Biggest Games Of 2013: SimCity

EA’s upcoming real estate juggernaut SimCity 2013, has the unenviable task of pleasing millions of fans across the world, a…

Barry O Halloran

Contributor

simcity_2013_gamescom_techgames_01

EA’s upcoming real estate juggernaut SimCity 2013, has the unenviable task of pleasing millions of fans across the world, a feat made even more impossible by the fact that each and every player wants something totally different from their own unique experience. But how exactly do you cater for every player who has a different idea about what makes SimCity good?

Some players want to build huge sprawling cities where skyscrapers rule the skyline, while others want a more personal experience, a town where they can keep an eye on everything from the birds and the bees to the grass and the trees. Like any simulation, choice is a key aspect when it comes to designing an open world sandbox but as difficult as this may seem, developer Maxis seems to have achieved their goal. Get ready to say goodbye to your social life.

Why It Could Be Amazing:

Players will still be able to build multiple cities and towns but this time the level of interaction is exceptional. Everything has a place and every decision matters. Do you want your town to produce food for neighbouring cities? Or do you want to build a sprawling metropolis that provides jobs for your citizens? Do you want to build a city that strives on education? It’s all possible.

Developer Maxis hopes that its new intuitive management system is the first step in this direction. Happiness, not money, makes the SimCity world go around so teamwork and cooperation are vital if you wish to succeed. EA have placed a huge emphasis on connectivity so everything you do will have a knock on effect for other players. It will be cool to share resources and trade technology, all while improving your own city. Similarly, think of the mayhem you could cause if you decide to raise the taxes for players using your power plants. I’m sure nobody would be that evil though.

Whatever way you decide to play, every action you make will be held accountable by other players in the SimCity hub. There are literary hundreds of options to try and millions of things to experience, all beautifully laid out in breathtaking detail. Cities in a region are connected to each other via predefined regional networks such as highways, railways, and waterways. Elements such as traffic and air pollution will affect the whole Sim world, not just your city. In order for your city to truly thrive, you will need to attract tourists, but it’s not just human players who you will have to answer to.

This time every citizen in your city is fully interactive, meaning every Sim will have their own goals and desires. Some will be content to live in a friendly,safe neighborhood while others will want you to build colleges and universities. If EA gets the balance right, players might find themselves under pressure from virtual characters in building a virtual city. Who said games have to be dumb?

Why It Could Be Terrible:

The best thing about the original SimCity titles was the level of escapism. There was nothing better than creating a huge city, saving it and then destroying it. The world was one big sandbox. EA’s decision to make this iteration online only will put a stop to most of these scenarios. I know you can create multiple cities so destroying one is still possible but it’s not the same. Why they took away this feature is beyond me.

The game itself requires an active Internet connection at all times, and an account through EA’s controversial ‘Origin’ DRM service. There is no offline mode, so forget about playing on the go. Also, all your games will be stored on an EA server, if the profits are not high enough, EA may shut down these servers and you may no longer be able to play. EA have done this before with other games so it could yet prove to be a disastrous mistake.

Potential Rating: 3/5

The always online connection required to play will be a major turn off for fans of the originals. I’m all for putting a stop to piracy but Maxis are going about it the wrong way. If this game sells poorly, what happens then? It seems silly in this day and age for developers to still be making amateur mistakes such as this and it could cost EA some serious sales. Not even being able to save your city without an internet connection is just plain stupid.

Saying that, SimCity will still sell well. The addictive gameplay of the originals is alive and well, spruced up in glorious presentation. The fact that everything is laid out clearly also adds to the immersion. The promise of customization will also attract die hard fans meaning SimCity will be a success, just maybe not the wildly popular success EA expect.