The best city-building game ever! Why? Because......

User Rating: 8.5 | SimCity 4 PC
When looking back at the best simulator games, city building games have never been fully appreciated. Is it because there are so few of these games, or just because no one cares about building cities? But, take a look again. You will see that there is one particular series that reach the epitome of city building perfection. You could do anything with your city, whether that be making it the ritziest place in the country, or turning your city into a slum filled wih criminals, with only bad intentions for your city. What game series could this be? The SimCity series, and along comes the latest installment: SimCity 4.

SimCity 4 is a game like no other. It manages to mix strategy, city building, and even some comical moments making it the best of the best. Your goal is to build a city from the ground up, and manage things such as funds and taxes to maintain a good budget for your city. So, how do you make people come to your city? First, you have to enter a mode called the God Mode. Here, you have to terraform the landscape of your city, creating towering mountains, desolate islands, and huge bodies of water. When your have created the land, and adjusted it to your liking, you then begin the city building process. First, you have to lay out what is called "zones". There are a couple different types of zones; three to be precise: residential zones, commercial zones, ad industrial zones. To attract people to your city, you need to lay out a good balance of residential zones for places to live, commercial zones to distribute office jobs and services, and industrial zones to distribute industrial jobs. But, just because you lay out the zones doesn't mean that people will come.

Like in real life, people won't move in to your city if you don't provide power. Simple enough, you just need to build a power plant. But eventually, the people will start to complain, asking for police and fire stations, schools, and hospitals to be built in the city. Obviously, you can't build all of these so early in the game, as you can not afford it, which brings up another problem with SimCity 4. There is no real goal in SimCity 4; no missions, no objectives, nothing. SimCity 4 is pretty much just a giant sandbox mode. Sure, there are a couple of cities that are already made when you start the game, but not nearly as many as you would expect from this game. None the less, you don't need goals to have fun, so it isn't really that big of a flaw.

When the time comes, you're city population will leap to incredible heights. Then, people will start to complain about how long it takes to get to work, and your building may begin to become abandoned. Which brings up a second problem; the learning curve. SimCity 4 can be extremely difficult for newcomers, and you can't just play the game like an ordinary game; you are constantly having to do boring work, like adjusting taxes, increasing funding for utilities, and other things like that. You also have to build many mass transit vehicles, like trains and subways. The citizens of your city become very picky over time, and you can never seem to fully fulfill the wishes of your citizens. But, over time, if you create a good setup, your will satisfy your citizens. By the time you have experienced all of this, you are on your way to creating the perfect city, with all of the high rise building, landmarks, and towering office skyscrapers you could possibly imagine.

You can create a big, bustling metropolis like I previously said, but if that doesn't satisfy your wishes, then you can always destroy your city, just for fun. SimCity 4 allows you to unleash catastrophic disasters on your city. Do the people in a particular building complain too much? Send a giant robot to blow the building up. Feeling like causing some mass destruction? Plop a volcano in the middle of the downtown area, and watch the buildings collapse. It's all up to your imagination. But don't get too caught up in destroying your city; you are trying to build a good city, not destroy one.

Undoubtedly, SimCity 4 plays good. But, take a close look at your city. It appears as a busy, thriving place when at a stand. But, scroll a little to the left or right to see that everything bogs down to a slow state. The reason? SimCity 4 simply cannot keep up with fast movement, due to the bad framerate. This becomes an even bigger problem when your city grows to very large sizes. If Maxis would have only released SimCity 4 a little later, they may have been able to fix this problem. Never the less, SimCity 4 does look good, and the level of detail in your city is amazing. There is always something to see in your city; you can watch the police chase down criminals, or go to the scene of a car accident. Literally, your city never stands still.

While SimCity 4 is fun to play more than anything else, it does deliver some wacky orchestral pieces. Not to say that the music is bad; it is very good. As your city develops, the orchestral pieces will play. Some times, the music almost seems to fit the mood of your city; if your city is very busy, the music might be up-beat. If your city is going through some tough times, the music may be sad, and quiet. But, most of the time, the strange orchestral pieces don't see to fit the moment.

At first glance, SimCity 4 may not seem like a very serious game; but, take a deeper look, and you will find a gem of a video game. The amount of depth in SimCity 4 is incredible; there is always something happening in your city, even when your city is only composed on small suburbs. You can adjust everything to your liking; funds, taxes, literally anything. You can also add personal touches to your city, like giving names to buildings and places. Put it this way: when it comes down to it, the possibilities in SimCity 4 are endless.