Checked out Circuit City yesterday and was able to grab a copy of Simcity Societies for $39.99. Now, before I begin this review, please note that this isn’t your true “SimCity”. I’d like to think of it as a spin-off. The big question though is why? Well, I would love to answer that, but nobody knows the proper answer. More than likely, EA just wanted to rake in some cash and thought it would be time to renew the SimCity franchise.
Many fans of the previous installations plan to disregard this game. I’m on the other half and opted to try it out. For those of you that are upset, you’ve got to remember – EA gave premission to another developer and named it Societies for a reason. First off, just because Tilted Mills is the developer doesn’t mean Maxis abandoned their creation. SimCity GAVE Maxis their place in the gaming industry. Right now, they just have their hands full with The Sims 2, The Sims 3 and Spore (along with Will Wright’s team). I would highly bet they have a secret safe somewhere with plans for the next proper SimCity. Not to mention, after all of these years, SimCity 4 still looks awesome, and with all of the mods, the possibilities are endless. Especially SimMars over at Simtropolis. But that’s going to be saved for another day.
Enough babbling, let’s get to the review. Hit the jump to read on!
Keep in mind, this is nothing like SimCity 4. If you are attached to that game and want to see improvements based on that, this game is not for you. If I would have to describe this game, I would have to say it is a mix of two things: the long overdue Simsville that we were suppose to get back in 2001 (minus the controlling of the sims aspect) and the Neighborhood Building aspect in The Sims 2. I would have to say the latter is why I’m interested in the game as I loved plopping things in the neighborhood in TS2.
I hadn’t had much time with the game yet, I only played a little of the tutorial. From what I played, I liked. You have to start off by giving the city power using windmills. No longer will you have to drag powerlines! As long as you have any power plant in your city, it will automatically power everyone. Once power is established, it is time to place houses! It prompted me to plot a couple of cottages down. What I like about this is that buildings will face the roads automatically instead of having to rotate them. The sad part though is that it is no longer possible to watch the buildings grow like they did in the past games.
The next step was checking the “Societal Values” of the lots. This, in my opinion, is going to take some time to learn. I didn’t fully understand what they do, but the houses that were built uses the “creative” function, and in order for the homes to take effect, you need to place decorative items. By placing a few murals around town, the creative function kicked in and sims started to walk around town.
Next step, jobs! A city cannot grow without employment. I placed a Nursey and…well… 2 haunted farm houses (wha?). Now that the sims have a place to work, what are they going to do for fun?! According to the tutorial, Ice Cream cures that fun, along with a movie theater. Once they opened, your streets begin to start busting with Sims visiting neighbors, eating Ice Cream, going to the movies and working. At that time, I had to quit the game as it was getting late, thus ending my short review.
In other aspects, the graphics are looking pretty good. The game detects the hardware you are running and it presets the settings to keep the game from lagging (mine is set to medium). The graphics have a cartoonish look to them which is one of the differences from the previous SimCity games. As for the music, I was only able to listen to the Fun Theme. The music is relaxing, like that of SimCity 4. However, there was only one track for the fun theme, and it kept looping. Hopefully it will be possible to drop in your music. They are in .OGG format. I’ll give it a shot later on.
There are a few irritating issues that I have, but my main one is the fact that there were no pre-made cities. I like to jump right in to see the cool things they had to offer, but it appears you have to build them. Either that, or I cannot seem to find them.
Err…that is practically all I did. I’ll be playing the game some more, but I’m booked for the rest of the week on different activities. Personally, from the 30 minutes I played, it was a blast. I’m sucked at the previous SimCity games so this game is technically a lite verison.
If you are on the fence about getting this game, ask yourself the following questions first:
1.) Did you think the past SimCities were too hard?
2.) Do you enjoy the Neighborhood aspects of The Sims 2?
3.) Have $49.99 to spare?
If you answer yes to all three, then this game is made for you (be sure to check your system requirments first)! If not, I’d stay away or grab it in the bargin bin for $19.99 sometime next year.
If you managed to read the full review, give yourself a pat on the back. My writing is awful… I’m surprised it didn’t kill you yet!