes up for its lack of realism. I can accept this because the graphics look amazing and I’m sure an active gaming community will produce quite a few mods to produce more realistic buildings in the future, that’s one thing that I loved about Sim City 4 and EA supports mods for the newest Sim City, although they can’t offer support yet.
The new Sim City regions are amazing landscapes, impressive rivers, and imposing mountains. Each city is preplaced in a strategic spot with connecting roads already in place. I do like this concept, instead of building a megacity; you are forced to build several connected smaller cities. Another cool addition is the great builds on the map. This is a major construction, like an international airport. I always hated trying to place the biggest structure in SC4. It didn’t make sense to have multiple airports in a region anyways; Sim City found a fix for this. Another good thing is the city connections seem to have improved greatly; at least with road and especially rails.
Sim City 4 was nothing but a massive grid network of city tiles, spread in an approximate 10 mile by 10 mile map. This was great in establishing massive cityscapes. The new Sim City lacks in this as the largest cities are limited to about the size of medium SC4 cities. A medium sized city is only about 4 square miles, compared to the massive 16 square mile cities of Sim City 4. Another advantage of the old over the new is the fact that you could build on the entire region. You could use your largest city grid and build a massive depiction of downtown and then directly connect to neighboring cities to continue your urban development outward. In Sim City, the regions don’t connect so once you’re done with one of your cities, you can alter the neighboring cities, but they won’t blend to your biggest one.
Player made regions are already coming out, I’m sure a grid network similar to SC4, which allows for megacities is already being worked on. Until then I’ll enjoy the rolling landscape and smaller towns of Sim Cities.
The game has added many new features, like resources, revamped industry, trade, revamped road systems, new ways to place zones, etc. It’s too much to comment on individually. All together I like the resources part the best. It gives your cities the chance to export natural resources like oil, coal, and iron ore. You can take this a step further by processing the ore into metal. This is essential for building great projects in the region. Another thing I love is being able to expand certain buildings myself, like the town hall, schools, and casinos. This gives me the option to drive development the way I want and gives the buildings a unique layout. A third thing is the new zoning density. You can zone the city along roads you construct but there is no more low, medium, and high density zone options, this is replaced by placing higher capacity roads and avenues. It’s more realistic compared to SC4, where you can have skyscrapers grow on residential streets. Another Cool thing worth mentioning is the return of random disasters other than fires. I missed that feature in Sim City 4 and now it's back. It may create destruction on your city but it does ad to the fun of the game and keeps you on your toes. The last thing is Sim City finally has a working public transit system that people will actually use, this includes expanding schools by use of school bus stops.
The new road density zoning does have one drawback; it’s hard to replace some roads with updated higher capacity roads. They do have the ability to click on a road using the road updater tool but this only goes from one density street or avenue to another. It doesn't work the same way Simcity 4 worked by allowing you to lay avenues over roads. It is also harder to makes sure an entire length of road is upgraded in a busy city, as the view is limited and buildings can get in the way.. The best option I’ve found is bulldozing the length of the road and adding it rather than just tracing over it like you would in Sim City 4, but this is just a minor detail and doesn’t take from the game much.
I love the new gameplay. You can get more in-depth with your city and create a realistic busy city easily. The pros of the gameplay far outweigh the cons.
Sim City Overall
After playing for several hours, I’d have to say they could improve on a few areas but the game isn’t as bad as some make it out to be. It may have some network issues, ones I’ve never had an issue with, but the experience makes up for it. It’s great being able to add together all these new options and design the layout of a realistic, interconnected region. The green space between the cities isn’t even that bad, it gives the feeling of a more rural Sim City. It is a nice break from the massive cities of Sim City 4, and if you miss that aspect, you still always have Sim City 4 and its predecessors to work with until mods give you the chance to do it again in the new Sim City.
My personal rating, I’d give it a 4.5/5. I’d recommend it to anyone who has tried Sim City 4.
I’m currently working on a complete guide to all the features, new and old, of the latest Sim City. Once completed I will post it online here and provide links from my blog for easy viewing. It will cover a detailed analysis of the new features I’ve discussed here along with others that I’ve failed to mention. I have completed about 35% of the topics that I’ve listed out in its index, so expect it sometime soon. Look for an update on this hub for a link to the guide once it’s published.
After that I plan to complete a walkthrough of the beginner region. This should help new players get in the habit of building healthy, rich cities. The beginner region only has a tourist city, an industrial city, a trading city, and one great project. This makes it the perfect medium without spoiling too much of the game. Like the game guide, I will post an update once it’s published on Hubpages.