Platform: PC, OS X
Release Date: March 8, 2013 (PC) & August 29, 2013 (OS X)
Since SimCity came into my life, I’ve taken a break from real life, and found solace in the online world of dazzling skyscrapers, where I am the mayor of a successful and wealthy metropolis, specialising in exporting high-tech goods. Due to its downright addictive nature, myself and my housemates have inevitably missed several lectures, becoming a nocturnal being in the process.
SimCity is pretty self-explanatory: you run several cities on Sim time, making sure that everyone is reasonably happy. You’ve been playing for a while, got your city perfect (as you are essentially God), and then WHAM! Maxis send you a tornado that cripples your Nuclear Power Plant, ending in results similar to Chernobyl. Or even a life-like giant fire-breathing lizard comes and destroys your oil power plant, whilst simultaneously a UFO abducts all the high wealth occupants of your municipality.
Once you get past the typically slow installation process, the game itself is fairly speedy. Without one of Origin’s specialised gaming computers, I have to play on extremely low graphics settings or experience an incredibly laggy game. On installation, I was recommended to buy a new graphics card, but being a student, I cannot afford this option. However, with all this being said, the game runs pretty smoothly, and I haven’t experienced any major speed issues.
Annoyingly, when I close my laptop lid, and re-open it, I find that it’s unable to reconnect to the servers, forcing me to exit the game and have to re-load it all again. Nevertheless, kudos to them, they incorporated an automatic save feature which sends all the gameplay to the servers, and if the game were to crash, no data would be lost as would have painfully happened in previous generations of SimCity.
One thing I am looking forward to is the offline version coming out later this year, allowing access to the game no matter what the internet connectivity is like, hence making the commute to York a lot more interesting. Though the game was created to be played explicitly online to combat piracy issues and integrate a multiplayer aspect, ‘Update 10’ will allow new features such as solo playing and modding.
On the whole, SimCity is really enjoyable to play and it has greatly advanced since SimCity 4. The skyscrapers are impressively realistic, with interesting 3D elements that emphasise the amount of work that Maxis has put into the game. For the most part, the online element has been personally trouble free, but equally, I cannot wait for the offline version to be released for troublesome times without internet access.