SimSlum

I have less than zero interest in the latest SimCity.

Granted, I have not played a Sim City since SimCity 2000, or Streets of SimCity if that counts. Indeed, Streets of SimCity was perhaps one of my favorite PC games from the 90s (has it really been two decades?) precisely because you could import your SimCity 2000 save files and then drive around at street-level. One of the augmentations to your vehicle, aside from rocket launchers and machine guns, was a sort of gliding mechanism that allowed you to fly around if you hit a sufficiently high hill. So, of course, I would use the infinite money “cheat” (about as silly as saying Minecraft building-mode is cheating) to construct the largest possible hills and then sail my way across thriving metropolises. SimCopter, I believe, also allowed you to fly around your own cities, but I never had that game.

Regardless, the latest SimCity has a number of fairly baffling changes to the core formula, the foremost of which is a sort of forced multiplayer integration, from which all other terrible design flows. Yes, you can play it single-player… by creating your own private region and not inviting other people in. But the concept of “regions” at all exists because the default is building cities connected to other peoples’ cities. Which, in a vacuum (preferably the vacuum of space), is fine if it were not for the results:

  • No offline mode.
  • No individual Save/Loads. As in, you cannot build your city up, unleash a disaster, then reload once you’ve had your fill.
  • Rollbacks due to server strain/lag/failure means you can lose hours of progress.
  • Individual cities are microscopic compared to the series.
  • No ability to landscape the terrain.

If I have mischaracterized any of the above qualities, please let me know.

Again, this is somewhat moot considering I skipped over SimCity 3 and 4, making it unlikely I was going to purchase SimCity 5 to begin with. But… well, this sort of direction for a venerable franchise makes me less likely to ever buy back in. I never really “got” the people who decried radical franchise reboots like Syndicate until this version of SimCity came out. Interacting with individual Sims is cool and all, but the rest of the social nonsense was never what these games were about, at least to me. And yet, now, to an entirely new generation of gamers, it will be.

Sigh. Get off my lawn.

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Posted on March 7, 2013, in Commentary and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. In short, 60E for a game equivalent to any of those free-to-play flash-based game which are bound to vanish one day or another at the producer’s whim.
    I did play Simcity quite a bit, actually, and I have some boxed versions lying somewhere. But I’ll pass on this one.

  2. Yeah, you could import your SimCity 2000 cities into SimCopter. I loved that game. Right up there with SimAnt.

    I was never able to find a copy of Streets though, which annoyed me back in the day.