SimCity Review: Real or Simulated Disaster?

By Mike Fahey on March 8, 2013, 1:23 AM

To many fans of the original city building simulation series, the idea of an online multiplayer game that required even solo players to be connected to the internet at all times seemed like a recipe for disaster. Maxis' latest creation is easily the most compelling SimCity I've played since the 1989 original.

It's also a disaster.

The weekend before the game's March 5 launch, I had a chance to experience SimCity the way everyone is supposed to be experiencing it right now. The handful of press participating barely put a dent on the special servers EA set up for the event. The game played (for the most part) flawlessly, giving early reviewers an exquisite taste of the collaborative multiplayer that defines the release. I saw what the developers no doubt wanted every player to see post-launch — a new SimCity capable of bringing together people from across the planet to strive towards a common goal. It was glorious.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 33

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tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Megapolis on Facebook and Android tablets can access this Sim City clone pretty much more like how the old Sim City was. There is nothing fancy about Megrapolis, it has 3D plus animation and a lot of it. There is no trains. There are traffic moving and you build along the way.

Scavengers Scavengers said:

Im with ya Mike.

For me, the initial play went down perfectly. It unlocked on Origin right at 3 AM (Eastern). It loaded in about 45 minutes and I was off. I got a good start at learning the basics and went on from there. I get up to get some coffe and its daylight.

I shut everything down and go to bed. That was Wednesday morning and since then I have play maybe 2 hours as of 1:30 tonight. But then I make a last dithch effort to play again and it loaded up fast and started without a hitch. That was almost 3 hours ago and so far all is well. I checked the server list and only 1 was listed as busy so lets keep our fingers crossed.

Dave

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Thanks for the heads up but I've got far better things to do than play any Sim City game.

2 people like this | Randomthom Randomthom said:

EA creating a poorly supported substandard product? Surely not...

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I try avoiding EA published games like the plague.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

EA games are always some of the best I've ever played, but they really suck at everything that isn't a part of the actual game.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Hahaha at all the fools who continue to hand over cash to EA.

2 people like this | Puiu Puiu said:

I'm sorry but this isn't SimCity.

When you put a 2x2km restrain then it stops being a city simulation. Performance issues for end users is just big fat lie.

I'm so glad that I never preorder or buy at launch all of these broken games. They should be ashamed.

2 people like this | Fbarnett Fbarnett said:

EA has ruined everything that they ever bought. They only thing they are good at is buying people out and trashing the tittles.

2 people like this | psycros psycros said:

This article just validated every single complaint about forcing multiplayer and always-connected DRM into single-player games. A shame the author can only see the symptoms rather than the disease. I guess nostalgia can give you a blind spot sometimes. RIP Simcity, another victim of EA's greed and incompetence.

Guest said:

Wait a sec? I can't create my own city and manage my own trash, police, fire, medical and education system while trying to maximize property values?

Instead I can only control small plots of a larger world that other people have control of?

PASS.

GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

Here's a tip guys go to steam and download sim city 4, challenging, looks good, and our modern processors barely have to work to make a massive city, I remember this game crushing my 2ghz pentium 4 back in the day until I got my 3.8ghz chip I couldn't build a city over 400,000 people and a certain size.

fimbles fimbles said:

Amazon have suspended sales, Simcity was and should be a single player game.

Sadly looks like im going to have to wait for a pirate version to play the game properly....

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Here's a tip guys go to steam and download sim city 4, challenging, looks good, and our modern processors barely have to work to make a massive city, I remember this game crushing my 2ghz pentium 4 back in the day until I got my 3.8ghz chip I couldn't build a city over 400,000 people and a certain size.

I'd like to say thats a good idea, but even though our processors are massively faster I still find the game starts to run into problems past the 250k pop mark. You'd think i7 @ 4.2GHz would run this like butter, but it just doesn't. The game was coded to use a single core, and not much ram. Big cities just get too frustrating to manage when it take minutes to get from one end to the other.

This new SimCity is a joke, EA couldn't figure out how to make it fun smooth on big tiles, so lets use small 4km squared ones. EA doing what they do best when developing titles, if you can't get it to work, remove it or reduce features. Anyone interested should try Cities XL, it makes up a lot of ground on SimCity 4 and runs pretty well, nice textures, can zoom in to street view. Overall a better game IMO.

1 person liked this | havok585 havok585 said:

Cities XL, 'nuff said.

PC EliTiST PC EliTiST said:

No, no... Your favourite EA does everything perfectly. It's us, the whiners, the minority who's talking nonsense and whinning again.

Guest said:

I agree with you. I have an i5-3570K with a good video card and SC4 still doesn't run smoothly. It was simply poorly programmed at it's time.

In regards to the new "SimCity". What a joke! I bought the game on launch day and it ran fine on Tuesday but the city size limit is tiny. I'm not exaggerating, the plot sizes are very very small. I agree with a lot of other users in that it should be called SimTown or SimVille even. This is not a city building game if your population can't surpass 250,000 people. And no Subways! C'mon

thedrelle said:

Very well written, and exactly how I feed.

