Is the new SimCity game a downgrade from SimCity 4?

The hype for the new SimCity game (SimCity 2013, SimCity 5) by Maxis, which will be released by EA on March 5, 2013, is pretty hard to ignore. In recent months, and especially since the SimCity Closed Beta test that took place during the last weekend of January, more and more details have emerged about the game all over the internet. And as each bit of information is received and digested by the passionate fans of the series, the debate rages on over whether the new SimCity is truly a worthy sequel, or if it is a downgrade when compared to SimCity 4.

A Matter of Scale

Perhaps the most widely criticized issue about the new SimCity is the size of the lots cities can be built upon, the limited number of lots that can appear in a region, and the fact that those lots are not adjacent to each other. In SimCity 4, lots came in three sizes, the largest of which was 16 times larger than the smallest. The large lots were great for making self-contained cities, but such cities would still be described as small compared to the ambitions of some players.

To make a true metropolis with millions of citizens, a SimCity 4 player could build cities in several lots (dozens or even hundreds of them), which would all be connected and able to share resources. In the region view, all of those cities would visually become one big metropolis. To any player interested in building the biggest city possible, or a city of similar scale to the largest real life cities of the world, SimCity 4 was their best choice.

In the new SimCity, all lots will be roughly similar in size to the medium lots of SimCity 4, which were four times smaller than the large lots. On the new region view, lots are separated by predesigned and unchangeable highways and land features, and the largest regions only contain 16 lots. To some fans, calling this a downgrade is an understatement. It’s clear from this information that it will be impossible to create any kind of realistically scaled metropolis. But why is this so important?

If the amazing cities that the SimCity community has been showing off over the years from SimCity 4 are not reason enough, then the community of Minecraft provides a suitable answer to the question. Searching the internet for some of the most ambitious Minecraft creations produces results that are staggering in scale. 1:1 replicas of real life buildings and architecture are not uncommon, and in some cases, hundreds or even thousands of hours are spent on their creation. This tells us quite clearly how limitless the creative ambitions of gamers are, and that given a certain set of tools, they will always construct projects that exceed the expectations of what those tools should even be capable of.

Two Steps Back

So I can understand why some of the most dedicated of SimCity fans believe the new game to be a downgrade. To go from a game that allows the player to create a sprawling metropolis to one that only allows at most a series of 16 relatively small cities that are not even adjacent to each other can only be described as disappointing. And beyond that, there are other missing features from SimCity 4 as well. Terraforming (manipulating the land like in a god-sim) is completely absent from the new SimCity. There are no subways or farmlands. Water pipes and power lines have been entirely removed, with their functionality being merged with that of roads. It can’t be denied that the lack of these features will further stifle creativity and/or realism.

Beyond that, there are a variety of technical complaints that have come up. Some fans are frustrated that the cities will be saved to the cloud, preventing players from unleashing disasters on their cities to watch the carnage before rolling back to an earlier save. Then there are those complaining that the game requires an “always online” internet connection to play. Others boycott EA’s Origin platform entirely. Even the visual style of SimCity has come into question, with some people feeling that the game looks too much like The Sims, or too much like a cartoon.

SimCity: Meteor Strike

And yet, despite all this, I find the term “downgrade” to be a very harsh description of the new SimCity. In fact, from what I’ve played of the SimCity Closed Beta, to call the game a downgrade is to do quite an injustice to the developers and what they have accomplished within the new game. Where it may be described as a downgrade when referring to the immensity of its scale, the new SimCity can only be described as an upgrade when looking at the little details.

A New Engine

The technology in the GlassBox engine that was developed for the new SimCity allows the game to simulate every resource, from the Sims (citizens) themselves to the waste they produce. When the player designates a residential zone, construction workers will drive into town from the regional highway and build houses or apartments there. Soon, Sims looking for a place to live will come to town and move into an available dwelling that is compatible with their financial limitations. Their home will be powered by electricity that (in a specific data view) can be seen moving along the roads from the power plant to the home, assuming enough power is available to the city. If the city has waste management, the produced sewage will be pumped along to where it needs to go, or will build up and become quite unpleasant if the city has no means of dealing with it. The Sims occupying the building will drive to work, and contribute to traffic. The factories with a large enough workforce will produce goods which will be picked up and delivered by freight trucks. If the factory catches fire, the nearest fire station will send out a truck, assuming its trucks are not already dispatched. The fire itself is simulated, and spreads realistically from one building to the next if left unanswered.

In older games in the series, if a road was too congested, the game would show you a lot of cars, but the cars themselves were just part of an elaborate facade. Everything in the new SimCity happens for a reason, and that reason is always visible to the player and realistically simulated.

