Sim City was the game we remember from out teenage years that consumed our 1990’s. Fast forward to January 2013 and we have a shiny new version. Currently only available in closed beta, you’ll need a special code to get access. We were fortunate enough to score one from Aussie gaming site – http://stevivor.com.
After landing a code, the first mission was to install Origin, not since Spore had I played a game that it was required for. The game weighs in at a significant 12GB, so if you’re not on a decent connection, forget it. While the initial download passed fairly quickly, launching the game then leaves you waiting again while updates are downloaded and update data is uncompressed.
So with all that waiting, the question is.. was it worth it? What is the new Sim City like? The answer is absolutely fantastic. Visually the game looks stunning and the tilt shift effect can be increased or even disabled if you’re not a fan. Screenshots and video capture is made easy using the C and V keys, so expect to see a lot of content come out of the early beta testers.
If I had to criticise something so far, it’d be the endless tutorial prompts, while I understand they are teaching us how to play, it would be nice to have more exploration time. Watching a robbery take place and the police arriving to apprehend the bad guys, watching a house on fire be extinguished by fire fighters are just a couple of highlights from my little city so far.
I’ll update my impressions as I get further into the game, but if you can beg, borrow or steal one of those limited beta codes, I suggest you do.
After the tutorial completes, you’re started with a blank area of land to start fresh. After laying down some roads, you zone the land residential, commercial or industrial, which is just what you’d expect when building a city. It’s easy to do with the 3D camera controls feeling comfortably familiar.
Houses and businesses start to be built, closely followed the need for essential services like power and water. As an experiment, I tried to avoid using coal-fired power stations and used a couple of wind instead, this works quite well. Unfortunately there isn’t any solar power options, at least not in the beta. On that note, there are quite a few items that are unavailable in the beta.
With a city full of people, you need to keep them happy and healthy. This means you’ll need fire, police a town hall and hospitals and schools. After playing for around an hour you really do get a feeling and respect for town planning. All things need to work in harmony for a city to work.
All this will be familiar to those who played earlier versions of Sim City, however there’s a who new generation who will have never played this game. For those that have, there’s some pretty visuals to keep you engaged.
Unfortunately the list of unavailable items includes disasters, so we can’t yet destroy our amazing creations. The default video recording size is low-resolution, I’ll increase it and record some more soon, but for now here is a quick look at the game.