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SimCity Review | ChristmasMelon

SimCity Review

7.5 Overall Score
Graphics: 8/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Simulation: 9/10

Simplistic and Intuitive Gameplay | Charming Art Style | Deep Simulation

Always Online DRM | AI Not As Clever As Promised | Slow Update Times In Multiplayer

In this review I will touch up on the DRM controversy, but I will not make it a big part of the review as I am sure you’ve heard enough about it and although the game was release almost a month ago, I feel it fair to review it after what had gone down as far a DRM with the title.

SimCity is the sixth in the series of SimCity games all of which give you a deep simulation of running a city, as partly described in the title of the game.

In this game, you, the player are given the task of founding a region of cities, then developing one or all of the cities in that region, whilst also maintaining the happiness of your citizens and keeping your budget in the green.

This has always been the case with SimCity games, except Maxis have brought something new to the table, in that other online players can join your region, mine aptly named “The Shire”, and can claim one of the cities in that region, except Bag End, that’s mine.

Together or by yourself you have to work to make conditions adequate for the development of the different zones you have in your city.

First on the agenda is roads, but don’t go and spend your entire budget on them, else you’ll find it hard climbing back up that ladder, instead you pick Low Density roads in hope of upgrading them later.
After this you zone for want you need and if your conditions are good i.e low tax rates, power, water and sewage are available, then income the residents, industry and commercial alike to help you develop your city.

Art and design

In this release of SimCity, the art has taken a few pages from a popular previous SimCity spin off  “The Sims”, and those who play “The Sims 3″ will be greatly accustomed to the art style and the user interface.

This art style is far from photo-realistic, which is what gives it it’s charm.
What sets it from the rest of the SimCity series though (barring SimCity Societies) is that it is featuring full 3D graphics, mixed together with the style of this game, it is very appealing to spend hours at a time looking at.

At max settings, the game really is beautiful, and the post-processing affects like Tilt shift stop you from the seeing the low poly 3D models when you zoom in, which is a plus in my book as it helps me to be immersed as mayor of Bag End. (Despite constantly hovering over the city and plopping structures with my fingertips, I just imagine I’m in a helicopter with a crane attached.)

Game play

The reason that game play works so well is down to fluidity and simplicity, after all, you can’t spell simplicity without SimCity, I’ll just be leaving now…
The user interface and the helpful tutorials pack together to give you a great understanding of how intricate the game really is and how minor things can affect the city massively, for example I made the terrible mistake of placing my housing downwind of the industry and sewage, meaning that my land value decreases, which has a big impact on development.

The game requires you to be constantly involved, look away for a second and you could have a zombie apocalypse on your hands.
However with this you do feel as if the city depends on you, so you have to be responsible… sometimes.

During game play different Sims will give you missions, all of them optional but you get bonuses if completed.

On huge notable feature of the game has to be how deep the simulation is, although the claim from EA and Maxis that each Sim in your town has their own AI is not strictly true, it works to some extent, to show this off zoom in on one Sim, select it and click follow,  with this you can see most of their daily routine and how they feel about it.


Whenever you select a city you’ll notice that it has different resources; Ore, Coal, Oil, Wind and Water so you can set up your city to specialise in one of these fields, but it is most definitely not limited to this.

You can specialise in gambling, tourism, drilling and many more, but each has their own consequence so watch out and plan ahead.


This is where the game gets really interesting for myself.
You start of with a region that has say, 5 cities in it, each with their own different special traits, well you can then invite your friends to come and join you in that region and to claim one of your cities.

Working alongside one another you start to share different supplies, for example if one of the cities is rich in power, instead of running your own power plant and taking up precious space doing so you can just buy power from your friends city, but say your friend doesn’t have enough workers, then your workers will commute to their city to work, this is almost seamless except it takes a short while for things to update, but I find this feature of the game absolutely smashing and a great advancement for the SimCity series.


I feel that this has to be touched upon as it has cause quite the controversy over the last month.
SimCity is compiled with an always online DRM, which if you ask me is ridiculous and hasn’t stopped anybody.
Maxis and EA also stated that there was no way to remove this always online DRM, except given half the chance users have already been able to make it work offline, so either this is a blatant lie from the companies or there are some mis-communications, personally I believe it to be lying.
Upon release however this caused havoc  resulting in many player not being able to connect to the always online servers due to the amount of traffic they were receiving, I am appalled at both companies for this stunt as it meant terrible things for their custom.

Also, handing out a free game was pleasant, but have not redeemed them.

But with all things considered the problems that occurred will not affect my overall-score how ever the always online part will.


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Author: Jordan Moseley View all posts by

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