Review by Trixter800
"More like SimVillage Societies"
This game is nowhere near a SimCity 5, but it is a good, addicting filler. This game, however, is much smaller whereas SimCity 4 requires you to control a huge metropolis, SimCity Societies requires you to require a small city. There's a gain of a few features as well as a loss from SimCity 4.
The graphics are great, very detailed, colorful, and you can zoom in and lose little quality. Good use of shadows, weather, and the day and night feature is well done. There is beautiful texture, and just great, realistic looking graphics. It's hard to SimCity Societies from real life, of course all this assuming your graphics are maxxed out.
The good thing about it is that you completely control the graphics. There's a whole page full of options, Shadow, Land Texture, etc., about 15 options and you can select Low, Medium, High, or sometimes Ultra for most of them. The lower you do the worse graphics but better speed, as well as vice versa.
The only thing that brought done the score is the User Interface (the build menus, etc.) The one of SimCity 4 was a lot more professional looking, as well as easier to find what you want because there were sub-menus to further categorize what you were looking for.
In SimCity Societies, there's Power, Homes, Venues, Workplaces and that's all in a jumbled mess. It's also very cartoony looking, which is sort of a shame for the great, realistic graphics of the game.
Not too much sound effects, but the ones you hear are realistic. Though some sounds are annoying, like if you click on a building to see it's stats it does the same, loud annoying sound effect every time.
The music though is made to fit the theme. An empty city has a mystic feel, while things like a Creative city will have more of a paris theme of music. Though the menu music is a bit annoying, heh, the music is fun and nice to listen too.
The overall controls are good and easy, easy to remember shortcuts, simple scrolling through your city, and managing your town is easy to do - all actions with the exception of a few are done by clicking somewhere, usually on the User Interface.
Though the one thing that really is a pain is searching for a building and going through the endless menus. Though you'd think having hundreds of choices for one type of building would be awesome, but really it's hard to do.
You can use Filters, filter out the buildings that don't fit a certain them such as Romantic, Cyberpunk, Industrial, etc. but even when you do that there's a good fifty buildings each in each category, except for maybe Transportation. There's also only six menus: Landscaping, Transportation (Both which you rarely use) Power, Housing, Workplaces, and Venues (something to keep your sims happy, yeah, I didn't know what it meant either) which is only 4 main choices, and with probably a total of more than 1,000 types of things it's hard to find them in four little categories, and no sub-categories.
Though it's addictive and fun the first few hours, you'll grow bored as you easily go bankrupt the first few cities, it's a lot harder than it seems until you get the hang of it, after that, it gets too easy! There's even a Freeplay mode, which unlocks everything for you, as well as an Unlimited Money mode (they're not even cheats) which is way too easy.
The one major thing that brings it down is the lack of a business feel. You work way too much on making your people happy than trying to make money. You can't make a controlled budget. There's no taxes, no business deals, not really anything except your workplaces to make money. And if your Sims aren't happy, they won't go to work. Sometimes they just don't go to work just for the fun of it. And most of the time they only go to work 5 out of 7 days (sometimes 3) of the week, and with the daily maintenace bill, you'll end up reaching 0 on the weekends. Ouch.
There's also a smaller area to take care of. Usually after a full days of playing you'll only have 4 stretches of road that you're working on, mainly because you're bankrupt on the weekends and most likely the two days following it, and by the time you're finally back up and running it's weekend time again.
There's also a deal of missing features. There's less problems to deal with, no water and less to worry about pollution. I also liked the maps and graphs in SimCity 4 which displayed the problems such as Crimes, Water, transportation, etc. My favorite part of SimCity 4 was the trnasportation, making a fun transportation of subways, elevated rails, monorails, railroads, etc.
There was also crime and fires to deal with. That's still present in SimCity Societies, but just not visible and much less of it too. Crimes are also usually done by unhappy people, so again, we're back to keeping your people happy. Happy, happy. Is that all those little sims need? Also there's less Power Plant types!
It's a good, addicting game with a few flaws. I'd buy it. A good game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 07/25/08
Game Release: SimCity Societies (US, 11/15/07)
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