Some of the GlassBox-enabled features should be of special interest to SimCity 4 players who connected multiple cities together. In SimCity 4, connected cities could make trade deals with each other to send or receive water, power or waste management, and residents in one city could get jobs in another and utilize various forms of transportation to get there. It was a cool feature, but it had its limitations, the most severe of which was that time was essentially paused in any city not being immediately controlled by the player. It was easy to make one city to act like a garbage dump for the other cities in the region, and to never have to deal with the consequences in the garbage dump city.

The new SimCity improves upon those features. Although the passing of time is asynchronous for all cities in a region, if the player controlled city becomes overrun with crime, the other cities in the region will be affected as well, and the player will see the results upon returning to those cities. If a building catches on fire in a city without any fire protection services, a neighboring city with a spare truck will send it, and the response time will be reflected by the distance it has to travel and the traffic it encounters.

There’s also the option to allow friends or strangers to be the mayors of other cities in your region. I have not personally had the chance to test this out yet, but it is a feature I am looking forward to. I have always considered SimCity to be a single player game, but I’m willing to give multiplayer a try.

The upgrades in SimCity are numerous, and for more details, please see my impressions of the SimCity Closed Beta.

This or That?

The question now is whether the improvements outweigh the missing features from SimCity 4. In an imperfect and unscientific poll on GameFAQs, I asked a group of people on the SimCity board whether or not they would be buying the game and why. Of 92 voters, 22% had pre-ordered, 34% said they were probably going to buy it (pending reviews, friend’s opinions, or other deciding factors), 16% said they would not buy it because they considered the game a downgrade or found the missing features from SimCity 4 to be inexcusable, and 26% refused to buy any game that required a constant internet connection, or any product on EA’s Origin platform. It seems like the community is pretty split.

Taking this information into consideration, I contacted Ocean Quigley (Creative Director and Art Director for the new SimCity) via twitter and asked him whether or not there was any chance of us seeing larger lots or regions with adjacent lots in the game (the most missed features from SimCity 4). His response was as follows:

“Not for ship, maybe afterwards. I can’t give you promises – but we know lots of people want bigger landscapes to build on.”

I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Personally, I did not have a problem with the size of the cities while I played through the SimCity Closed Beta. Then again, I could only play for 1 hour, and in that time I did manage to make a city that occupied about 75% of the map. Thinking of that, the lots do seem limited in size. But more importantly, I was having so much fun enjoying the simulation, the gameplay, and the visuals (I actually prefer the new look) that I barely noticed the lack of space.

Admittedly, I’ve been looking forward to the new SimCity since it was first announced. The time I spent playing the SimCity Closed Beta just further increased my anticipation. Do the missing features from SimCity 4 carry more weight than all of the new features in SimCity? Is the new SimCity a downgrade? I don’t think so, but you’ll just have to decide for yourself when SimCity launches on March 5th. Personally, I can’t wait.

Now that the game has been released, check out the Gamer Horizon review of SimCity and SimCity – One Month Later.

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0 thoughts on “Is the new SimCity game a downgrade from SimCity 4?

  1. Two steps forward with the simulation engine and the removal of the grid but many steps back in many departments. The new SimCIty forgets that it is a CITY builder first before anything. And unfortunately, SimCity (2013) comes with so many restrictions and a lack of freedom.

    SimCity 4: Deluxe allowed you to build not just a metropolis but create mountains, forests, beaches, islands, etc. With so much custom content, the NAM, SPAM, XXdita Turbo Mod, many custom mods, props, buildings, lots, terrain, water mods, HD trees, etc out there, people have now made tiny cabins in heavily forested mountains, to farms, small towns, and big sprawling metropolis. All of this is now impossible with the new game even if you get rid of all the amazing custom content people have made. The key word here is FREEDOM.

    Alas, the game is now always-online and the developers said this means that everything is “live” and “permanent”. This means you cannot save/load “normally” like before. There is also the issue of limited save slots (only 10 in total) which means that the days of having many gigantic 80 km x 80 km size regions in your hard drive is now over. This also means that the game is short term in scope and not long term.

    Deeper simulation with extreme restrictions OR lowered simulation but with freedom and ability to make a real metropolis or whatever you want? Some will want the first option (SC (2013))and some will go for the latter (SC 4: Deluxe).

    The real deal breaker is ultimately the price. SimCity (2013) is ridiculously expensive for a game with many cut features. I have a horrible feeling that EA will add the rest via DLC but I hope it will never reach that point.


    1. It’s interesting you pointed out the save functionality being limited in this SimCity because that was one of the biggest things I did with the original. I would build up my city until it’s this big gargantuan megalopolis, only to destroy it with some form of natural disaster, which would then make me wonder how all the Sims (for the lack of a better term) would react. If what you’re saying is true, I won’t even be able to do this anymore and I would have to deal with the ramifications of my experiment.

