Simcity’s Sudden Stop

Simcity 2013

I’m one of the lucky few that has managed to put in some decent time with Simcity. This makes me both a target of envy, admiration and hatred for certain people, but I am okay with that. It hasn’t been a smooth ride the entire way so far, but I’ve managed to keep my cool and have a lot of fun with it.

But what strikes me as problematic is the size of the land you are given on which to build your city. It’s small. This is nothing new: it has been a concern for quite a while, going back to early previews of the game. But here we are, not even a week out and my city’s space is at capacity, with a population of just over 50,000. Granted, this is my first attempt at a city and I imagine the next attempt will be more efficient and better suited to increasing the population, but I can’t help but wonder if the smaller cities is a detriment to the overall experience.

I know this is part of EA’s broader multi-player philosophy of the game: several players in one region, working together to make each other stronger as a cohesive unit as opposed to a standalone city that is not affected by the outside world. But is that what players really want out of Simcity? Don’t we want to experiment with things in the quest to build a mega-city that makes New York look like a hamlet? I appreciate the streamlined mechanics that don’t require the mind-numbing tasks of building powerlines, waterlines and sewage pipes, but that with these pros come several cons.

For example, it doesn’t behoove you to make a city with all the trimmings you would normally find in Simcity. You don’t need water, waste disposal, hospitals, casinos, oil wells or any number of other services you might build for yourself because you can purchase these from other players in your region. This is totally optional; you can still make all those things if you want, which is what I did. But what I have is a city where I can’t get to the oil underground because I had to build all these things over the oil fields. Now, I would have to demolish several prosperous skyscrapers in order to continue my oil specialization. Which I am tempted to do because, as I stated, I am out of room. I am fine-tuning my city, but I am not really building it anymore, just maintaining. Unless I choose the drastic measures of tearing things down in order to change my specialization. What I have done, by building hospitals and police departments and casinos is become a jack of all trades and a master of none.

This kind of system can allow for experimentation: you can build several cities and each one can focus on a different aspect, but none of them can become the self-reliant juggernaut we are accustomed to in previous Simcity games. Which might be more realistic, but it isn’t as fun. The game is still a blast to play and insanely addicting but there is this nagging feeling that I am not going to be spend nearly as much time with it as I did in the past. It’s still new and I am still working out the kinks and figuring out the systems of the game, but I can’t shake the sensation that the Simcity we knew is gone, replaced by a version that is so close to being flawless that its shortcomings are thrown into sharp relief.

Has the GamerSushi Nation had a chance to play this yet? What do you think so far, all technical issues aside?

Written by

Age: 34 PSN ID: Starkiller81. I've played games since before I can remember, starting with my dad's Atari and I haven't stopped yet. Keep them coming and I will keep playing them.

2 thoughts on “Simcity’s Sudden Stop”

  1. I haven’t played it yet, and don’t plan to. But the multiplayer aspect just bothers me. SimCity has never been a multiplayer game, and it doesn’t need to be. It could be part of EA’s campaign to no longer make singleplayer-only games, but regardless, I just can’t see it working in the long run. I don’t play SimCity to work with others in small, confined chunks like a community patchwork quilt. I play SimCity to make the greatest Utopia on my own (or Dystopia. I really like those natural disasters). I build it myself, manage it myself, and tweak it myself. I play it to be God, Mayor, and everything in between. Outsourcing all these aspects of the game to other players takes the challenge and the fun out of building and running your city. Your city isn’t really “yours” anymore. The game’s elevator pitch is effectively gone.

    What happens 2-3 years from now when most of the user base has abandoned SimCity? If you can’t efficiently access oil in your city, then you’re screwed, unless you can find somebody still playing who can provide oil. I can boot up SimCity 3000 and be all set. What happens when EA shuts down SimCity servers? The game is effectively dead. I can spin up SimCity 3000 in my computer and have everything I need to make a prosperous city, plus I can play it right off the bat. SimCity wasn’t given that same luxury.

    I know you (and maybe Nick) have put some time into the game. Does SimCity have microtransactions? How are they implemented?

Comments are closed.