Tearing Down and Rebuilding the World of SimCity

It’s been a whole decade since the last full SimCity game release, and in that time, the series has fallen by the wayside in favor of The Sims. In March, the legendary city-building game that started it all will be resurrected as a reboot — one that carries a bit more weight behind it due to the title being shared with a genre-creating game that led to countless imitators and spin-offs. This third 3D installment of SimCity brings with it a variety of new features. The most appealing on paper is the ability to give your city a particular big business to make it stand out. If you’d like to make an industrial city, a college town, or a flashy casino-filled tourist destination, you can. As this video shows, there’s still a lot to do in order to get the city where you want it to be, but the process is a bit more streamlined compared to past games. New to the franchise is multi-city play, which enables you to run one big city alongside other smaller ones. If you want to lessen your workload, but still maintain your multi-city setup, you can let an online user run it for you if you choose to abandon it.

Having a partner lets you focus on one city’s problems, but still help out whenever possible. If your city has a crime problem, he can send over some officers if your police station is understaffed. You’re also able to expand a small police station into something out of a movie — not Beverly Hills Cop, there won’t be any super cops or bananas in tailpipes here. But if you’d like, you can add radio towers to get the word out about crime much faster, or add a heli-pad to increase the patrol radius. Remember Alfred’s description of the Joker in The Dark Knight as being a man who “just wanted to watch the world burn”? Well, if you grow weary of your city and feel like watching it crumble (a staple in simulation games since the original), you’re able to trigger events like earthquakes, tornadoes, meteor strikes, and alien invasions at will. Any of these can level your city, or send it ablaze.

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SimCity sets out to find a happy medium between depth and user-friendliness. ¬†Veterans will be glad to know that there’s more depth than ever before as far as what you can do, and things like curved roads help add a layer of realism to the experience that has been lacking. It may not seem like a big deal, but one of the developer’s goals is to let you make a city you grew up in, or at least a reasonable facsimile of it and with this, you’re able to. Plus, if you want, you can destroy your town with the click of a mouse. That’s something you definitely wouldn’t want to do in real life unless the idea of several consecutive life sentences appeals to you. Series newcomers or more casual fans of simulation games will probably be excited to hear that this installment is more user-friendly, and far more competitive than other sim games with the addition of visual aids and online leaderboards.

Those who have issues feeling overwhelmed in sim games will be glad to know that having a big business for your city is that it means you always have at least one goal to shoot for – to make that one thing as good as it can be. If you don’t feel like taking on a whole city-building setup right away, you can get your feet wet on a smaller scale. Goals and achievements¬† encourage you to try new things out and reach a certain degree of success, but you’re able to go at your own pace. Visual aids show things like where crime is at its worst, or where the best location to place something is, and help make this a more newcomer-friendly experience than ever before since it helps to lay out the puzzle pieces, but still requires you to put them together properly in order to get the desired end result.

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SimCity is due to hit retail stores and digital download services on March 5 at a price point of $60. Regardless of how you purchase the game, an EA Origin account is needed to play it, so if you want to save some time, sign up for that service now. Maybe you’ll luck into being able to access the early beta¬†after doing so. It seems safe to say that SimCity‘s reboot will offer up more of what its long-time fans want, while simultaneously making sure that those who have previously avoided the series now have fewer reasons than ever before to be intimidated by its daunting scope.