      Since I’m getting the Mac version of the game, I’m got time to be cautiously optimistic about it once reviews come. I’m anxious to hear Ari’s opinions on the game’s review once we have it posted on the site.


  2. I want to plan, zone, and build cities and the transportation options that keep them moving. That is first and foremost in SC4. As to whether or not I want to know what my Sims are doing, that should be secondary and optional much like it is now in SC4.

    SC2013 will be an enjoyable game for some, short lived but enjoyable for a while to them, however in my opinion it has no right to use the name that SC4 has built up and fans expected to be expanded upon.

    For those who strive for more than superficial play, who seek a canvas for their creativity and long hours, even years of enjoyment SC2013 does not look to hold any promise. It is a different game and should have been named accordingly.

    I will not buy SC2013 for many reasons some of which are: It requires constant internet connection, no local saves, Steam, looks like a childs game, does not build on what the previous series created but pretty much ignores the former games contributions. Based on what has been revealed so far I believe I am being played for a sucker by EA who wants me to buy the game and then be milked ($) with a carrot here and there. Then the ultimate insult is the fact that the plug could be pulled at any time and what do I have to show for my money? I don’t have to worry about that because I’ll not buy their game. Same goes for any other game or company who does likewise. 🙂


    1. WHY would you not buy a game you have not played?You are free but you gonna miss a great game.I am sure IT WONT BE SHORT LIVED.There are so many room for improvements in future expansion packs here.DRM freakout is common nowadays, but have you given a chance for it?It has pros and cons…The game has not even launched yet!Being a hater is just stupid Jim, wait for the launch and then decide!….P.S..Sim City series have never been an adult game.


      1. Why would I not buy a game I have not played? Because I see things I
        don’t like in a game or don’t see things I do like. When I go to buy a
        shirt I don’t have to try one on to know whether or not I like it. I try
        what I like on to test the fit. 🙂

        I don’t buy games based on
        what the future “may” hold such as expansions etc. I don’t think you
        have any basis for calling me a “hater” I have said before that I’m glad
        for those who look forward to the game. I am not a hater, just a
        careful and discriminate shopper who does not throw money at something
        just because it has a sparkle or two. I’m a ten plus year Sim City
        player but have absolutely no interest in SC2013. SC4 has years of play
        yet and I will enjoy them all. 😉


      2. I am sorry, but theres not a perfect game out there.What you did was hating…I dont dont buy a game thinking in it before actually playin it.Do that and never play a game again in your life.I mean, the next Sim City revamp, if it exists, will be out about in 2023….10 years from now…even if the game is crap it deserves a gameplay.So Im sorry.—-I bought SC4 deluxe and I played iPhone games longer than SC4…because it is just a statistical game, you put things and you look.—Dont be like…you dont have basis…YES I DO HAVE BASIS…you are craping about a game that has not even launched…that had a beta that lasted 1 or 2 days….I mean…


      3. Maybe if you took a deep breath and calmed yourself you might make more sense in parts of your post.

        Anyway, I’ve played SC since the first one in the nineties and have had
        a computer in my home since 1985 and played Atari on the television
        before that so if you’ve played anything longer than I have kudos to you

        If you think I’m hating then I must be hating huh?
        Wait…the sky is falling…nope. I hate a lot of things and a
        “know-it-all” is top of the list. 😉

        I was not interested in
        playing BETA because I am not interested in SC2013. It will be a short
        lived game and not the kind of game I would be interested in no matter
        how long it lasts. I’ve never played XL I play SC4 and have played it
        more and longer than any game ever and ain’t near done yet.

        only one whining and crying that I know of is YOU. Seems you can’t stand
        folks to see things differently than you do or have an opinion you
        don’t like. I’m happy, not crying because I know what I like and I know
        what I don’t like and it will save me sixty bucks come March. You like
        the game so good for you. Now go dry your eyes. 😉


      4. Ok, first…internet cant show emotions.Crying in the last thing I am doing now.I sure dont need people to like a game so I can have fun..sure not.I also dont need people to say that my comment – on a crappy website – does not make sense…bye and be less grumpy..greetings from Brazil.I also dont know why you need to win a conversation on the internet and begin to creat crazy points here.
        DO YOU WORK AT EA?DO YOU KNOW IT WILL BE A SHORT LIVED?You are a funny american.


      5. @twitter-109664543:disqus You sound like a 12yr old boy who’s balls haven’t yet dropped. Are you foreign? Because your english is shit. Also, stop bashing @jim14409:disqus. He is entitled to his opinion and can say whatever he wants about this game, and frankly I agree with him too on the same issues. This is America; we can say whatever the hell we want. ‘Murica


      6. @google-e8791f01098515c8c4fbc0c848b3420e:disqus Learn your native language first before critizing someone.Saying balls does not make your english better.Its typical of troll child to comment something like that when they dont have na argument.We know who have 12yo here.I gave my opinion and u are weird enough to associate this to america just because you read my comment and I realized that I am not an american.GROW UP troll.