I grew up on sim city 2000, and I have loved every version since, but I'm afraid to purchase this one.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

That's disappointing I was looking forward to picking it up.

fimbles fimbles said:

[link]

43,000 signatures and counting.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Does no one not play 007, ssx, burnout, battlefield, mass effect, moh, dragon age, or need for speed?

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

EA games seems to have issues. All they say they're working on the issues but can't figure out how to solve the issues. Thanks you for trying out our demo games!

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

So there isn't much negativity about the game itself as far as gameplay goes, but just the issues surrounding it like the drm stuff?

1 person liked this | Scavengers Scavengers said:

Well I sure as hell would not expect this, especially from EA, but everyone gets a free game for their troubles.

So there isn't much negativity about the game itself as far as gameplay goes, but just the issues surrounding it like the drm stuff?

No. In fact I would already rate it as the best simulation I have ever played. It is really a fantastic game.

Dave

fimbles fimbles said:

So there isn't much negativity about the game itself as far as gameplay goes, but just the issues surrounding it like the drm stuff?

The cities are so small they should rename it sim town.

Quidthonian Quidthonian said:

I could not agree with you more. However, Cities XL (2011 version) allows you to play the whole map! They don't require constant internet connection.

Full review: I have purchased the game in South Africa at ZAR 350.00 (USD 41.00 or so). The installation was filled with frustration. I spent over 2 hours trying to get it going. South Africa does not have free internet like the developed world! I pay for every megabyte of transmission. The game decided (without my consent to firstly download a 70MB update. When that crashed and had an error, it took 300MB without my consent! Eventually on Friday I managed to get the game going.

The game did not allow me to bypass the childish, patronizing tutorial (as I am a veteran of the genre). Eventually after crashing 3 times, I got through.

I am using a 3G-technology modem, and the game constantly complains about it. It is a cross between Cities XL (which is far better) and SimCity Societies.

Who the hell thought it is a brilliant idea to force users to stay online the whole time? That should be kept as an option.

The small plots: How can you expect us to be creative in such confined space? If this game is multiplayer, I would want to talk to the other mayors.

I was hoping for realistic highways (Congratulations to NAM who made a superb patch for SimCity 4 Rush Hour, called RHW).

In short, EA you screwed up!!!

Renrew Renrew said:

Ha Ha Ha $79.95 for the digital deluxe version, what a crock. Ha Ha Ha

neoresin said:

What about this? Isn't this worth backing?

[link]

HiDDeNMisT HiDDeNMisT said:

I'm just glad I still play SimCity 4. I will not be buying this game unless its fixed. I mean this is just ridiculous.

lipe123 said:

You never even mentioned the other giant dead elephant in the corner which is of course ORIGIN.

It never properly shows when players are online.

It sais "Now playing..." with no game title for simcity.

Unable to join friends on the same server via origin.

No chat alerts in game at all and the sound effect for a new message is a little softer than a kitten sneezing.

Does not load the entire game, you just get a 200mb launcher and then spend 4 hours downloading the rest from elsewhere.

Also if you manage to get your city population to 200K or more the traffic is impossible to manage no matter what you try to do. Having 1000's of sims living in a 10x10 pixel area on screen just obviousley mean that a stretch of road the length of your finger needs to handle 5000 cars/busses/bikes/llama's etc and its just not possible.

Perpetual gridlock ensues and all services and exports stop, causing a total city meltdown. Big thanks for making a big prosperous city, here have a daed end and start over.

gingerbill said:

I don't agree with the nonsense that EA is all evil and does nothing good , not sure if these are just younger gamers or people re-writing history , EA helped launch some of the greatest games and dev teams ever . Admittedly over the years they have got worse as they grew and like any big corporation it became all about money but they still release some decent games.

I think it's too easy for the developers to blame it all on the publishers , that's there excuse when they should take the blame themselves in some cases. They can't just blame it all on EA.

This simcity DRM and collapsed servers is completely out of order though.

Guest said:

Why do so many people complain about always online I know it sucks and if your on vacation you can't play your game but really how many of you actually travel that much cause the people complaining probably don't even travel that much *out of breathe* anyway I think Im gonna buy the game it looks pretty cool and the sever issues might be fixed now I hope they increase the land size though.

gingerbill said:

Why do so many people complain about always online I know it sucks and if your on vacation you can't play your game but really how many of you actually travel that much cause the people complaining probably don't even travel that much *out of breathe* anyway I think Im gonna buy the game it looks pretty cool and the sever issues might be fixed now I hope they increase the land size though.

I think the reason people moaned was that it was completely broken and unplayable on release. Also it took at least 6 months for the online stuff to work between cities , which is ridiculous. Also the online side is rubbish , it's like something from the distant past with the most basic features. I couldn't chat to people in my world for like 4 months.

The game itself also isn't great . It's lovely to look at but the systems behind it are poor . You don't respond to issue's or problems in your city as such , the information the game tells you is not what it shows you. It will also tell you completely different things depending were you look. It still plays like a broken game that's lovely to look at.

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