Review: SimCity's endless fun despite strict limitations
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It seems as though I'll have to turn to the overall SimCity community, many of which I admit are way more versed in the technicalities of this game than I. Today, for instance, I learned the exact differences between traffic patterns and road upgrades (it's not great to have all avenues, by the way). It's minor details like that which make the process of learning the intricacies of this game rewarding. There's so much that goes into the city.
The large amount of detail is made possible by the GlassBox game engine; it powers SimCity. Under the hood of SimCity is a powerful engine that takes the simplest packets of information and composes them together to create the inner-workings of a city. Every single element in your town, from the resources to the residents, is its own packet of information that affects the greater simulation when interacting with each other. Like a real city, everything is interconnected. Every action you perform and decision you make will have an effect on another area of your city. Building an oil power plant to power your city? Well, I hope you like pollution. It's tough decisions like this that will lead you to experiment and find the best fit in your city. And it's the constant toying and tinkering with that will keep you coming back to create a new city.
I'm not entirely convinced every system is working properly, however. At tech level three with nearly all of the education hats filled, I still had factories closing due to uneducated workers. It gets to a point where you almost don't know what more you can do. There's still a few bugs in the game, which Maxis is working feverishly to fix.
Graphically, SimCity has never been this gorgeous. You're no longer playing God from high above. Now, you can get to street view and watch your Sims live their lives. You can spend hours on the streets of your city, following individual Sims or simply capturing video or screenshots of your creation. Even something as simple as watching traffic flow is fun. And yes, I've spent hours watching my city's traffic to see if I can figure out the damn congestion problem.
I've realized it will take weeks, if not months, for me to have a solid understanding of the complexities of SimCity. There's so much going on, I've just begun to scratch the surface. At the time of this writing, some features, such as global leaderboards, are still disabled. While that will seemingly add another layer of competitive complexity, it doesn't necessarily hinder the current gameplay, which, to me, has always been about the city-building simulation experience. SimCity might not have had the best launch experience, but this game is clearly a marathon worth of gameplay. Take your time, play slow, and really enjoy what Maxis has created for us, because it really is a great game when given the chance.