      7. @google-e8791f01098515c8c4fbc0c848b3420e:disqus Go to a psychologist or something like that.You are weird.Does it make sense to bring America to this?I gave my opinion as well.My english is well enough for a foreign and better than yours…saying balls does not make your english better, its just a 12yo hater language.


      8. I have deleted several posts from this point in the conversation on as they were impolite and were not constructive. The purpose of this article was to look at both sides of the argument regarding the new SimCity in a respectful manner. I appreciate how passionate everyone is about the game, but please remember to have respect for differing opinions and try to keep the topic about the game (and not throwing insults at each other). SimCity is less than a week away! We’ll all be able to make our own decisions about the full version of the game soon. Until then, KEEP IT CIVIL. 🙂


  3. I have grown up playing Sim City games and loved all of them except SC Societies which wasn’t even really a Sim City game anyway. If people are trying to compare SC4 with the new Sim City I think that this comparison isn’t really valid. The reason being that the developers are taking a different approach and focus on the city simulation. This time around it focuses much more on the finer details and the interconnected aspects of cities. In order to have this kind of depthin in the micro scale with a full 3D engine, they can’t have the same macro focus as in SC4 because processing power is still not powerful enough in most PC’s to handle it. Take Cities XL 2011 for example: I tried building a large city on the largest map size and after filling only half the map, my powerful system strained to run the simulation.
    There will never be a game exactly like SC4 again and frankly, that game had a lot of issues due to its scale and that made it inaccessible to a lot of gamers. This new Sim City is its own game with innovative features that I think most fans will appreciate. SC4 is still there if you want to build on a massive scale but the new game needed to innovate to avoid risk of stagnating the franchise.
    Personally, as a father now I wouldn’t have the time it takes to build a multi-city metropolis so the scale of the new game will suit myself and most people just fine.


    1. As someone who used to spend hours and hours on games back when I was a kid, I recognize the need as an adult to have games that have reduced complexity, yet increased depth somewhere else which I feel this game has. I don’t have much of a problem with the gameplay… just the always on nature of it and their ability to, if they want to, can force you to upgrade to a new game just by turning off the servers that work in the back end.


    2. I see your point, but to say the comparison between two SimCity games isn’t valid…that itself isn’t valid. When people say “you’re comparing apples to oranges,” I like the response: “Well, they’re both fruit.” Now comparing SC4 to the new SC isn’t even like comparing apples to oranges; it’s like comparing… red delicious apples to golden delicious apples.

      Sire the developers are taking a different approach, but is that the RIGHT approach for you as a fan? I was super intrigued by the possibilities of their highly detailed approach, but anything that limits my creativity in a sandbox game like this, especially a city building simulation, that doesn’t jive with the reality of what the game is trying to simulate, is a definite negative for me. I know we are constrained by the power of computers, but somewhere in the marketing for this they said something like, “build a simulated version the city that you live in.” That was possible in SC4, though the odd scaling and difficulty dealing with even the size of a mid-sized American metropolis like Cleveland made the results pretty unsatisfactory. In the new game it doesn’t even really seem possible to build a true metropolis. If the size of a “city” in this game is the same size as the middle-sized lots in SC4, that’s two square kilometers. That’s the size of LOWER MANHATTAN. That’s the size of downtown Cleveland. That’s a city? Okay, change your terminology, call it a “neighborhood” and your “region” becomes the city (like in SC4). But at a top region size of 4×4 lots, that’s still only 8km on a side…


  4. So were limited to 10 save slots, and the map can be filled 75% by someones first hour of play? Everytime I read about this game I’m more and more convinced I’m right to pass on it. It just makes me want to play SC4 honestly.


      1. The 10 save slot thing is true, though here’s an interesting bit of information: You can have 10 save slots PER SERVER. So, really, you’ll have 10 save slots multiplied by however many servers you have access to. That’s a little bit better, isn’t it? It’s still no substitute for infinite local saves, but at least it’s not quite as limited as we were led to believe.


  5. Do remember that all those awesome mods took at least a year to begin appearing after SC4, and more than that to be perfected to their current state, and that EA gave little support to the people who developed them. In other words, modding wasn’t a feature of SC4 – we the community created the mods.


  6. You’re right, modding is a very important feature from SimCity 4. “Given a certain set of tools, they (gamers) will always construct projects that exceed the expectations of what those tools should even be capable of.” This applies to modding as well! I hope they find a way to support modding in the new SimCity.


