SimCity Review-In-Progress: Update 3 - Region Play
After playing around with multiple cities, we've started to understand SimCity a little bit more.
Published on Mar 10, 2013
Playing SimCity is kind of like having your favourite chocolate bar licked by a tramp.
You want to eat it, you know you'll probably enjoy it, but it puts you off all the same.
With the servers powering SimCity's always-on connection in upheaval, playing the game is much the same. You want to play it, you know you'll enjoy it but can you be bothered with the hassle?
Admittedly since the initial launch day SimCity's servers haven't been quite the nuisance the media has made out.
We might not have had the same levels of inactivity US gamers had, but the odd disconnection while we're contentedly watching over our cities is enough to put us off.
So, since our last update we've made quite a bit of progress.
Having lost a lot of work on our original city, we decided to start again. We picked a new region, invited a few friends and started all over again.
It's okay though, starting again was inevitable.
The region we picked had four sets of four cities. Though there were 16 city plots in total, not all of them were connected by a road or rail options.
Each of the four corners had four cities, and outside of that the rest of the region wasn't connected. In hindsight, our choice of region was a bad one.
Still, we figured out that regional play isn't perfect.
Having four cities up and running, each with a particular 'speciality' we had hoped to share across the region some of our benefits.
One city was a jack of all trades, aiming to be the 'first' city of the region. Namely: the one that unlocks everything, the base to build upon.
After that a second city concentrated on industry, building up a workforce within the city but largely focusing on having Sims commute over.
The third focused on tourism and commercial. A large residential area was needed for the commerce to initially take off, but the inclusion of an Expo Centre and the Globe Theatre meant there were plenty of visitors.
The last was a trade-heavy, industry fuelled city - intended to be a haven for grime and pollution, but florishing in alloys and metals to sell to the global market.
Unfortunately the first city, the initial one, had quite a lot of education. A Grade School, a Community College, a University: all intended to educate the masses and increase the tech level of the industry.
Combined with wind power and all the necessary utilities to clean the air pollution, this city was smart, clean and general well-looked after.
That wasn't necessary for the fourth city. There we wanted grime and, initially at least, we got that.
As the city expanded, however, we found the tech level of the industry was increasing. We had no schools or education of any kind. It's expected that people commute, obviously, but that wasn't the problem.
If our tech level was hiring, good. That's not a bad thing. The problem was that, for whatever reason, our expanding city didn't seem to handle this well.
Everything was built around low-wealth citizens, so there was no need for parks or the like. We wanted blue-collar workers.
But our new tech level 3 industry was demanding skilled workers. They were opening up here, demanding things of the city that wasn't even there to begin with.
We were focusing on trade, we didn't want to have to bother with education too. The infrastructure initially in place was fine, so we're not quite sure that - after the city grew - so did the tech level.
This is something we'll need to really look into to see just how well considered this region play is, but it was a notable nuisance in our cities.
Follow our review-in-progress in our SimCity review update page.