Reader Review: SimCity (PC)

SIMCITY_BOXWhen I was in Middle School or High School (can’t remember), the first SimCity game came out and it was a huge hit. I even remember what the box for the PC game looked like! One of my friends would even save and print out his city layout on printer paper and show them to me at school! Many years later, I bought and downloaded the Super Nintendo version of SimCity, one of the first Virtual Console games available on the Wii. I remembered how addicting it was when I rented it back in the day, so I wanted my younger brother Jeff to experience it, too. He instantly loved it and a few days later, he had bought SimCity 4 for his computer! So since my brother Jeff enjoys SimCity so much, I decided to let him take a stab at reviewing it here!

SimCity, or really SimCity 5, is the latest installment of the very popular city-building game by Maxis. In the game the player is the mayor of a new town that must be built from the ground up. Each city you can build is part of an overall region with multiple areas for cities that can either be claimed by you or other players online, as the game can only be played while connected to the Internet. Although the game has no single player mode and connecting to the servers can prove troublesome depending on the server traffic, the actual game is just as fun as the previous SimCity games.

Intended as more of a casual game in the series you start your city by building a street off of a central road that connects all the towns of a region. By zoning a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial zones the player has a great deal of customization for their city, especially since they can specialize their town into either trading, gambling, tourism, etc. As the mayor of the town the player will have to deal with the issues of water, power, waste disposal, traffic, and many other problems that many cities face. Although it may seem a little daunting, if you play in a region with other players there are a lot of other options that open up.

Having the game always be online can be a problem but the game does have some interesting online features. If a player in your region has an excess of water or power you can buy the extra for your town, and if they have a spare fire engine or ambulance they can volunteer to help you out. Each region can work together to make something called a Great Work which benefits the entire region by doing things like increasing education or bringing in tourists. Playing with other gamers makes the game go a lot smoother and easier as everyone can benefit by helping your neighboring cities. So, even though the “only-online” thing is the most pressing complaint of the game it does have some unique features that are fun and easy to use with your friends. –Jeff Orth


Kid Factor:

While it seems like my brother Jeff didn’t have much of a problem with the online-only play, I certainly would. I prefer to be able to play my games whenever I want, and SimCity games in the past were always single-player. But then, I’m old and Jeff’s not. Anyway, this new SimCity game is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Violence. Since crime is one of the problems in the city, you might read news about murders or see your Sims robbing banks. There are also natural disasters that can affect your city in bad ways, too. As with any online game, parental supervision is recommended. Even so, SimCity can be considered educational as it teaches social studies and economic skills like what it takes to make a city run smoothly. (Kid Factor by Cary Woodham)

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