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SimCity: A decent game with some glaring issues

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SimCity

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SimCity has been a popular franchise for quite some time now, and with the last release of SimCity 4 in 2003 many gamers were excited that a new installment was on the way. For those who haven't heard of it, SimCity is a simulation where you run a city, pretty simple huh? You are the mayor, you build your city and try to make it grow all while doing your best to keep a balanced budget. SimCity simulates many things such as crime, utilities, happiness, economy etc and you must balance all of these to make successful city.

The latest addition to the SimCity franchise made some pretty extreme changes over previous installments. Some of the big changes are much smaller city size, online multiplayer, and leaving the grid system behind. Some of these are nice such as being able to build roads and building anywhere without having to snap to a grid, but others have caused quite a bit of fuss in the community.

The online multiplayer received some very mixed feelings when it was mentioned during development. While many players liked the idea of being able to play with others, the fact that it was styled similarly to Diablo III with an "always online" requirement had people worried. As it turns out, their fears were well founded. The release, which EA promised would go smoothly, was disastrous. Pre-orders would not download, servers crashed, regions that players had started disappeared and a slew of other issues, some of which are continuing as of this writing, have made the game difficult to play at best.

Aside from the "online only" issues, the game is not bad at all. The cities render beautifully, the game plays well and it is highly entertaining. There are a few bugs, but that is to be expected so soon after release, and some of which can be quite funny. The ability to specialize cities and have multiple in a region work in tandem is a definite plus. Players can make one city focused on coal or oil, power and industry, and a neighboring city that focuses on trade to sell off excess resources, while another city in the area brings in tourists and each is working together sharing workers, buying and selling utilities and donating police, fire, health, and trash services to one and other. The downside to this is the city areas are so small you really don't have much of a choice but to play this way. The massive, sprawling metropolis of previous SimCity games has become a thing of the past.

All in all, SimCity is an OK game, it plays well and looks nice, but server issues and small city size have a way of really dampening the game. If you want to play alone, which my SimCity players are accustomed too, you still have to connect to EA's servers. Issues with the game have caused ratings to plummet on sites like Amazon.com and MetaCritic. If it wasn't online only it would actually be a good game, but the issues from the online DRM (Digital Rights Management) cause many headaches for players who just want to play alone.

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