SimCity Societies Destinations Hands-On

Turn your authoritarian police state into a five-star tourist destination.

If you build it, they will come. That's what EA is hoping for in the upcoming expansion SimCity Societies Destinations, in which you'll attempt to build five-star resort cities that attract snooty gourmands, backpacking thrill-seekers, and scantily-clad spring breakers alike. Of course, as tourism booms in your SimCity, you'll need to balance the happiness of the local population with the needs of a large influx of travelers, all with one goal in mind: filling your treasury with simoleans. Cha-ching!

The original SimCity Societies attempted to infuse the societal values of The Sims into the city-building and planning of SimCity with mixed results. While it's always fun to force your lowly Sims into submission under the heel of an authoritarian police state, the societal gameplay elements proved a bit too abstract for many, and there was no significant strategy or challenge in shaping your city and values. Destinations looks to hone the gameplay as you focus instead on something we all know and love: vacation.

Destination: vacation.

Whether you surf or ski depends entirely on what terrain you choose, each with its own specific landmarks that you'll have to work around. A tropical island paradise is perfect for water sports but you may have to contend with a volcanic eruption, while a quaint ski town tends to, you know, get cold. We got our hands on Destinations this week and began by building a quaint spiritual enclave in an alpine zone. Increasing the population was simple enough: choose a power source (we went green and chose wind power), build housing for the locals (monasteries, of course), and find them some work. We built some missions and Scientology-inspired temperance centers, and soon the simoleans were rolling in. We could have continued balancing power, housing , and work, but the heart of Destinations is in building tourist venues to attract visitors. For our enclave, we went with a combination of religious altars, an art museum, a bookstore, and a famous grave. To entice travelers to see the sights, we built a few bed-and-breakfasts for accommodations.

You have to spend money to make money in Destinations, and you'll find yourself in a constant cycle of using tax revenue for new venues and accommodations. Soon tourist Sims will flood the city, such as burnouts who have tired of grinding away at the office week after week, professional gamblers, or religious converts and pilgrims. From there you'll have to fulfill their needs by offering appropriate dining, accommodation, and activity options. Backpackers will look for a cheap slice of pizza and a place in a 16-bed room at a youth hostel, while high rollers will demand a four-course meal at a four-star restaurant near a luxury hotel room with mints on the pillow. How you cater to the people is, as always in SimCity, entirely up to you.

Back at our spiritual enclave, our city soon became overrun by transient hippies looking for a free ride in our peaceful community. We hate hippies. Despite objections from the local monks, we constructed a police station to up the authority level of our city before the smell of patchouli oil got out of hand. This brings up an interesting point in Destinations. For completely understandable reasons, tourism does not bode well in Orwellian police states. Sure, you can build "colorful" venues like dungeons, jails, and military schools, but for whatever reason the tourists don't seem to appreciate these hotbeds of oppression like we do. It seems that to truly succeed in Destinations you'll need to focus more on creativity, knowledge, spirituality, and prosperity. To see how your Sims are faring, zoom in and click on the little guys to see their thoughts on the city, how much cash they've spent, and even what souvenirs they've purchased.

Hippies begone!

We've come to appreciate the special abilities that you can trigger in certain venues for a popularity boost. You can set off the local geyser for an amazing aquatic display, trigger a mood-altering device at the behavioral science center to keep the locals in line, and hold a cook-off at the bed-and-breakfast. Fans of SimCity will be happy to know that the disaster menu remains intact should you want to destroy your city in a sudden rush of sadistic omnipotence. After all, power corrupts. In our case, when the hippie population became too much to bear, we simply called upon the Ornithosaurus Wrecks, a giant fire-blowing monster, to stamp out all flower power in our budding utopia. Unfortunately, he took out much of the rest of the city too. Oh, well. We hate hippies.

Destinations will also come packaged with five free game updates already released for SimCity Societies, and we'll have more information as the game is released later this month.

