The first expansion pack for SimCity, Cities of Tomorrow, brings an all new way to play your game. Featuring impressive visuals, a catchy soundtrack and deep gameplay, does the future look brighter for this game?
SimCity started with a large hurdle back in March when the game servers couldn’t handle capacity. Game features were turned off, such as cheetah speed and the global market, and many critics adjusted reviews to reflect the launch of the game. Since then SimCity has received many updates which brought new features, free content and bug fixes. With the launch behind us, Maxis have turned their efforts to the first SimCity expansion pack titled Cities of Tomorrow.
Cities of Tomorrow gives you the ability to take your cities into the future (sound familiar?). While some may regard it as a cosmetic change from the trailers, that’s far from the truth. You can create a utopian society underpinned by clean technology, or allow a giant corporation to plunder and pollute. In addition you can build into the sky with MegaTowers, play with two new city specialisations and watch your city transform into an all-new futuristic look!
Cities of Tomorrow brings four new regions to your game and you can use these whether you own the expansion pack or not. These new regions are different from any previous ones as they contain tropical and desert themes – each with their pros and cons as you’d expect!
As I mentioned earlier there are also two new city specialisations – The Academy and OmegaCo. The Academy will help you bring all the environmentally friendly technology from the future into your city to make your city the perfect utopia. Not up for making an eco friendly future? Then try plopping down the OmegaCo factory and you’ll be in for a treat. This corporation creates Omega which Sims in your city absolutely love (and will be very upset if you take it away from them). OmegaCo will generate you a fair amount of simoleons but you’ll have to deal with the pollution, fires, and the damage it causes to your city. Many futuristic things, such as certain megatower modules or eco friendly technologies, work with something called ‘ControlNet’ which acts as a wireless network (turn on the data layer to see the awesome data visualisations). ControlNet, along with Omega, is tradable so you can buy/sell this from other cities.
One of the biggest complaints about the latest incarnation of SimCity is the map sizes. While Maxis has announced that they will not be making city sizes any bigger due to technical reasons, they seem to have some solutions up their sleeves. MegaTowers allow you to build into the upwards, not outwards, so you can cram in hundreds of thousands of Sims into your cities. I personally love them and you can really customise each one depending on how you want your city to be. Add residential, commercial, industry, education and more to your MegaTower to make it cater to the wants of the Sims living inside. This really is the way to go if you want to bump up your city population and fill up jobs in your city.
You can connect MegaTowers with a Skybridge (once you have the technology researched in the region) so Sims and commute between them. You could view this as a way to stop them going on the roads and causing traffic problems as they’re not in the sky! Something which I love is that you’ll get a few moments when you hear more music from The Sims games in these MegaTowers. Another way for your Sims to get from A to B is the addition of the maglev! You can place down maglev stations which have their own garage, removing the need for a main depot.
Everyone who knows me will tell you that I am obsessed with game soundtracks and that’s no exception with SimCity Cities of Tomorrow. Chris Tilton returns to compose two new pieces of music and create ‘Futuristic mixes’ of the base game soundtrack. The new music is beautiful and suits the futuristic theme of the expansion pack. As with the base game the music changes depending on what you’re doing in-game, such as being in region mode, placing down roads or sitting in the pause menu. i Maaike from Platinum Simmers will tell you how much I was fangirling over it and I believe that games need kick ass soundtracks. So if you mute in-game music then there has never been a better time to un-mute and blast out the music!
To top off all of the new features, there is also a brand new disaster in this expansion pack. Outworlder 6, a huge robot similar to the one found in SimCity 4, comes with the game and is ready to cause havoc in your city. While the patch that delivered Cities of Tomorrow brings the ability to turn off random disasters so that there’ll be no unexpected surprises, you can still cause the disaster manually and watch as your city gets destroyed!
One of the last things which I think is really cool is that if you don’t have the expansion pack then you can still take advantage of some of the content in Cities of Tomorrow, providing someone in your region has placed futuristic content in their city. Due to the fact that SimCity is an online game, everyone has to have all of the content patched into their games so that they can see futuristic things if their friends are using it. You can send Omega to players, you’ll see futuristic vehicles fly by your streets or drool over the fantastic futuristic content in your friends city – trust me, this will make you want to buy this expansion pack!
SimCity Cities of Tomorrow is fun and gives you new ways to play SimCity. It’s not just a cosmetic change and brings along all-new features never seen before in a SimCity game. Whether you want to be environmentally friendly with The Academy or get rich with OmegaCo, you’ll struggle to play this game in small sessions. While older problems such as smaller maps still exist, with Maxis saying that they won’t be made bigger, you can still have plenty of fun as the focus is on the density within the city. Any SimCity player, whether you’re a veteran or newcomer, will adore this expansion pack and will struggle to put it down.
I am giving this expansion pack a 9/10 rating because of the addictive gameplay, impressive visuals, catchy music and Maxis humour. The future of this franchise is bright and I can’t wait to see what else Maxis has in store for us in 2014. SimCity Cities of Tomorrow is now available worldwide.