  7. Everyone is missing the main point of the game though. Yes the maps are smaller, but the point of this simcity is to specialize in a certain business. Each city will not need police, fire, schools, power plants, etc… some cities will have little residental if they are focusing on oil or electronics because another city that has a lot of residental will have those people commute to your city to work in the oil refineries and electronic factories.. get what I am saying? The point in this sim city isnt to build the biggest city with the highest population, its foucs on the business you want to grow.


    1. I see in a similar way and I like it for that, but at the same time, I have to acknowledge that I see why people dislike the fact that certain aspects of the latest in the series was taken out. (Although, I’d also like to note that I always considered laying pipes in SimCity 4 both a kind of backtracking after laying out the foundation of a city section, and rather unrealistic in the sense that pipes more or less just ooze the water into the neighbouring area and the buildings soak it up. Here I feel it’s more realistic.)

      I also see what people mean with a certain set of shortcomings such as the lack of subways or freeform highways to connect the cities, but since I studied Graphs (mathematics’ kind I mean), I have to come to Maxis’s defence. All of the lack of mega cities and free city connections and subways comes down a simple fact: The Glassbox engine. Over all? It is a great concept! It is the first engine (which I know of) that actually can dynamically calculate and simulate movement between various venues around a city, and to do this, it uses Graps. Basically, you create complex graph systems when you lay out the road, and for every thing in motion throughout the city (let it be resources or sims or fire alarms or energy), it becomes the basic grid. This is an incredibly complex system, and the first that can do it as cleanly and engagingly as it does, but at the same time, it cannot allow for certain things. Creating a subway system would require a completely separate graph system which links to the roads at several points. The amount of calcultations to find an optimal, or even a correct route for a sim between A and B would very quickly grow beyond measure. Same with the highways. Right now, there are but a handful of connections between cities in a region, so by all means, resources and sims can only travel between two cities via a single line. If all of a sudden there were more than one, in fact a player determined, and altering amount of roads between cities, it would once again grow the number of calculations, and with the amount of attention put into imports and exports, it should be clear how much that would throw the system off. (I’d note that the fact that instead of Subway trams we now have street-cars which conveniently use the road, is also an indicator of the essentialness of roads in every calculation.)

      Don’t get me wrong either, this isn’t just a matter of computing power. With the current software, they couldn’t have just told everybody to get more powerful processors, because the methods by which the game looks at graphs (as you can tell by ways it distributes electricity for example) , is rather primitive; which of course it has to be since even high-end computers would have trouble working with it today if it worked with more advanced calculations. What it does right now, is that it tries to be as optimal as it can be, but it only works in simpler road layouts. Look at how in some released Beta videos electricity is reported to be off-line in some houses, despite excess energy being produced. If you look at how the little blobs of electricity travel, they basically just go to an intersection, pick a random direction and head down that way, lighting up houses that are connected to the road they’re travelling. If there are dozens of intersections, between a house and the power plant then there is a very good chance that the energy blobs will keep wandering around the system for a day before one of them actually happens to go down the road on which the house stands, because to actually compute which houses are powerless and for each how you can get there through dozens of intersections, is a very tiring calculation for computers. And in the general use of the software, this is not even mentioning all the visuals, the fact that traffic is thrown on top of it and the constant changing of the economical layout.

      Uh sorry for the wall of text. Didn’t realize I’d write so much. Hope it manages to clear up the “why” of certain shortcomings though. I understand if people still want the things left out, but I just wanted to make a point that there is good reason why Maxis left those things out, and not all reason is that EA is pushing them (which it probably is doing too).

      Also, for clarity’s sake: I have nothing to do with Maxis, so I’m not a 100% sure this is indeed how the system works, but by what they said and what they’ve shown (as well as the bit I know about computing and mathematics) this is probably what’s going on in the background.


    2. What you describe is not a city… there’s not even really anything that could approximate such an entity in real life. Cities, districts, precincts, neighborhoods– nearly all levels of an urban entity have the basic services you mention and they are managed carefully, weaving themselves into a larger network finally forming a true city. The idea of ‘specializing’ to such an extent that there is no need for police or fire services, but only to decide which ‘business’ you want to focus on… well that’s a fiction which deviates entirely from the essence of what past SC games engendered.


    3. @twitter-572291962:disqus what city have you gone to that DOESN’T have a fire station, school, police station, etc? A city NEEDS those to be called a “city”, otherwise it’s a town. Maybe they should have named this game “SimTowns Online”


  8. mod support will be in the game but some time after launch they said they are trying to figure out how to make it work plus they started some write ups for it


  9. City ordinances are another HUGE feature which have been removed. What about setting tax rates and public sector funding?


  10. Just plain awful! I started playing Sim City on my Nintendo and beat that puppy with a stick, by making no roads and using all rails. I felt so accomplished. When Sim City 2000 came out and I could make custom structures and landscapes, I was deeply engrossed in creation mode and simply filling up a grid region to max was never going to be enough! SC 3000 and then SC 4 Deluxe and we all are 110% positive, we fell in love with realism and imaginative creation combined. These are the two core elements of SCs success and I do believe,….no, I know the fact that these two core elements are now gone, is a deal breaker for most of us.