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Discussion

45 comments
chesterjra
chesterjra

humbikmeamyou It has the Managing Taxes and Graphs the only thing that dont have is Plumbing But better to play it has Workcrews who repair buildings EA will have another Expansion for This game -.-

chesterjra
chesterjra

J2THEB You Lied It has Graphs,Taxes,advisor :P You just don't Try The Tutorials

chesterjra
chesterjra

iceintel Is Right It is Better That You enjoy not to Compare with,Because your thinking whats the difference between Them. XD I have Bug on the Scenarios While There is a Storm it rains Meteors LOL Simcity Societies Destination Rocks!!! Man Im just lucky I have the Windows XP to play that. -.- mavan33 i like The Authoritarian City Too Its the best, Just think about it Your Building an Army Base and Stadium have Tanks too LOL!!!

mavan33
mavan33

i like the game but put in a army base

mazman3434
mazman3434

Sim city 4 vs societies, SOCIETIES PALES IN COMPARISON SIMCITY 4 WAS AUSOME!

astralislux
astralislux

This expansion reminds me of Tropico: Paradise Island (great game!). Maybe there is hope with this series, though. I might give it a try.

it009x9281
it009x9281

An expansion pack don't make a bad game a good one. i dont hate SCS i just dont play it anymore,its more like sim town or sim village i dont feel i have any real control over the game but im going have to agree with green_pc SC4 was the best and i still play it and have the feel that im buliding a city with millions of people,towering skyscrapers and supercorps and not a cartoon town.

iceyintel
iceyintel

Man whats up with all the SCS hate. This game only has issues in Vista (OF COURSE) and works flawlessly in xp.The reason is that is due to an issue with windows vista sp1, where dx10 Nvinda/ATI cards choke in vista sp1 with high demanding dx9 games.A developer from Tilted Mill Entertainment told me that so... SCS is a fun game, you guys are just trying to play it like sc4, and you won't get anything out of it that way.Think about it, sc4 is where you play the mayor,SCS is a flat out city builder.You can directly design your city of your dreams without any sorta "RCI" demand system.SCS is instead made on a home/work/venue system, where you focus more on the sims and the city, rather then having to deal with traffic,taxes,health care, and all that crap. You guys should check on the tilted mill forum and check the city journals and see what people could do, its where they use their imagination, rather then being a strategist. And also, tilted mill does not make crappy games (unlike what someone said) tilted mill makes ANCIENT CITY BUILDING GAMES, i don't really think they will be great making what you call a "true" sc5 with all the complexity.They rather have a different focus in games, where instead of sc4 where everything is based on graphs and city polls and stuff, SCS is based on each and sim/person in your city, which could take up a bit of computer resources.

green_pc
green_pc

SimCity 4 is still the best SimCity series i've ever played.. I've been playing simcity for many years and i think the SCS is the worst one.. Hope EA will launch SC4 in better graphics and 3D. I love SC4 gameplay.

sleepyeyespete
sleepyeyespete

I love SC4. Takes a while to learn it, and with the Simtropolis, Devotion and Simpeg websites you can mod the game to hell and back. The POS that Tilted Mill gave us just crashes all the time, and I have a quad core, watercooled, 8800GTX gaming rig that runs every other game I've tried. Why sell an expansion pack when the game just doesn't work right to start with? The game play is all right if you just want to play and not think, nothing wrong with that, I kinda like the game, but the engine sucks, the game CTD's all the time which makes it a pain it the butt to play. Who would throw good money into this. It will not run a big city at all. Buyer beware!

lilaviel
lilaviel

It's one thing to pump out EPs for a game that's actually pretty good (The Sims). But Sim CIty Societies is just ok. I think EA's hopes on this one are too high. Not that it matters, since they've got $$$ to waste.

PhantomRoy08
PhantomRoy08

it might be worth renting, should it come out for 360

taxievil
taxievil

EA are going to do to SimCity what they did with the Sims, and shower it with crap expansions to appeal to the 'mainstream'. Instead of listening to the SimCity fanbase, they've just gone and tried to make what they think everyone wants.

X3Warrior
X3Warrior

Even with this expansion, Societies will still suck. Tilted Mill just sucks at making games. The gameplay is too simple. I'm still pissed at EA for doing this to Simcity. And if the next SImcity is in development, I hope Maxis is working on it.

indigoAK200
indigoAK200

For all you people that want SimCity 5, you already got it. All of the Societies internal files refer to the game as SC5. You're better off wishing for SimCity 6.

