previews\ Feb 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm

The Final Countdown: SimCity


Welcome to The Final Countdown, GameZone's newest series where we get hyped about games that are just around the corner! As the hours pass, we are counting down the reasons you should be excited (or worried) about upcoming major releases.

SimCity has become the obsessive focus of so many gamers since its announcement. With less than a week left until its release, it is practically ours already. You’ve selected your region, planned out your specialization, and created a coven of friends to coordinate your gameplay -- I get it.

March 5th is right around the corner. Origin users have the city building simulator at the brink of their fingertips. For the first time your SimCity will focus on quality over quantity when it comes to city building. Your plot of land will be smaller thus more focus of what you want to accomplish will be necessary. A bit of pre-urban planning can go a long way.

With all that said and hinted at, let’s venture into some of the high points of EA's SimCity.

SimCity Streets

One town, one specialization

This feature plays off the whole quality over quantity theme. If you want to make a gambling focused city, you’re going to want to have as many casinos as you can get away. Will you have room for a bunch of industrial complexes? What about colleges? Oil digging? Probably not. You’re going to want casinos, commercial districts, some places for you workers to live, and probably some transportation. Your space will rapidly run out. Did I mention casinos bring high crime levels? I hope you didn’t forget room for those police departments.

Through specializations you focus more on what you want and not so much on the whole. You’re doing your part in the region and hopefully your neighbors are helping out in some way. This leads me to my next point.

Play with friends!

Using my previous example with the casino city, what if I don’t have enough police departments? If my neighbor has a solid police force, low crime, and the resources, he/she can send me some cops to fill my void. If my casinos are over flowing with trash, perhaps another neighbor can send over some dump trucks. This is where multiplayer comes in. If you gather a bunch of friends together and pre-plan what your city will specialize in, you can absolutely maximize your efficiency.

For the first time ever there will be multiplayer in a SimCity game. If as a whole you cover the majority of the possibilities across several friend-made cities, you will truly see your region shine. Sure, you could all create casino cities, but think of the efficiency!

Up close and personal with your city

This feature is a personal favorite of mine. You can zoom the camera to hover directly over specific areas in your city. From here you can hear the sounds like you’re actually there; you can see traffic clog and your Sims individually live their lives. If you want, you can even click on a Sim and follow him/her around for a day. The mere fact that each Sim has their own house, own job, own life is remarkable. There is so much going on in one individual day in SimCity on the surface that it could quite possibly blow your mind.

SimCity Graphs

Graphs galore

Will Wright said it best in his interview, the new SimCity keeps your eyes off numbers. What he meant by this is that the only raw numbers you really ever deal with are population and currency. Everything else you need to know is presented to you in easy to read, color coordinated graphs. These designs even use your city as a blueprint to show you exactly where and what needs you attention. If you want to know something, you can find it in a graph.

Trial and error

With any simulator game, I feel the need for trial and error my first few days. To see how your play style fits the kit handed to you, what works, and what synergizes well are all key to future successes. What road pattern did you use? Was a in that location there the right choice? Why aren’t these factories doing well? These are all questions that can be answered with some hands-on time. From the beta, I can tell you now, SimCity is going to have a whole trial and error learning curve. Sure, some people want things spelled out for them or even a strategy to follow, but that’s just not me. Give me a blank plot and let’s see what glory of havoc I can commit.

Excitement. Overload. 

About The Author
Andrew Clouther Human, historian, teacher, writer, reviewer, gamer, League of Pralay, Persona fanboy, and GameZone paragon - no super powers as of yet. Message me on the Twitters: @AndrewC_GZ
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