  11. in essence i think the new sim city focuses more on micro managing more than macro managing, maxis took care of all the terraforming and that garbage which was lots of fun, but they are truly focusing on the city. YET, the major problem is that the city tiles are too small to make any real large cities, i don’t know how the mega projects will work but i know that there is a limitation to how big the metropolisis can grow, and essentially this means that every city will be very similar in the long run, after a certain point cities will start to grow pretty much automatically because it’s harder to limit zoning. i believe it will be interesting to try out the game to because i want to see if i enjoy the game past the beta.


  12. But, really, isn’t one of the features of the new SC that you can follow individual “Sims”, much more so that the limited data on travel patterns from SC4? That really says enough. With the creation of the Sims series, this whole thing has been pulled away from urban planning and closer to Sims-like game play. I just hope my Sims families don’t keep getting killed like Liz Lemon’s.


    1. I found the features of SimCity 4 that allowed you to move a Sim from The Sims into the game and drive them around the city far more intrusive that what I’ve played of the new SimCity. In the new game, when you click on a Sim, you get detail about where they came from, where they are going and what they are thinking. That’s about it. It’s a nice detail, but I wouldn’t call it a major feature of the game. Beyond that, it’s impossible to actually keep tabs on any one Sim. Once they get to their next destination, they pretty much disappear. They might pop up later, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever click on the same Sim twice. Think of the Sims in SimCity as merely a resource. The new SimCity is all about the city and how alive it feels compared to earlier games, and the Sims that inhabit the city are great at bringing the city to life. There isn’t anything “Sims-like” about the gameplay, at least not in my opinion. I hope you will give the game a try and see for yourself!


  13. First, game does look beautiful. I tried it during the beta. Second, and more importantly, I would have to agree with all of the issues raised so far on the limits of game play. I loved making huge sprawling cities in SC4. But one thing that people haven’t said so far is how easy SC2013 is. Maybe it’s just me but I doubt I’m that good of a player but it felt very easy to be profitable and crank up the property value and happiness to have the most dense and richly populated area with the people crying out for more poverty. I was making a ridiculous amount of money and wasn’t really doing anything strategic, just had a ton of rich people and no poor.

    Issues that weren’t raised:

    I don’t like always needing to build everything on a road, including grasslands and parks. I don’t like the gaps inbetween roads and zoning, if a road way is too far from another the zone does not fill in and it stays as a gap. And from the previous statement, you can’t fill those gaps with anything. I don’t like that you can no longer map your mass transit, in SC4 you can track your vehicles to see where traffic was being caused and implement buses, subways, and the like to solve this problem. When playing the beta I just put in buses and apparently they worked without any issues. I may not have gotten far enough in the game to unlock it but it seemed like City Ordinances were gone as well so no more Clean Air Act.

    My main concern about games is replay ability. How many times you start over and come back again and again. That’s what sells a game for me. Games that you play through once and have had enough I don’t believe are worth the buy. Sadly I think that is the issue here with this game. I don’t see there being enough diversity in game play to keep the gamer coming back to try again or start over. In SC4 there were side missions, being a cop, a bus driver, working for Doctor Vu. All of these things affected and changed your gameplay and I feel like this Sim City is just straight forward. Just, here…build a city that looks and acts like everyone else’s and then do it again.


    1. I believe specializations should add some replay value to the game. The most fun I had in the beta was when I built a casino city. But specializations can only go so far in terms of replay value. Whether or not you will play SimCity over and over again, or if you’d rather go back to SimCity 4 will probably be based on what kind of creative person you are. If you’re the kind of person that wants to build the city to be as huge as possible, SimCity 4 will always be there for you. But when you want to focus more on the little details, the new SimCity has everything you need to make a living, breathing city like never before.

      Also, as strange as it may sound for the series, the social element in the new SimCity should not be ignored. Building up a region with a couple friends or even some strangers can be more fun than you’d expect! Just a few hours ago, I got to participate in the SimCity Closed Beta 3 and experiment with a multiplayer region for the first time. I created a new region, set it to public, and a few minutes later two players had joined the region. It wasn’t long before I was sending my extra police and fire vehicles over to their cities, and I’d receive Simoleons in return. A while later, as my city grew, crime got a bit out of control, and I saw a message saying that the criminals from my city were causing trouble in my neighbor’s cities. This really adds a whole new spin to SimCity. You could build a city where your objective is not to make everyone happy, but instead to raise a city of villains to terrorize the other cities in your region! Mwahaha!

      Anyway, in less than a week, we’ll find out whether this game will live up to our expectations. I’m still cautiously optimistic!


