SimCity 5 is the latest installation of the very popular series of the same title. It has been 10 years since the last game was released (SimCity 4) and fans were very eager to get their hands on the new modern day reboot.
For those that have never played a SimCity game, it is essentially a city-building simulation. You start with a block of land and try to build a profitable city and see how far you can take it. SimCity was released March 5th in the US and March 7th worldwide. It runs on a new engine called GlassBox which was developed specifically for this game, allowing for greater simulation than any previous SimCity games.
However, not everything that developer Maxis and publisher EA put into the game was welcomed with open arms. Reduced city sizes made many hardcore fans rethink purchasing the new SimCity, and always requiring an online connection to play has never been an attractive feature in any game.
The launch of SimCty 5 could be described as a disaster akin to the scale of fail of the Diablo 3 launch. There were a mass of server issues that rendered the game unplayable for the first few days of the launch. These issues have now been fixed and the game runs very smoothly with little to no errors.
Being a simulation game, SimCity is a quite slow-paced game, even when you are playing it on “Cheetah speed”. When you first load the game, you will be asked to select a server. Once you have your server selected you can load the game and start creating or joining an existing region to begin playing.
SimCity 5 encourages multiplayer; Rather than just building a city alone you can help and rely on others within your region. You can join or create public regions or have a private friends-only region. If you watch our SimCity 5 video you will see some multiplayer features of the new game, such as one that allows me to use excess resources from other cities to help my population.
There is no end to SimCity, as it is a sandbox game and you can play it how you want. You can continue to build and nurture one city or choose to start a new one whenever you feel like it. You don’t really “finish” SimCity; It can provide never-ending fun and each city and region will be unique, giving the game incredible amounts of replayability.
Once you’ve selected your region, you can then claim a piece of land as your own, which will become your city. We strongly recommend you play through the tutorial to understand the basics of building a city. The game will continue to guide you and give you tips along the way.
The first thing you should do is build some roads and then “zone” these roads as residential, commercial, or industrial areas. Each zone will create different buildings: Residential areas will create housing, commercial areas will create shops and industrial areas will create factories.
There are various different ways to build a city. You can concentrate on industry if your land has resources that can be harvested and refined into materials for production and trading, or you could create a tourist city that makes money from having lots of visitors and attractions.
Maxis did a very good job of balancing single player and multiplayer elements of SimCity. The game was made with cooperation from other players in mind, but it can still be played completely single player. It may be harder because you can’t use resources from the surrounding cities in your region but it is totally possible to play the game solo.
The challenge of the game comes from balancing your economy and the happiness of your population. As you start to gain more population this becomes harder because there is more to manage but less space to work with. The decisions and changes you make in the later stages of the game have a greater impact than the decisions at the beginning.
The soundtrack fits the game very well, as it invites images of unexplored territory and exploration. It also adds tension and suspense to your game, even when you are dropping down roads at the start of the game; The music makes you feel like you are making one of the most important decisions of your life. All the sounds of the game are expertly crafted and really replicate the noise of a sprawling city.
The A.I. and simulation in SimCity is great. Each sim has a goal and destination to reach. You can actually click on an individual sim and it will show you where they want to go and what they want to do. However, the A.I. does show some strange behaviors. For example, they will head to a dead-end with no buildings or resources and drive on empty roads. These are just some small complaints about an otherwise very complex and smart A.I.
Final Thoughts on Sim City 5
SimCity 5 is a great addition to the award-winning series, it has been rebooted and altered to suit today’s gamer. Maxis has also promised more content for the game, including increased city size, which will keep players happy and provide them with more incentive to continue playing the game.
The addition of multiplayer elements to a largely single player genre has reinvigorated the series. Although some features such as the always-online requirement did garner some early negative responses and feedback from PC gamers, if you look past the little faults SimCity 5 is largely a fun and extremely addictive game. In a short amount of time you will find yourself giving your city a lot of care and dedication as you try to make your city as grand as you possibly can. That has always been the draw of the entire SimCity series and Episode 5 is no different.