Electronic Arts’ launch of SimCity has been marred by unexpected demand. Some fans eager to play the game have been met with down servers and overloaded servers and various bugs that have kept them from getting to play, while others have balked at the always-connected Internet policy that serves to enable multiplayer Region play but also acts as a form of digital rights management even if you’re playing entirely by yourself.
Those who have gotten past those barriers have had a much better time of it. SimCity is a fantastic game. I’ve been playing in a private region so that I can get a taste of what the game offers myself before I venture out into multiplayer. So far the simulation is everything I’d hoped it would be; it really feels like you’re running a living, breathing place. Over time it develops character, neighborhoods come to life, and there are so many small subtleties to the game systems that I’d have to write a book to go over them all.
Just one example is the law enforcement system. Build a large police station and outfit it with a detective wing, and you’ll get detective sims that actually go around the city investigating and solving crimes. Likewise, equipping a fire station with a fire marshall improves city safety by lowering the fire risk of buildings inspected by the fire marshal.
Cities That Take on Lives of Their Own
Small things you might not consider can play into the life and growth of your city as well. In my region, I’m running three cities. One is a nicely growing University town. A second one I built as a rough and dirty industial town with a seedy gambling strip. That decision to focus on industry and gambling came back to haunt me when I founded my third city in the region. It was close by that gambling town, and it was not long at all after I founded it that I was forced to build a considerable police presence. Criminals from the gambling town VERY quickly discovered the new place and started moving into the area. In a tiny community of 5,000 residents, I had to have a larger police force than was serving the university town with 30,000 residents.
This kind of organic community development is something I treasure about the game. I’d always wanted previous versions of SimCity to feel more like this. They all had it to one degree or another, even Sim City Societies, but none came close to what the new SimCity has achieved there.
Things That Draw Zombies and Alien Invasions
A word of advice to potential mayors who haven’t yet jumped in, or who haven’t spent a lot of time crafting your metropolises; the developers haven’t talked a whole lot about it, but apparently there are environmental influences that encourage the various disasters SimCity is famous for. I think I have stumbled across two of them. My University town found itself very germy early on because of pollution, and soon after it suffered a devastating zombie outbreak.
It also suffered repeated alien invasions, something that the crime-ridden third town I built also encountered. It never happened in the industrial town. The common factor shared by the two towns? They had a LOT of circular roadways. I do believe that aliens are attracted to cities that are laid out like crop circles.
Are you going to brave the Origin issues and give SimCity a try? Are you playing already? Found any more potential interesting disaster-triggering conditions you can create? Let us know in the comments!
I’ve added an album with more pictures and some more detailed game play explanation on Google+ that you can check out if you’d like. There’s some pretty good discussion going on there, too.