  14. There are two huge let downs for me which prompts me to stick with SC4. 1: You need to have an internet connection in order to play which means in a few years when the game is less popular and EA feels it doesn’t want keep the servers up, they’ll shut down and then you are left with an unplayable game unless you can find a server people have started. 2. No new architecture, I want to build asian style cities in dense jungles and on mountains, I want to build middle eastern style cities on rolling desert or winter resort cities in the mountains. Not kool EA, you’re disappointing…


  15. Scroll to bottom of post for my solution to small maps and region layout…

    Im a 27 year old normal guy who is no one special and have been playing SimCity since its inception… How is it even possible for the Maxis crew to not think about thier CORE fanbase.
    Great you have made a new game that looks much better than before, looks to play better and prob wont have as many bugs and memory leaks. That i like, the DMR i can deal with, ORIGIN I ACTAULLY LIKE USING, The online thing doesnt bother me at all, having to pay more for a "better" game doesnt bother me…Not being able to load my game if your servers are down does bother me, not being able to save my game when I choose bothers me, having to build my cities on a small pre determined region that cant be edited bothers me.
    There are lots of things about the new SimCity that i dont like but none that i mention would keep me from buying it, even the small city sizes i could deal with though i dont like it, but do understand the reasons for it. The fact is Maxis, by making it where the city borders dont actually touch each other ruins the entire experience for me, and im sure thousands more would agree.
    I logged thousands of hours playing a modded version of SimCity 4 where i had over 60 or more large city plots, each city touching each other and i was in control of the entire region. I downloaded detailed satelite maps of the entire Lower 48 US states broken up between 60-100 plus large cities and bought the Nam/Lex ect ect, mods that came out for the game over the years. I could "recreate history" basicly build the cities as if i were Christopher Columbus and had discovered a new land. I built Washington first then usually New York then just started spreading the population across the country as i went. "like real life" It was amazing and still is to this day.
    So a question to Maxis or any other game developers out there… How is it possible that NO ONE at Maxis has ever been to SimTropolis or SC4Devotion? If they would have bothered to check it out they would have noticed that thousands of mods and add ons were created over the years for one simple game… SimCity 4. Did i mention that these mods were FREE, and fine tuned over the years? So how is it possible for an entire community of modders that turned a VERY GOOD game into an AMAZING game and kept the rest of us entertained while we waited for Maxis to out do itself, which would be very difficult, HOW did you just ignore that? Why Maxis? why didnt you praise all these modders and offer some of them a job? or at least buy thier creations or even just copy what they did? You could have taken SimCity 4 and just added all these new mods we have now, maybe threw a few extra’s in "just to show the modders who the real pro’s are", with all the new buildings and options along with your own great additons all you would have had to do is improve the graphics and replace the 4 in the title with a 5.
    This could have been done years ago, bringing in great income while you developed this new thing you call SimCity. Instead we get a prettied up but dumbed down city simulating MMO geared toward the masses and the short term. You cast aside alot of long time customers in favor of a younger fan base who will be eager to buy "the next" SimCity when they get bored with this one. I know it makes sense, when people still find new ways to play a single game for ten years straight you make no money. Why not just make a game the leaves your paying customers wanting more, willing to buy the next version because they love the concept but see alot of room for improvement. Dont worry youll be able to sell a new version every year now with the current set up. Good financial move i must say.
    For anyone who isnt buying the game, just do what im doing. I havent played SimCity 4 for two years so im just gonna go buy the game and get the Nam/Lex mods CD and install any mod i want to. With regions so big its near impossible to even half way fill up all the city plots and all the new options and mods always make it a new experience.
    There are a few bugs but after 2 weeks of forum searching i had 99% of them worked out and ran a Duel Core HP with no real graphics card. The large regions only make loading times longer so gameplay isnt even affected. Now with 6 cores and a high end graphics card it should be even better.

    Sorry for the long post but i was very excited about the new game and have always admired Maxis and the entire SimCity franchise… I feel kinda betrayed maybe even a little heartbroken lol


  16. This game is a total let down. I was excited but the thing that bothers me the most is that the game is so online-oriented. What’s wrong with just wanting to build your own city/region? Why can’t an offline mode be optional? I don’t want to share any of my game with other people. And out of 20 people I know, about only 2 would play this game.

    It’s a Facebook game now. And for people who will buy it (because they don’t know any better), they are gonna get a terrible awakening once they run into those groups or individuals who have no limit on their budgets and start buying everything. You’ll see their names on the boards constantly. It’s gonna be based on who’s money is the longest. Then the game won’t be fun no more.

    They completely took creativity from the game. Everything will be dictated. You can’t even control out your cities connect together.


