The new SimCity has been high on my wishlist for quite a while. But having been burned by Mass Effect 3, I did not preorder (yes, EA is still on my shit list). I still have not bought the game, but I have been diligently following some of the “Let’s Play” folks over at YouTube to see it in action. There are several out there, so go watch a few.
Based solely on those videos, I’m still not in the buying mood for SimCity. Yes, the game is gorgeous, smooth, and true to the original. It’s the always online requirement and some of the stuff that goes with it that has my knickers in a wad.
Problem one: if you must be always online, this kind of removes the game from the sort of thing you can play on your own. You’re dependent on servers being up and running 24/7 as well as uninterrupted internet access. Fine on your home machine (barring thunderstorms and the like), not so fine when you’re depending on something like a Wi-Fi hotspot on your laptop, for example.
While most of the “Let’s Play” stuff was done right after release and server issues are more or less expected (yet another reason for not pre-ordering), watching players crash and burn over issues that were not of their making is worse than sad.
Problem two: I saw no way of saving your gameplay, so it appears that you start from scratch each time you fire up the game. This would seem to translate into either very long playing sessions or constant one-off cities that barely get past the planning stages (or perhaps both). There would seem to be nothing in between.
Problem three: the size of your city is going to be limited. Fine if you’re into small cities; not so hot if you’re into the mega-cities that were possible with previous versions of the game.
Problem four: because of the small size, you’re pretty much forced to specialize your city and work in cooperation with other players in the same region (private regions can be done). While there are obviously some good things to be had from MMOs, I don’t think SimCity was really cut out for them. Time might prove me wrong, but I’m just seeing too many potential problems with this approach. Perhaps if there were some way to blend the two, but not as it’s currently set up.
All in all, I’m not certain that the new enhancements to the game will outweigh the problems I’ve seen thus far. Consequently, it’s still on my “watch” list rather than on my “buy” list. I’m hoping that will change over the coming days/weeks, but in its current form, it doesn’t appear that I will be playing it anytime soon.