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TigerLord
UEE Citizen
Premium,Mod
join:2002-06-09
Canada
kudos:8

Sim City Impressions

»ca.ign.com/articles/2013/01/25/s···-simcity

Marathon gaming sessions happen all the time, but when I’m wasting a Saturday exobyte farming in DC Universe Online or hunting a Platinum Trophy on the PS3, I’m aware that the hours are slipping by. Last week, Maxis invited me over to play SimCity, and when I started getting texts about dinner, I thought it was a bit early for my girlfriend to be debating tacos over Chinese. Then, I noticed the time.

I had been playing SimCity for six hours straight.

On the SimCity excitement scale, I’m some cliché that puts me past 10. I even bought a gaming PC in anticipation of its March 5th release. But that said, as Maxis put me in front of a computer and began droning on and on about traffic patterns, solid waste removal and the intricacies of SimCity, I suddenly panicked that I was in over my head. Perhaps SimCity had grown up too much and was now out of my reach.

As the loss of time would tell you, the fear was unfounded. SimCity is as deep as it is charming, but the game ramps up so smoothly that when I got to worrying about where all of my citizens’ poop was going, I had a handle on the insanity.

ROADS MATTER

But I’m getting ahead of myself. SimCity starts with roads. Whereas previous iterations – or at least the ones I remember – allowed you to decide if you wanted to lay light or dense industrial/residential/commercial zones, this time it’s a combination of demand and the road you’ve laid. See, you can lay anything from dirt roads to multi-lane/streetcar ready asphalt, and that decides what kinds of buildings can be supported there.

In the beginning, my medium-capacity roads brought light residential trailer homes, but as the city population boomed and quality of life improved, people began demanding big ol’ apartment buildings and the finer things in life. Again, SimCity was teaching me this step by step with an advisor telling me roads need to be upgraded and citizens renovating their zones to fit the times.

It’s refreshing, but far from an exact science. I had streets flashing that they needed to be upgraded to support heavy industry, but I couldn’t upgrade them anymore than I already had. A Maxis rep told me that I needed to eliminate a road to allow the zone to populate the bigger structures, but even after demolishing that, I couldn’t get businesses to fill in. Mastering zoning and space management is something I assume will come with time.

THE MAPS ARE SMALLER
My six-hour demo was covered both single and multiplayer. After just a few hours of my single-player run, I had maxed out my city -- or at least my first city. You don't have the entire map like days of old, and -- regardless of whether you’re playing with friends or by yourself -- you play on a big region map with several sections to build in. So when I hit the borders of my first section, I could move on and claim another and build a new city (which pauses life in my current city) or just focus on making what I had better.

I didn’t tinker with this all that much. When I went to investigate taking on a second city, I found the Great Works Site, discovered I could start work on an Arcology (see: standing biodome), and lost interest in expanding. However, a player next to me asked about being out of space and her people wanting more industrial zones. A Maxis rep told her she could take over a new section of the map, make it industrial only, and then have her people commute over there.

It kind of seemed like a cop-out to me. When I’m playing with others, having the map broken up and the giant dead spots in between our sections makes sense, but when it’s just me, I’d rather have one massive map that I can work on to my heart’s content.

IT’S ABOUT EXPANDING WHAT YOU HAVE

When I think of my metropolis in SimCity 2000, I think of towns getting so big that I had to drop police stations all over the place and have goofy water pumps everywhere to keep the H2O flowing. In this SimCity, it’s about upgrading what you already have.

Drop a clinic, and you can buy ambulance garages to place on the property and expand your healthcare’s reach. Once your garbage dump starts getting overrun, you can add multiple incinerators to deal with the trash. When you’re town hall is placed, you can plop down departments that give you access to different buildings and perks.

You get to lay the groundwork for the city you want and then start building out and iterating on it. If you go down the specialization path – an option that lets you start building Tech-centered buildings or casino-driven attractions – you’ll only have access to one type of structure, but as that business hits milestones, suped-up versions will become available. So, go from a Podunk casino to the Vegas hotspot over time.

It’ a fascinating option I'll have to tinker with over time.

THE OPTIONS ARE ASTOUNDING

I’m not upset that the game isn’t what I was expecting; I’m intrigued.

For a while, I just watched the poop flow from my citizens’ houses to the sewage plant. I had an advisor chirping that we needed to expand, and with a click of the mouse, I was in X-ray sewage mode; the buildings and streets were gone, and I could suddenly see all the waste flowing beneath my burg.

SimCity is full of useful, easy-to-understand information like this. There are the Instagram-like filters for your overall view, but then there are overlays that show crime and pollution. Smiley/frowny faces telling you how happy citizens are populate the map. Drop a bus stop, and the area in front of it lights up so you can see at a glance what your coverage is like.

Knowledge is king in SimCity, and as the hours you spend at the mouse and keyboard pass by, you’ll soon master the art of watching your budget and expanding your empire.

IT LIVES UP TO MY EXPECTATIONS
I know that the smaller map thing sounds like a big deal, but ultimately I think it just creates a different experience. Six hours left me wanting more, and I think that might be due to the smaller maps. In past games, I made one city and worked on it nonstop. In SimCity, I really feel like I’m going to make one city hum and move on to the next – move on to the casino city or the solar city or whatever challenge I feel like tackling because the sections of the map are manageable.

I’m not upset that the game isn’t what I was expecting; I’m intrigued.



TheThing

join:2012-08-10
kudos:1

you better report those bugs son



I AM
Premium
join:2010-04-11
Ephrata, PA
kudos:4

Titan needs to be a Simcity and Sims mmorpg.



Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1

A shame Stronghold was never made into a MMO.
Build a castle, train troops, gather resources, build alliances. The destroy other players, or trade with other players.
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.



TheThing

join:2012-08-10
kudos:1
reply to TigerLord

a Sim city MMO would be pretty epic..

you would basically fight with other cities via economics or whatever... and could basically conquer other players cities that way



KingOfPants
Premium
join:2002-11-11
Canada
kudos:1
reply to Snakeoil

said by Snakeoil:

A shame Stronghold was never made into a MMO.
Build a castle, train troops, gather resources, build alliances. The destroy other players, or trade with other players.

Huge fan of the older stonghold games. Haven't played this, though looks like it could be what you're looking for, »www.strongholdkingdoms.com/


TheThing

join:2012-08-10
kudos:1

Click for full size
.


I AM
Premium
join:2010-04-11
Ephrata, PA
kudos:4

That image belongs in that other 2013 thread.



jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL

This whole thread belongs in the other thread.



fnord76
Elder God
Premium
join:2002-05-14
Troy, IL
kudos:2
reply to TigerLord

I think I'm lost. I believe I should've taken a left at Albuquerque.
Lemme try to get back on course. How did you originally start your cities in the older games? I always laid the roads out in a block like pattern and then plop down whatever zone was necessary at the time.


ncscott

join:2012-07-24
Longmont, CO

1 edit
reply to TigerLord

I have an extra code is someone wants it

code was used