I went on to metacritic and was absolutely stunned to see perfect scores for this buggy piece of shit. I couldn't get the damn thing to start up, yet Eurogamer Sweden says it's the best fucking game ever. Good on you Gamespot. Good on you for giving an actual review, rather than a load of horse shit.
SimCity is both a fun city builder and a broken product, equal parts joy and misery.
- Complex and rewarding urban planning
- Lots of wonderful details that make you feel connected to your city and its people
- Cooperation deepens play on a regional level.
- Almost anything and everything can, and does, break in some way
- Modest plots of land limit creativity
- Uncooperative players can mess up your plans.
SimCity is a good game hobbled by its insistence on putting as many obstacles as it can between it and you. You can point to the ridiculous online connection problems that have bogged down the game's launch as the most obvious examples of this, but they aren't the only ones. From its online infrastructure to the simulation that powers each city, SimCity has numerous flaws that can turn a few hours of delight into a few hours of seething frustration. Many, or even most, of these flaws can be fixed, but it's the here and now that's important--and in the here and now, SimCity is a fun, engaging, and broken game.
Just how broken the always-online SimCity is depends on when you're playing, what server you choose, and the sheer luck of the draw. Did it need to be this way? Probably not: the game offers the option to have a fully single-player experience in a closed region of your own creation. Alas, you must sign into SimCity (the service)--as well as Electronic Arts' Origin service--in order to play SimCity (the game). Since the game's release, connecting has been a crapshoot. You may not be able to log in at all, or the server might be full. In that case, you don't enter a standard queue as you might in a massively multiplayer online game (though to be clear, SimCity is not an MMOG). Instead, you initiate a 20-minute countdown. Should the server be full when the countdown is finished, the countdown and the wait begin again.
So what is the benefit to the always-online aspect of SimCity? It's in the regional structure: you share an entire region with other players or, if you prefer, with other cities you yourself manage. This means up to 16 people are performing their mayoral duties in one geographical expanse, though you work with only a single city at a time. SimCity is a shared experience, though not just from a social perspective, but also from a mechanical perspective. No city is meant to be all things at once, as the relatively minor plot of land you get to work with indicates from the get-go. You can focus on tourism by placing--er, plopping, as the game calls it--landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and reaping the financial benefits. But in doing so, you may not have room to plop structures that allow you to mine ore, or export resources. You must choose: your city is not going to be a sprawling, self-contained urban center no matter how clever you think you can be.
Is the limited space disappointing? Absolutely. And yet the idea of specialization has potential, and you see it spring to life when you play with friends, or at least, friendly strangers. You can set up mutually beneficial arrangements. "I'll let you dump all your trash in my city, as long as you keep a steady supply of ambulances coming, and I'm gonna ship my sewage to this other town" or "I'll focus on commercial trade, so your wealthy residents can come to my city and spend money, and you can enjoy their tax revenue and set up an ore trade supply line." You can set this all up by yourself in a private region if you like, but managing multiple cities becomes a drag, and it dilutes that sense of connection you get when you devote your heart and soul to the metropolis of your dreams.
It all begins with that first road you lay. On a fundamental level, SimCity has that remarkable magic that compels you to stay at your keyboard even if real life beckons you. This is the nature of the series. The pavement snakes into the wilderness and you drag zones into being where residential, commercial, and industrial structures spring to life. You are no longer restricted to grids and lines: SimCity lets you create circular drives and serpentine avenues, which aren't always the most efficient use of space but at least have aesthetic value. Soon, you must focus on other concerns: providing electricity and water to your needy citizens, disposing of garbage, and getting a police force onto the streets.
The complexities then mount. As your industry grows, it needs educated sims, which means providing the population with schools and libraries. As your businesses grow, they need wealthier shoppers, which means upgrading your neighborhoods with public services and tree-lined parks. The push and pull then continues, with you balancing your populace's needs while keeping your income in the black, planning your future while dealing with the present. Most core structures can be evolved in a number of ways (adding wings to a hospital, for instance, or purifiers to your water pumps), and the most impactful upgrades require other structures to be built or other tasks to be performed. For instance, if you want to build a better array for your solar power plant, you need to research it at a university first. For a sizable sum, of course.
And so you perform the engaging and entertaining SimCity dance, juggling needs and wants, and experimenting in between to see just what, exactly, a coal mine or a municipal airport has to offer you and your people. The interface does an excellent job of giving you information and advice. If your citizens are getting sick or complainign about sewage overflow, the icons along the bottom of the screen make sure you know about it. There is plenty of information to sift through, so you can see where your population is most dense, how long the average wait for the bus is, and so on. If you enjoy losing yourself in statistics, SimCity has lots of them to consider. Unfortunately, the good old ticker tape from SimCities past is gone, as is some of the hysterical writing that came along with it.
