Sim City sucks. Not the original or (some of the) iterations from the past but the latest one. It just blew from the day it was released and why did that happen, you ask? Two letters: EA.
Scroll to the bottom for an update.
The idea of building a vibrant, thriving city with residential real estate, businesses, economies and everything you would find in a major metropolis is very attractive to gamers. In fact, it has been since the days of the SNES when Sim City came out (if it came out before then, I don’t care, that game ruled). And with every Sim City in the past, you rarely ran out of space to build! After all, what fun would that be?
Well folks, we found out with the latest edition of Sim City. Not much fun at all – and that was just the beginning.
The moment I bought this game, at launch, I couldn’t play it. I installed the game and, even though it seemed to install several GB worth of data on my computer, the game informed me that I needed to be online in a server provided by EA to play. EA had planned ahead so poorly, they had TWO US servers. There were a few other servers across the globe. It was ridiculous.
For days, I couldn’t even access or play the game I had just purchased, thanks to the always-online policy ridiculously adopted by Electronic Arts for this franchise. So I took it back to Walmart and they gave me a refund – then pulled the game from their shelves. HA! I cost EA a bunch of sales. It felt good. Of course, I still kept the game on my PC and played it. That served EA right. Finally, they added enough servers to let me start a game. Within an hour of playing, I was completely out of space!
This game gives you a tiny map to play on. Several other players can play in nearby regions, the idea being that you each can focus on some specialty and help each other. Playing this kind of game online isn’t as fun as others, though, because besides trading, there isn’t much of an interaction with the other players. You can all send resources to a special project-site to build something like a space ship or a solar energy collector. But that is all this game has to offer in the sense of a multiplayer. Boring! And for that lame interaction, we gave up 95% of land space.
For ages, the game had disabled the fastest “speed” option for time-passage. Other features were disabled or hindered. And finally, about a year after the game had been released, developers caved in and enabled an “Offline” mode to allow users to play, by themselves, without having to be connected to the Internet. The @SimCity account people acted like this was the greatest day ever and that developers had listened to their players. The problem is that players always had been complaining about the online-only feature and EA didn’t listen to us at all until their sales tanked and they didn’t have a choice.
I equate this to a girl that turns you down when you ask her out, because she thinks shes going to go on a date with another guy that weekend. But then, that guy doesn’t want to see her. So she calls you up and tries to make you think you’re not really the second-choice, when that is exactly what you are. Fickle way of thinking. Simplistic and selfish. That’s Electronic Arts.
Sim City might be more polished now but I will never know. I’ve stopped playing it (even though I still have my “free” copy) and don’t intend to play it again. If you don’t want to listen to your consumers, don’t expect them to show back up when you finally decide to hear them out (after your product flops).
Updated 3/5/2015: So it looks like this game was such a phenomenal failure that it made EA act. They’ve closed Maxis and fired everyone, as of 3/4/2015, apparently. Good! The game was a sucky piece of shit and completely unfun to play and it’s launch was, even by Maxis founder Will Wright’s own words, inexcusable.