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Thread: SimCity Closed Beta

  1. #1

    Default SimCity Closed Beta

    So I (and likely millions of other SimCity nerds, including some of you) have got a taste for the new SimCity - and so far, I like it quite a bit. With the beta, you can play for an hour in a city before it boots you out - as far as I can tell , you can play as often as you like though, just having to start from scratch each time.

    Things I don't like:

    1. The game, somewhat like an MMO, relies on a server to play - you must, as far as I can tell, always be connected to the internet, and always talk to the server. I wonder if this will be an issue in 5 years if the game is only popular with a certain niche of geeks - but then Everquest is still around despite it's tiny corner of society.

    2. I can't rename buildings - It's a very small thing in the grand scheme, and I often don't even do it - but I really like to have the option of naming everything I come across in a game like this. If I get the whim, I want to rename the local public school to Senor Poopypants' Institute for Gifted Primates

    Things I like:

    1. The graphics - they're cartoonish, clean and crisp, and they work like an absolute wonder. They've learned a lot from games like Spore and The Sims 3 and how to optimize their rendering - I was expecting a slower experience on my aging graphics card and mid-range CPU, but it's very fast.

    2. The game concepts - like contemporary cousin Civilization V, it's abstracted some things even more than SimCity 4 did. I thought I would hate it, but I think it works - zoning along snap points on roads makes sense, as does using the road system to automatically build the power and water grid - instead of trying to figure out where your sewage system or power grid broke, you just have to make sure your roads, be they dusty dirt roads or busy avenues, are all connecting to everywhere. They've also added some complexity in interesting areas, like addition of wind speed affecting wind power generation and the spread of noxious fumes and pollution - and the need to buy resources from the world or neighbouring cities

    3. The little things - Sims are now individuals and you can click on them when they're driving or walking around - you can't rename them unfortunately (as I would like) but you can see what they're thinking, where they're going and whatnot. Police chases and robberies are all animated in all their silly abstract detail with police officers shooting and robbers surrendering, protestors riot as before (but tell you what they want) and the sounds of the expanding power and water grid as you turn on the electricity or water are enjoyable to me on some level.

    In short, while I balk at the price of this game, I'm likely going to pay full for it (the Limited Edition, not the 80 dollar one). Has anyone else played the beta?

  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post
    .......snip..... Has anyone else played the beta?
    I have tried it for a bit. Started a few "cities" within the 1 hour limit.

    While Im not so fond of the cartoonish graphics, it serves it purpose, relaying information without a data query window.
    My likes are about what you like, although having power, water and sewage only linked to roads is not really realistic imo.

    My number one gripe about this game is SCALE! The word CITY in the game name should not even be there! This is Sim TOWN (at best).
    And the region view is not much better, odd uneditable empty land between "cities".

    And I really dislike the whole freeway outside the "city" border too, only fixed places to connect your roads.

    It seems like I (sadly) will give this game a pass and stick with my aged but beloved SimCity4 with mods and downloads.

  3. #3


    I agree, the scale is gone from this one, way too much single-work.

  4. #4


    Yet another wonderful series that EA has gotten their hands on and sucked the life out of. RIP, Maxis.

  5. #5


    Permanent internet connection required for single player = no sale for me. And that is basically where my thoughts on the game end. Some stuff seems cool from the Glassbox engine, some stuff like the smaller cities seems bad, but if I can't play a single player game at the time when I usually play single player games (without internet) then I'm not interested in buying it.

    The sales will probably be somewhat low as they've pissed off a lot of the Simcity fans with the internet requirements and gameplay changes, and I don't believe they will attract casual gamers to Simcity. Sadly, publishers can't ever seem to admit that their DRM and "social" aspect hurt their game, so they'll probably just say there's no market for Simcity and shelve the franchise afterwards, which will be a pity.

  6. #6


    I totally agree with the persistent internet connection thoughts, this seems a pretty widespread gripe, and I obviously share it, though I've grown accustomed to it having played other such games that either encourage or require it despite offering single player experiences. I think the desperate grasp for social gaming is a totally misguided attempt by EA/Maxis at trying to appeal to those wickedly popular and entirely pointless Facebook offerings that seem to make scads of money despite having no budget. I hope that the multiplayer aspects of this game will be less shallow than the mentioned Facebook diversions, but time will tell.

    I don't believe the game has become too simplistic or that the life has been sucked from it though, I've heard similar thoughts from people following other franchises from the ancient Deus Ex and Operation Flashpoint series to more recent franchises like Mount and Blade. If anything, the small scale complexity has been turned up a bit with the need to pay for or mine fossil fuels to the more logical density system and far less abstract transit system. I do however agree with comments about the scale - for a truly urban experience in this game, you need to build up an entire region of cities feeding into other cities. Heck, before it crashed last friday, I built a city in SC4 to 80,000 people and a massive budget surplus in about an hour - this is more a testament to the fact that I've played it way too much in the past decade, but also a potentially reasonable comparison between the cutesy 'easy' newness of this new game versus the 'complexity' of the older game.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post
    Heck, before it crashed last friday
    This is quite a common problem on multi core systems (i.e. all modern systems). If you haven't already, use this fix to help. It's not a fix all solution, and there are still quite a few crash issues on bigger cities, but that'll fix some of the most common ones.

    Turning on software rendering may also help, and given how much Simcity 4 seems to hate modern graphics cards, may even speed up the game.

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