Months after a difficult launch, nothing has changed nor will change. Ridiculously small map size make the game absolutely boring. If you played the previous SimCity version (2000, 3 and 4), do not buy this version. There is no tools for creating amazing road, public transport networks, bring decoration and build the city of your dream. The SimCity spirit is broken ... The only fix done so far is the connection difficulties due servers overload and I believe it was partly self fixed with players giving up playing.
EA communication is poor blaming the customers not to appreciate this fantastic game. DLCs are already on their way. It's obvious that EA's priority is money, money, money. I hope they will be back slapped as much as many (ex) loyal customer were.
Good luck to them
I've been wanting to get this game since it came out, but some of the reviews put me off. I can live with the "always-online" crap - but not with the severely limited city sizes. Here we are a few months on from launch, do people still consider the city sizes a problem? Would you recommend this game for someone who really likes to get immersed in building?
Any answers are appreciated, I am on kind of a tight budget and don't want to put my money on this game if it is terrible.
If you want a good alternative to simcity, check out : http://no.forgeofempires.com/?invitor_id=59801&world_id=no1&ref=player_invite_link
Kinda like age of empires, only difference is you play with other people.
From what I understand from the review is that the game will be great once the devs fix the technical issues.
@mathi4s Even to date at just under 2 months post release, the game is still broken despite being patched. Save files don't disappear any, but the game mechanics are possibly in worse shape than ever before. There are still no working online features. Through the Retrospect-O-Meter, Gamespot's 5.0 rating is still looking very accurate.
@mathi4s Unfortunately, the problems go deep down to the very heart of the city simulation. All problems with the servers aside, the game is fundamentally broken.
It sure is pretty, though. Just don't look too closely at anything that's going on.
This will explain all.
How many days now, and how many updates later, and we still are having problems playing this game online. If you play private you have a higher chance of enjoying the game, forget the public option (sounds like the healthcare debate simulated) :) EA there is time to save this fiasco, give us an offline mode, and TRUST me people will go online eventually looking for the new thrills you are promising. But this product and franchise will die if you keep this as-is.
I'm a SimCity fan, now I want the most objective answer.
Do you recommend me to buy this game?
The problems mentioned in this article are still actual?
@Quaxillaz I recently bought it after never playing any other Sim City Game. Though I dont know why it "HAS" to be always online, I do enjoy the online features. Its like you control a city in a county and you can work with the other cities in your county to make your county thrive. Other than that I believe the game runs and looks great. Played about 10 hours in 3 days haven't been kicked off yet. I don't agree with the 5.0 score, Diablo 3 is online only and didn't get nerfed that bad
@Quaxillaz I've been a SimCity fan since the SNES version, I'm an architect and urban designer: I think it is worth it, the new engine has a lot of potential. I really hope they eventually get to fix and expand the series, if not, maybe simcity 6 will be amazing. Still, most console games are more expensive and give you a lot less hours of gametime.
@Quaxillaz If you really must see a new Simcity engine, it's worth a look now that Best Buy has it for $39.99.
The engine is pretty cool if you've ever scene a model train set that's the idea. It's a damn shame that they fudged it up with the always online aspect of the game.
I got a copy for a really good price $30.
Even if servers worked perfectly the game would still be crap. Honestly even if it could be played offline it would still be crap. A 5.0 is pretty generous in this case.
not getting the game not because the game is no good. it just that i dont want to support EA and its ludicrous DRM and day one DLC.
What I found saddest about the new SimCity. Is that it is nothing like the old SimCity and left me with a hole in my wallet and a very critical eye on Origen. I will probably not be buying their products in the future.
Haven't played the game, but watch a few gameplay and I'm quite dissapointed that you have a very tiny small little plot for your city... compared to Simcity 4
SERVER BUSY, that screen / feature shouldn't even be in the freaking game, I mean a single player game, seriously! A single player game that forces to play semi-multiplayer and puts you in a queue even if you don't want to play online? When will publishers learn (Ubisoft anyone?)
Epic Fail's "quote of the week" goes to Eurogamer Sweden with their 100% review score :- "Sim City is a clear candidate for Game of the Year"
This online move is a blatent effort to monetize this title and keep the companies fingers as deeply inside the players bank accounts as they can get. This sort of activity is ruining good franchise titles all over. Just look at the disaster that is Diablo 3. That game is now universally abhorred and a failure. Everyone I know personally who bought it regrets the purchase and wishes they had not bought the title. I foresee the same thing happening with this iteration of SimCity.
I will never buy a game that tries to do this to its customers. And I also now have a much lower opinion of MAXIS as a company for allowing this to happen to one of its premier titles. I did not purchase this newest SimCity, and I will probably think long and hard before touching anything from MAXIS in the future.
I applaud Gamespot, CBS Interactive and Kevin VanOrd for producing another straight shooting review. Without honest reviews the readership suffers. Ultimately the financials for the parent company also suffer because readers find dishonesty repulsive.
True Reviews allow developers to improve their games (or at least their sequels) and the industry as a whole benefits. Good job guys. Keeping doing the difficult work of telling it straight.
