This post has been a long time in the making. After revisiting and abandoning SimCity several times since its release, I think I’ve finally figured out if I’m willing to give this game the time of day or not. Let’s start at the beginning of my time with SimCity.
SimCity isn’t so bad once you get to play, honest. Rather, that’s what I was telling myself at the beginning of March.
I, like many of you, had issues connecting to the servers the first few days after release. I was pretty miffed that I couldn’t access a game that I had paid money for. Really, what is that?
I remember playing SimCity 2000 on our Macintosh when I was a little girl. SimCity was impossibly difficult for my elementary mind. What’s zoning? I just build roads and buildings and people are happy, right? What’s the problem, why are my citizens unhappy? Those are just a few of the questions I asked myself and rightfully so. I was in way over my head back then and I still harbor some negative feelings towards Maxis’ well-known city builder. Even now, after buying SimCity 4 in a Steam sale, I still think it’s a lot to manage. The idea of building up my own city is fascinating yet I still need to have a good, clear idea of how to “win”.
When I heard that Maxis was going to reboot its SimCity franchise, I brushed the info off and thought nothing more of it. Even after repeatedly being forced to watch gameplay videos with John, I wasn’t entirely sold. Also, I still resented the series a bit; that is, until I played the game for myself.
A lot of the difficulty I faced in earlier iterations had disappeared. Laying water pipes and placing power lines was time consuming and drained your resources before. Now utilities automatically run along the roads, which gives me more time to respond to my worker shortages. Maxis has made quite a few welcome changes to the series while also giving the game a sleek new look.
I can truly say that I’m legitimately having fun. Sure I’m slightly upset that arsonists and other criminals migrated to my new city upon its founding but I have a better idea of what I need to do to correct problems like this. The “quests” that will randomly appear test the design of your city and give you a good idea of what can be improved. All of your citizens have access to sewage, water, etc. but are you running at maximum efficiency? Let your sims throw a block party to find out just how good your garbage collection facility is. I found out that this was one of my weaker areas. Although I was able to clean up all of the trash and get a nice reward for completing the quest, the collection process was painfully slow.
One of the latest problems that I had hit was that getting money was also slow. A few weeks ago I was “playing” the game while doing homework. Playing equated to launching the game and leaving it on llama speed. I was making money to purchase upgrades while doing something else for a couple of hours. Pretty exciting, no? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s happy to see the return of cheetah speed, which means I can spend more time making my city as efficient as possible. Hello, new police precinct and hospital, I can afford you now!
Of course, my being able to play (and actually enjoy) the game brings new problems, specifically water. My city is starting to run out of water, which wouldn’t be a problem in real life. That’s what the water cycle is all about and I have a vague idea of how we extract it from the aquifer. SimCity seems to lack this though, and to avoid more frustration I just quit. The game stayed on my hard drive for a few more weeks but when faced with the decision of what to keep for disk space, it was one of the first to go.
It wasn’t just the water issue though, it was also the ridiculous DLC that EA has added, which are a blatant cash grab. I can see the implementation of the Nissan Leaf charging station, I guess, but I don’t like it nor do I see the point.
I decided to give it a chance, downloaded it and never used it, because I already had a bus system established for commuters and my cities are completely tapped for space. It was the announcement of the Crest DLC that got me though. What the hell does toothpaste have to do with a city builder? In addition, the content you actually receive from those specially-marked packages sounds incredibly stupid.
In about a year I’ll probably have forgotten it all and decide to download SimCity again to figure out just why I quit. I’ll give it a day or two of my time, discover some awful promotional Fruit Loops DLC that’s been forced into the game somehow, and quit again. This whole experience makes me want to never give EA any money ever again.