I waited a relatively long time before picking up the newest SimCity. Amidst the rather massive wave of negativity, I still wanted to pick it up and give it a try so I did. I heard about all the issues with connectivity and DRM. I heard about how horrible the game was despite hearing how wonderful it was on day one; yes, the same great praise on some sites turned into a massive wave of bandwagon shenanigans. When things are good they’re good, but when things are bad it’s like holy shiz newsworthy and everyone makes a humongous deal out of it.
Since buying the game a few days ago, I have encountered ZERO connectivity issues or issues related to Origin DRM. I have been able to connect morning, afternoon, and night. The -only- issue I’ve had with this server saving technology (which might not even be a real thing) is my city rolled back 15 minutes. The game told me that something wasn’t synching and I had to rollback. I was bothered, but it was only 15 minutes. I’m not insinuating the connectivity or other issues didn’t exist — I”m sure they did — but I haven’t experienced them, and they shouldn’t be a reason to dock the overall game. DRM can be annoying, and Origin sucks compared to Steam, but all things considered I can’t say opening Origin bothers me like it does other people. I have games associated with EA/Origin that I purchased many, many years ago, and I’m actually grateful that Origin has my ownership saved to let me play them later (I hate discs).
Gameplay wise, SimCity is fun. I really like the stylized atmosphere and zany personalty my cities adopt; I mean really, zombie invasions and Godzilla are awesome. I hate the restrictions on city size. This tiny little box doesn’t give me any room to customize the look of my city how I want, but I think I understand why it’s this way. The devs want you to specialize your cities. I learned the hard way it is almost impossible to have a nice city that does everything. At the rate citizens complain, it’s impossible to have industry, commercial, residential, and any sort of specialization without having your city fiscally or civilly implode.
To overcome to city size issue, my friends in the Keen and Graev Community have created several regions where each of us build a city and interact with each other. This is where the multiplayer is a ton of fun. We create a map, and each of us takes a spot or two. Our cities get connected by water, road, and rail, and we can do trade with each other. We can also send police, fire, medical, and trade help, as well as mutually beneficial resource trade. Most of this happens automatically, but it’s nice to be able to buy up one city’s excess power or water when I’m in a bind.
There’s some question as to the replayability. I haven’t grown tired of the game yet, but I can’t see there being a whole ton of reason to make dozens and dozens of cities. I think it’s a depth issue. There aren’t a whole lot of ways I can truly get in and customize what’s going on. I wish I could choose restaurants and tech locations rather than relying on the socioeconomic status of my citizens and the overall land value. I’ve often become frustrated that I have to build parks just to make the land value go up. I wish I could specifically zone for the size of houses, and for wealth. That way I could choose to create trailer parks and low-skill workers rather than having the citizens suddenly decide it’s okay to put a highrise apartment complex next to a factory, then complain it drives the land value down when they freaking decided it was a good idea to go there!
In summary, SimCity is a ‘good’ and ‘fun’ game hindered only by a slight lack of depth and a frustrating limitation on size. My connection issues are non-existent, and people complaining about Origin ultimately have to get over it, but the fact that a game can technically be single-player yet still have a server status website is a bit perplexing. Playing in a region with friends is by far the best part because visiting their cities and seeing them crop up in the distance makes the entire experience more enjoyable — after all, who doesn’t want to have to worry about your neighbors polluting the air and sending arsonists over to your city? SimCity is addicting, and you’ll only begin to realize its shortcomings after you lost 10+ hours of your life.