The PC gaming world has changed dramatically in the decade since the release of “SimCity 4,” and with the release of “SimCity” on Tuesday, Maxis and Electronic Arts are looking to regain a spot at the PC gaming table. Reviews have been pouring in and have been overwhelmingly positive, marking a triumphant return for the city-building franchise that started it all.
Perhaps the most notable thing about “SimCity” is not the game itself but the changes made by EA, chief among them the concept of “SimCity” being an online gaming experience. With the need for a dedicated Internet connection, “SimCity” is played online through EA servers, and on launch day, those servers were plagued with problems as countless new users tried to get online and play the game. Some users were unable to log into EA’s servers while others were disconnected in the middle of playing “SimCity,” causing plenty of frustration and strange game glitches.
One of the first major reviews of “SimCity” comes from Polygon, which has revised its initial rating of the game down to 8. Polygon initially gave “SimCity” a 9.5 out of a 10, and many of the reasons for that score are still valid after the downgrade. In the review, Russ Pitts notes the addictive nature of “SimCity” as users plan, build and develop their virtual city. “Every element of this game has been perfectly and patiently engineered to engender an endorphin rush of accomplishment,” he wrote.
The core concept of “SimCity” remains intact, to create, build and maintain a thriving city, but with plenty of updates, most notably in the graphics department. It’s simple enough: Pick a location, place a city, build a road and provide services to the virtual citizens, but EA introduces many little elements that cause “SimCity” to become incredibly addictive, notes Polygon. Aside from the technical strengths, “SimCity” lets you have fun with scenarios such as alien invasions or a zombie apocalypse.
“SimCity” would be a great game if not for the server issues from needing to be “always online.” Polygon revised their score from a 9.5 all the way down to 8 due several problems associated with the “always online” component of “SimCity.” According to Polygon, “members of our staff, other members of the press, and an anecdotally large portion of our readership are having moderate to severe difficulty playing the game. This likely-temporary scenario nonetheless affects our recommendation of SimCity, and we advise caution for the time being before diving headfirst into the game.”
GamesBeat also has high praise, noting the great tutorial, immersive world, rich graphics, strong attention to detail and many social aspects, saying, “The game is as enchanting as it was when it first debuted so many years ago.” GamesBeat did not update its review to reflect the launch day experience.
Mike Fahey from Kotaku also discusses many great features, and frustrations, of “SimCity,” although a full review is not up yet at the site. Kotaku also reported plenty of problems with launch day servers, which are crucial for anyone buying this game as they need to be connected to an EA server in order to play “SimCity.”
On Twitter, many want to play “SimCity” but are having server glitches. Duncan Jones, director of “Moon,” said jokingly, “Somewhere, someone is celebrating having lowered the crime rate in their SimCity & I'm not even playing yet. There is no justice.” Game Informer executive editor Andrew Reiner said, “Wait... What if SimCity's login issues, tutorial issues, and online issues are the new disasters, replacing tornados, robots, and fires?”
Tuesday night, user Stephen Tolito said, “SimCity malfunctions, forces me to force quit. The server where my city is now has a 20-minute queue. What a joke.” With the server malfunctions plaguing the U.S. launch, EA promises a smooth international rollout of “SimCity,” reports Cnet UK.
You can view one gamer’s “SimCity” experience below.
Charles Poladian joined IBTimes in October 2012 and, when not reporting on all things topical, can be found reading or photographing concerts.