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SimCity Societies Destinations - PC - Review


Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 7.8 Good

Those who have played the fabled city simulator SimCity know what a bear it can be. At times it feels simple, but just as you are getting comfortable, the game makes you feel like you need to have a degree in city planning to survive. Your beautiful little dream town turns into a congested nightmare.

So EA Games came up with SimCity Societies, a title that made the experience a lot more friendly and inviting. The game was sort of SimCity meets Tropico. Now EA Games is bringing in an expansion for SC Societies entitled Destinations. Though in this expansion, rather than continue to build your city for living sims, you are building to attract tourism. That’s it, in a nutshell.

Destinations in not a change in the core game, nor does it bring depth to the core game. Rather it acts like an expansion that just brings in new items to put into your city. For example, if you want sims to visit, why not plan for and drop in a theme park? From the smaller items, like casinos, to all-inclusive resorts, Destinations asks players to boost the local economy by attracting tourists.

There are new maps for your towns, and some of these do have natural attractions that can serve as a basis for your town. And, of course, because you have set goals in place when building your town – benchmarks by which to measure your success … consider them scenario objectives – Destinations also brings in tourist-industry goals.

But there seems to be a bit of a problem with the game in that the sims of your town won’t benefit directly by visiting any attractions you build. In fact, they don’t even seem to visit them. But if you plan your town well, tourists – drawn by your attractions – will visit local shops and stores, bringing more economic growth to your town.  

All that aside, though, not much else has changed. The game still has the same general look (with a few new effects – more on that in a moment), the same sound and plays the same. Destinations does add a new layer of challenges and makes city planning a bit more involved, but in all honesty, because you could create a viable town with the free downloads and the tools in place, catering to tourists is not a must-have addition.

Of course, the game does have some fun stuff. There are new disasters that can be unleashed in your town and some of the effects that go along with the tourist attractions are a decent bit of eye candy.

Perhaps the key issue with this game is that if you had already built a very solid city, you may find yourself starting anew simply to plan for your resort areas. You have to plan these carefully and the game does have new landmarks that can be used when creating the local for your city. For example, you can’t simply drop a snowy mountain or volcano anywhere; they have to be planned for and the community needs to be considered before you spend vast amounts of simoleans in creating your tourist-based burg.

Societies has had a share of free downloads. In some regards, the content of Destinations might have been handled the same way or maybe as a reduced-price downloadable package. The content and challenges are decent, but this is not one of those packages that truly create a new gaming vibe. It’s just a slightly different take on a familiar theme.

Review Scoring Details for SimCity Societies Destinations

Gameplay: 7.5
The rating does not reflect the original game, but rather what this expansion brings to the game. Nothing much is new here.  

Graphics: 8.5
Solid graphics that are pleasant and get the job done. This is still a nice element to the game. Destinations does not go for that realistic approach but rather pulls off the light-hearted simulation very nicely.

Sound: 7.5
A few new sounds associated with the attractions, but this just does not have anything you will be cranking up the volume for.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Concept: 7.8
Something feels awfully familiar here … What should be a fresh addition just doesn’t have much depth.

Overall: 7.8
Destinations does a nice job with the packaging. The disk GameZone received was a rather robust version, with all the Societies’ updates and the new content. What is included here is fine, but it seems that Societies is heading in the same direction as The Sims 2 – offer an expansion with just enough content to make it new but without delving deeply into the game and bringing a whole new robust experience. This is a decent expansion, but it is not a must-have one.

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