Review by Wist
"Interesting but lacks the depth of the other SimCity games"
The SimCity series is one of the classic series of PC gaming. Reigning king of the city building genre, this game is a step in a somewhat original direction. However, as fans who love the series may be expecting something different, this game isn't as bad as you probably have heard. Unfortunately, it really isn't worth the change either. It is fun, but plays almost entirely different than other SimCity games.
Like other SimCity games, the point is to build a city. You are the mayor, governor, or whatever you want to call yourself. You essentially must take the land given to you, and turn it into a paved kingdom filled with skyscrapers and everything needed to make the land thrive. In this game, you don't zone the land Residential, Commercial, Industrial, etc. In this game, you have the building choices already made available to you. It is pretty interesting and if you decide to play the game, it is worth playing the tutorial. Otherwise it may seem a bit different. There is also building categories with prices to build each building. Some of these categories are Authoritarian, Cyberpunk, Capitalist, Industrial etc. There are also different building types: productivity, prosperity, creativity, spirituality, knowledge, etc. These different building types generate an amount of points used to build additional buildings. I know it sounds complicated and it is original. However, the game lacks the depth of the previous SimCities. In this game, the difficulty of the game is somewhat dissipated and the focus on complete customization of your city is refreshing, but lacking the city building simulation that fans desire.
The sound is somewhat Sims-ish. What I mean when I say this is that it tends to be heavily inspired by the Sims series. While this isn't a bad thing, it is definitely taking on a cartoon inspired persona. I won't go in detail, but you can read more about what I mean when I discuss the graphics.
The graphics of this game also went in a different direction. Rather than creating a lifelike city with cool skyscrapers, parks, baseball stadiums, etc, this game has a cartoonish vibe to it. It has the same graphical style as The Sims. This isn't really a bad thing, especially if you want to make some sort of whacky city. However, if you are looking for that city feeling this is missing it even if you pick the most city looking buildings from the bunch. And I for one don't want to create a carnival looking city.
Okay where to start well, honestly, my biggest problem with this game is the performance. I don't know what they did to the engine of this game, but there is definitely coding deficiencies when it comes to performance. The game, even on a good computer, will experience problems. In addition to that, there is also that whole going in a different direction creating a decent, but less enjoyable game thing.
I actually found this game to have a decent amount of replayability, but not as much as other city building games. There really isn't a budget or resource management like in other games. There also isn't any challenge to create the city of your choice. This is a bad thing but also a good thing. It was quite fun to experiment with the system. For example, I created an authoritarian city with a very artsy and intelligent outskirts to see what would happen. Sociological experiments (while not at all accurate in real life) are interesting and an aspect of the game that deserves mentioning.
This game is actually pretty cool. However, I wanted a SimCity game not a SimCity game under heavily influence of The Sims. It is neat, but I wanted traffic problems, budget issues, and the need to outsource my industry to a neighboring city.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 03/03/08
Game Release: SimCity Societies (US, 11/13/07)
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