Tokks
Tokks

The people that developed this game don't make the Simcity games and the next Simcity is in development already.

neom22
neom22

Just make Simcity 4 in 3D and it will be fine for more 5 years

J2TheB
J2TheB

I agree, Societies was too simplistic, no taxing, no graphs, no advisors (not that you would need any for this) etc. It should have been called simcity kids edition as its soo easy after you get going.

humbikmeamyou
humbikmeamyou

I agree, SCS was such a big let down I reinstalled SC4 and started to play that again. This game is like for 5 year olds, build place to work, build power, build houses. You cant do anything, such as, manage taxes, build plumbing, etc. HUGE let down. Sim City should stop trying to simplify things and stay true to their original sim games. Sim City 4 being a good example of how to do it right.

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

Enough with this Sim Societies BS... just make Sim City 5 already!

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

This game was a waste of time..Im shocked ea is making a sequal..They made that much cash on the original???Think not, sales must have been down for this game..Im a gamer an try every thing..Ive bought this game an let me tell ya it suxxors.. Who thaught placing buildings, on a block would be fun??This group should not make games again...Just wait for Cities unlimited or cities x what ever there calling it now... http://www.citiesxl.com/ Here is the link folks enjoy....

ninjaracoon89
ninjaracoon89

the gamespot preview didnt mention anything about framerate or performance hhmmm..

mystic2000
mystic2000

Societies was a complete waste of time and money. anyone who had anything to do with making societies or this new "Destinations" should be fired.

BigDaddy973
BigDaddy973

Nice this sounds great! Come to console 360!

lucas182
lucas182

Socities was that crappiest game i played the last 3 years. I was a SimCity fan... and Socities just isnt SimCity... It's harder to fill a coloring book than to play this game. They should make an ESRB rating of -10 (ten, and younger) and slap it on the game's box... it is THAT STUPID.

loveexousia
loveexousia

I must buy this game some day , I like that pet !

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

Yeah, balls to this and to Societies. After SimCity 4, I was looking forward to SimCity 5. Really all I wanted was a 'better' simulated city building game in the same vein but with more complex stuff happening behind the scenes, better graphics, etc. Give me a REAL successor to SimCity over this c*** any day.

commandogamer
commandogamer

"...a sudden rush of sadistic omnipotence." That's just a funny phrase. I like.

waleedarshad
waleedarshad

they should make a proper sequel to the Sim city series

commanderkai
commanderkai

Woah...they're making an expansion for the piece of crap Societies? Already? Wow EA must think we're stupid or something. Well I'll still be waiting for the Cities Unlimited game from the Citylife series.

midn8t
midn8t

persoanl I did not care for Societies I liked the orginal Sim citys better..

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

This was such a funny preview. Thanks for the laughs and creative writing Gamespot. You may have gotten my interest up in this game.

shade1978x
shade1978x

They badly need to fix the frame-rate issues for Societies. I play Crysis at max settings with very few hiccups but Societies makes my system chug! How is that possible?!

wheater
wheater

I have never played a SimCity, Always wanted to though, City building games are really fun. I'll buy this one.

J2TheB
J2TheB

If anyone can remember, Simcity Societies was an appalling game! Why on earth would they make an expansion, hoping this would generate interest, when its exactly the same game with more features. The only thing that could fix this game is an entirely different gameplay engine, to fix the annoying gameplay, that gave it its bad rep in the first place

BontraXenderKyl
BontraXenderKyl

Although I hate SimCity it might be good choice for me...

zoe256
zoe256

....surely this can't count as an actual Sim City game?! It should be something more like 'Tourist Tycoon'!

brijeshhsejirb
brijeshhsejirb

Seems like a good game to while away time with. The graphics aren't exactly great thou.....

iamsthedogfood
iamsthedogfood

sounds a lot like the old tropico game. That was a fun one. This doesn't have any base to gorund it's story to though. Just a sim.

DontEatCream
DontEatCream

Tru dat. Societies is a stinker, and no amount of cash-in expansions will change that fact. EA should just start working on a new Sim City, preferably one that doesn't suck.

Zetona
Zetona

Cut to the chase, EA. We want SimCity 5. When will we get SimCity 5?