I pre-ordered SimsCity on my Origin, so yesterday I received an opportunity to try the closed beta of the game from 5 pm 9 pm! And like any normal humans would do, I dropped all the works I have and dived into the game when clock strikes 5. After playing a couple of hours, I have to tell you that I’m glad I pre-ordered the game- it is one of the well detailed and “constructed” game I ever played.
When first enter the game, it offers a very easy to understand tutorial process that allows players to learns the mechanic of the game. I admit that this is the first time I play the SimsCity series, but I have past experience with city building games such as Machi-ing Maker series. However, the moment I go through the tutorial I know I was out of my league. SimsCity game is very sophisticated that players not only have to make their citizens happy, they also have to worry about utility problems such as electricity and water…etc. Then the game goes ahead and becomes more detail by asking players to get rid off city’s waste and sewage problems. These are all something that the Machi-ing Maker series doesn’t have, and I really appreciate the sophistication.
The tutorial than informs me I can somehow in contact with others players’ cities and share our products with each others. Like supplying them electricity, or import products that they specialize. The rest of the tutorial is pretty straight forward- police station, school, fire fighter, hospital… etc. Cool. A long, but well-informed tutorial comes to an end and I should be good to play the game, right? RIGHT?
I start a new game by creating a region I want to build the city on. Since this is a beta game, there’s only one region to choose from. I name the region Skyrim cause I’m awesome like that- and I screw-up the moment the game starts. I place roads all over the place until I learn that no one can enter my city, because the roads aren’t connect to the freeway. So I delete all the roads to build new one just to find out I ran out of money already! It turns out that it cost money to build roads in this game! This is the first time that I play any city building games that it costs to build roads. Now I’m stuck in a situation without roads, without citizens to make me money for roads and an empty game. So I delete the game and start a new one.
It’s easy to build buildings in the game. All you have to do is zoning the street you build into one of the three categories (residential, commercial and industrial), and buildings will be built automatically. While this might be handy to most players, I find this kind of lame. One thing I like the most about Machi-ing Maker series is the fact that you get to place your favorite stores in the city. I want to see my citizens go to a TGIF, or buy thing from Target. I know it’s a stretch for America games to place actual stores in them without causing some kind of copyright problems, but shouldn’t a game like this gives you freedom to place any stores and anywhere you want? Same can be say about the housings as well. All the housings start off as small residential house, and through the game they rebuild into skyscraper apartments. Why can’t I decide what kind of housing I want so I can create a residential neighborhood and a metropolitan area? This is really a big issue for me, and hopefully it’s only a beta thing. The real game will be better.
Another big issue I have with the game is relocation, which is something that it doesn’t seem to have. For example, I built a sewage plant at a place where it doesn’t make sense anymore as the city expands. But I don’t want to bulldoze the place and rebuild it, I just want to relocate the plant so I don’t waste my money. It seems like such a simple thing to have, but maybe I just don’t know how to do so.
It’s satisfying to accomplish something in the game and see the smiley faces on citizens houses. It’s also satisfying to get rid off the problem for the citizens. One thing I enjoy the most about this game that others don’t have is the government feature. In this feature, you can see details on how much your city is earning, and how much it spending. And you can also increase or decrease taxes accordingly. It’s also fun to expand public facilities such as hospital or police station. Adding extra rooms for patients or garage for patrol cars are just some charms this game has for letting you become a better mayor.
The multiplayer system can be fun if you have good neighbors. As I stated earlier, neighboring cities can do trade for you, or provide services. However, it only works when you’re playing with fun players. When I was playing, not only my neighbors never answer me back, I even go ahead and provide them water! Ungrateful bastards! Also, I have no idea how the game find me neighbors, cause they just pop out of thin air. It’s is my proximity?
One thing I have mix feelings with is the disasters. During the two hours I was playing, I encountered a tornado, alien invasion and Godzilla! While tornado makes sense, but alien and Godzilla? It’s fun to see things happen, but it’s sad and bizarre to see my city being destroy by such out of the world situations. I guess I will feel better if I can do something to prevent them. There’s a section that wasn’t unlocked for beta and hopefully in the real game I can do something to prevent it.
Overall, the game is fun and it has great playing values. Of course there’re problems I picked on, but hopefully all these problems will go away in the real game. I’m planning on review the real game when it comes out as well. If you haven’t pre-order the game yet go ahead and do it because it’s totally awesome.