@Redsyrup Oh please. Kevin is a hack writer and a crap gamer. Any reviewer that judges a game based on a shaky start loses credibility. GS reviews are outdated and in their execution and flawed in their wildly inconsistent rubrics. All I have to site is FF14 for evidence. Took one look at it and discarded it. Now it's a great game, but GS still sets it low. This site is a joke.
I have no problem with your opinion because designing a game is HARD WORK and takes dedication, even if it is Super Mario Bros.
The only problem i do have personally is that you don't release a buggy flawed game for $59.99 when i could get Dishonored for the same price and everything works as it should...
@Crimson_Erskine @Redsyrup are you kidding? ff14 was a unfinished game when they sent it to gamespot and released it. it was panned everywhere because of that fact. SE so embarresed by the reviews and state of the game let players play for free for a year and then two years later decided to actually finish the game after much trial and error... take your fanboy crying elsewhere and please state facts before you come back here
Why do people still use the "yes this game sucked when released, but it will (hopefully) be fixed in the future" defense?? I'm still amazed by some game companies. If a game is still in the developmental, unfinished, or to put it plainly "suck stage", why release it? Blizzard always push back release dates for their games, and look how amazing all of them are, even with the launch server disasters. Simcity is no excuse.
@Cappeduccino I don't think someone from Maxis deliberately said "there are bugs but we'll release it anyway." The Beta's were working fine it seemed. I believe they truly thought the game was complete, until the mass number of players never tested in that large sum before, caught some things and the server issue is somewhat to blame too. Things are improving now. The server issue that Gamespot was so unfairly focused on in this review, is non-existent anymore. This game deserves so much better than a 5.0. For those who believe reviews over personal experience are going to miss out, especially if they are SimCity Fans.
@jcove2050 @Cappeduccino Developers and publishers always know the state of a game on release. They're not stupid or innocent or whatever you'd like to believe. I'm a long-term game developer and I can promise you - games are intentionally released, unfinished, because of money. Pure greed and little care for the buying public. EA knew exactly what it was doing and assuming a stupid cattle-minded public would simply buy a flawed product and wait until it was really finished. Speak with your wallets - don't buy unfinished games. Would you buy an unfinished car or maybe an unfinished washing machine? Good luck getting your clothes washed ;)
The server issue is because the game was DESIGNED to require a server connection and it never should have been. They lied about how necessary it was and they won't back away from it. Gameplay problems due to design decisions are most CERTAINLY fair game when review time comes. And the server issues were just the tip of the iceberg...
I had to read your post twice when I got to the part you mentioned Blizzard as a good example. I have 3 words for you my friend: "Diablo 3 sucked".
like i said , they did this online thing to butthurt pirate gamers ... EA thought with always online game , pirate gamers won't be able to enjoy the game .
but EA is hurting its own ass even more :p
@kingcrimson24 Online play was the mission and vision for the game, it's got nothing to do with what EA wanted or didn't want. It's no different than when a business creates a vision and a mission for their company, everything that business does should align with that mission and vision. Every game is a project (or business if you will) a good project should have a mission and vision in order to be successful and every decision made for that project should align with that mission and vision. You may disagree with their vision for this project, but they stayed true to that. The world is going online, facebook, twitter, all of these things are proof that people starve for this social aspect. Like it or not, online is the future. If you ask me this was a very wise business decision.
@jcove2050 @kingcrimson24 Sorry, but a game where the only multiplayer aspect is some trading, is miles away from needing to be always online. It clearly was a design focused on preventing piracy. Absolutly. They could have done that city trading much simplier.
Avoiding piracy should NEVER harm paying customers. And paying customers can't play on vacations now if they don't have a connection, just to say one of the many failures of this "online" game.
@kingcrimson24 Actual they almost ready to release a pirated very that is better then a legal version.
Yep...may DRM fanaticism and "thou-shalt-be-online-while-playing-games" bring down more and more games...and bring down despicable publishers and developers. Amen.
Ten days after release, this review is irrelevant. Today, for the worse, lots of games are released unfinished and with poor online connectivity (remember Battlefield 3 launch) and fixed later. The same way that news articles are updated, reviews could also do the same to remain relevant.
@ClaudiusCaesar People are still encountering game-crippling bugs, due to this design decision. Saves are lost. City interconnectivity doesn't work. The basic simulation engine is comically broken. If anything, this score is too high. EA rushed SimCity to release, hoping to get a success on their balance sheet before the end of the fiscal year. They released a broken product. They should not be rewarded for this behavior, and scores should not be altered to reflect damage-control patches released weeks and months after the launch.
@ClaudiusCaesar i dunno about that though, looks like the Metacritic score has gone down from a 67 to a 64 ten days after release. That might indicate that the issues go beyond mere connection problems. Design decisions, gameplay features, general disappointment (again beyond the server and bug problems) don't change very much.
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