  17. i got closed beta access. the game is horrible! HORRIBLE. This does not live up to simcity 4: Deluxe edition. I actually stopped playing the game and went back to playing sc4:de. Its obvious that they make an always online game so its harder to steal the game. also, this is going to be an expensive game once you factor in all the downloadable content. which doesnt even add anything but a skin or two. no real developments. this is certainly a leap backwards in my eyes. I cant say im surprised though since this is coming from EA the most money hungry corporation in gaming to date. i refuse to buy anything from ea anymore after their SAME DAY RELEASE DLC i mean WTF ea. you suck!


  18. The always on drm really pisses me off. I have DSL and it does go out now and then. That combined with EA’s terrible servers and such well its just going to be a disaster. With that said I did pre-order the game because I am a die hard simcity fan. I have to play this one may it be good or bad. We shall see.


  19. Regardless of how many support the option of buying Sim City, do you consider a constant internet connection a step on a favorable path. EA most often disguises indicative motives of greed as benign innovation. And EA would have you believe that their choices are commended by
    majority of consumers.

    By buying Sim City, I unfortunately will be supporting EA and their continued belief. I wish I
    could directly pay the developers who have been forced to adhere to EA’s ultimate game design strategy. I worry about Activision as well but they’re much more subtle.


  20. To all those that are saying to people who are not going to buy the game because of the DRM issue, ‘Why boycott/hate on this game when you haven’t even tried it’?
    I think you’ve missed the point. By buying the game and giving EA more
    money, you’re tacitly endorsing their always online policy and
    reinforcing the idea EA has that what they are doing is right, and
    giving them the funds to continue doing it to boot. The only way to stop
    them is to stop giving them money. I was excited when I heard there was
    going to be a new SimCity game, but this DRM always online business has
    to stop. I wouldn’t touch the new SimCity game with a barge-pole.


    1. Have to agree. I was hyped to get the game, but having read (especially) the DRM issue, the game is off my list now. I’ve seen too many times where servers have been turned off rendering some product or another useless. I’m not paying $60USD (SRP) for a potential paperweight (and a poor one at that.) I’ll stick with SC4


  21. All this complaining is basically about the fact that gaming has become MAINSTREAM.
    Mainstream for game developers mean that the vast majority of potential customers are CASUALS.
    It is the curse of the maturing market, when a new segment of the market evolve beyond the pioneering phase the pioneers and explorers of the new market gets left behind. The general public has become the most important consumers and the markets adapts to this new situation by catering to them.
    If you want to have a hard-core Sim City you will have to finance and make it yourself, like the space shooter community did with Star Citizen.


  22. What’s driving this, to the game’s detriment, is EA’s commitment to making no more games that are exclusively single player. While a multiplayer option doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, making it a primary focus feels like the hand of the money men steering the dev team, and I don’t really think it’s a good thing for this kind of game.


  23. Simcity is the latest example of what is wrong with gaming today. It’s the DLC mentality of game companies, who want to sell you a premium priced game, but give you only 1/3rd of the game, and then charge you various amounts from $5 to $30 for the pieces they left out. Not content with collecting $60 per gamer, they now want $60 the first 6 months, and then $100 or more a year from you as they convinced you to pay more to buy the parts of the game they left out.

    The lack of ability to save the game in a chosen state, and revert back to it, or even run multiple versions of that saved game to see how different decisions would impact your creations, is another deal killer. It was always one of the most fun aspects of ALL the SimCity games, all the way back to the first one running on DOS. It was even in the manuals as one of the key features of game play.

    And the forced online thing is just freaking ridiculous. I read now Hackers have figured out a way around this.

    All I can say is that changes in the game like all of the above, and other ways they have limited this game, are reasons why people will choose to pirate this game. Frankly I feel the way this has shaked out, that the issues around this game practically justify the piracy of it.

    I am a fan of this franchise from the very first version. Hell, I even played almost all of their other silly little sims like SimTower and SimAnt and SimFarm. So that statement is not one that I make lightly. I love Maxis, passionately, Or at least, I used to.

    I feel ripped off. And that will have a real impact on how I spend my gaming dollars in the future.

    My all time favorite game franchise has been ruined.


  24. SImCity is not a fair name for this new product. It tarnishes the wonderful SimCity franchise, and represents a departure from the core features that made SimCity such a classic (re-loading cities from earlier state). SimCity 5 is a “rented service”, not a even a game you can pass down to your kids. It should be called SimAngryRental.


  25. no its not downgrade, its actually a slightly better version of the previous game, the game which is slightly more truthful simulator then it was before. However if you expect perfection from a game, yes I said game from a SimCity franchise, then you picked the wrong game, that pretends to be a simulator. I know why they removed the certain features, thats because the unexperienced mayor can only make things worse. the SimCity is a game where Sims always being the mindless drones, that will not drive the roads and highways unless forced to by clever Mayor


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