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Review: Simcity 2013, the city simulation game to rule them all

by Marcwill Williams (Visual_AssassiN)  Posted Monday, March 25, 2013 12:09:00 PM

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Simcity has long been one of the most beloved titles ever to be conceived by the creative minds of the entertainment industry at Maxis. One of my fondest memories is Simcity 2000. You had a massive piece of land with endless amount of possibilities. Most intriguing game of its time.Watching your city grow from a rural dust cloud to an urban jungle. Fast forward 19 years , 2 weeks and a couple of sequels later, 2013 gave birth to a new era of simulated urban evolution.

The learning curve is low but I can promise you after 5-8 hours the difficulty becomes Asian level. The game mechanics is very interesting as the speed at which your town grows all depends on what you choose to focus on. There are many different  ways to play Simcity 2013.

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Cash hungry mining town, tourist haven, casino royal, education hub of your region. I can say that it is very diverse. They key is patience.. Patience… Patience!! Cheetah speed is too slow they should call it sheep speed. Having to wait 10 minutes in cheetah speed to build the next building you planned to add to your city easily becomes another 15 minutes, then another 30 and even up to an hour. (Its one of the features that have been disabled to accommodate all the players on the servers, but it will be resolved soon).

At the end of the day its all about money. If you don’t have enough money generating per hour, your city will come to a sudden halt, which I is a tricky thing to balance. I’ve never had good money management skills. Actually I’m terribad* with money and Simcity put my flaw on a stage for me with a big spotlight with a symphony and opera singer playing and singing all the wrong notes “You Brooooaaaaahke, You Broke”. But all is well because Simcity taught me how to manage my money in just 3 Days for R400. No other professional can accomplish this at a once off price.

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Simcity dares you to make difficult decisions if you really want your city to flourish. There will be many sacrifices along the way in your journey from town to small city to megalopolis. Now when you start the game don’t be scared of failing because it is pretty tricky. The easiest way to start I’d say is a flat plain of land with water. Building roads on slopes can be frustrating as you cannot control the terrain and you can’t force it to do exactly what you want it to do in order to build a road where you want to.

First things first, check the wind direction as pollution will give you grief if you don’t plan ahead. Start off very basic, extend your main highway with a medium avenue so that it ends in an accessible area. Make a square area with medium density single lane. Fill two thirds of the map dirt roads. Create your industrial downwind end of the map so that the pollution does not blow over the rest of your city. Mix your residential zones with about 30% commercial zones. Your industrial zone should be approximately 50% the size of your residential zones combined and separate from the residential zones.  

Something that has been really fun for me is the multiplayer approach to the game. It has been fun trading with friends and trying to make the ultimate cities by creating an international airport, massive solar farm, etc. Comparing stats, fighting crime, solving problems financially as well as crime, electricity, water so forth. I suggest using a voip option like teamspeak or mumble to communicate and plan together.

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Simcity is one of thee most addictive games I’ve have ever come across. Many gamers like destruction and to destroy things in the virtual world because it looks cool. Simcity manages to make progress and development way more addictive and satisfying than any other game have ever played. I had a rocky start after the tutorial, but after my first failed city things started to fall in place. I had to discipline myself for a while not to search for any guides as I wanted an untainted experience as any new player to Simcity 2013 would. Time really flies when you go past the 1 hour mark. If you don’t have an alarm that goes off every 1 hour, you can easily go four hours straight without realising it. It so happens that I had two 18 hour marathons.

Simcity’s cleverly composed soundtrack is soothing in the beginning then without realising it you are caught in a trance.  It does become a bit repetitive. But all the sounds of the concrete jungle is captured perfectly and if you get to a high population and with traffic jams you try to stay so hard out of is now in your home.. on your beloved computer. So essentially you are not driving because you want to avoid traffic, but to just listen to horns and shouting at your home as if you are in traffic jams.

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The graphics is not really something to complain about because it is a game focused to appeal to the mass market which translates to low to mid-range graphical computing power. Simcity’s engine hits the sweet spot  for most gamers that bought a Graphics card in the past three years. With Simcity providing so much activity on screen the engine handles really well while looking great for game of this scale. There was a small problem in certain areas in the game that I’ve noticed with a residential zone next to a high density industrial building. All of a sudden ground under the building is higher than the building next to it, with a basic factory on top of it. A small bug I think Maxis should look into.

One of the flaws that I’ve noticed after the 18 hour mark and a population of 300 000+ is your resources start to run low. The one resource that everyone needs is water. Maxis should address this issue with serious consideration. The argument of water being a finite resource is false. An excellent example I can think of is a water Desalination plant in Singapore that uses reverse osmosis to purify water from the ocean. Put that in the game, thank you. Game developers should be careful how they intend to design their games as the majority of new young players is easy to convince and make believe. They subconsciously learn from video games on what to do and what not to do and it fuels their creativity.  

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One more thing I’d like to like to bring to light is the public bus transit system with multiple park and rides next to each other in a different location. I found a bug that causes buses, more than several in fact, to drive around in an endless circle around a park, I had to demolish the park and rides to stop this loop. Doing this made the buses go to their normal routes again. I would also advise on some free DLC to solve some game breaking issues. The game is made with the idea of eventually your city will perish no matter what you do it is designed to make you fail.

New titles in recent years requires you to be always online. This is something that won’t go away and it will be implemented with almost every future big release. Ever since a very famous error 37 caused one of the most memorable frustrating week in gaming history. So I have a made a habit to wait 2 weeks at least after a global released and watch how gamers around the world pull out their hair. The emphases to justify “always online” is the social experience. Albeit we all know it is also to fight piracy, no publisher can deny that. If it is not implemented correctly it ruins the experience for the legit gamer that bought it. So expect this game to be one of the top 3 most pirated games of 2013. Although I would advise you buying it, the game is worth every cent.  

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  • Graphics: 8/10
  • Sound :7/10
  • Longetivity: 8/10
  • Gameplay: 9/10
  • Overall: 8/10
  • If applicable: Multiplayer: 7/10

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd



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simcity-2013-trailer-00.jpg  simcity-2013-screenshot-12.jpg  Simcity-Avenue-and-Roads.jpeg  SimCity_2013_15stadium.jpg 

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