A decade has passed since the original Sim City started it all. Sporting a new Glassbox engine, 2013’s Sim City has a ton of improvements of the original. Unfortunately, it also has a staggering amount of launch day bugs that had dedicated fans up in arms. This included a nasty always-on DRM, a plague of network errors and busy servers, mindless AIs as well as unnecessary traffic no thanks to inefficient path finding. Finally, a year later, a significant amount of these issues have been addressed and the game can now be played properly. For those who have steered clear of the title due its disastrous launch or if you played it the first few months and are more than a little traumatized, read on to find out what has changed. Who knows, you may also end up changing your mind and giving Sim City another chance.
As we’ve mentioned above, Sim City comes with DRM that required you to stay online. This is because it was intended to be more of a multiplayer region building game wherein you create a city and link up to other people in order to share resources. Ideally, you would then end up with a set of fully functioning cities that rely on each other, making the whole experience just that much fun. Well, we all know that rarely really happens. If you get the short stick and get stuck with griefers or people who just up and abandon their creations halfway, then you’ll have an unsightly ghost town on your map. Not fun at all, right?
Not All Bad
The good news is that it has since been addressed so if you’re more of a solo play kind of guy, then new patches allow you to save your city files locally and play Sim City offline in single player mode, which is perfect if you happen to have a slow connection speed. Sans the social aspect of multiplayer mode, the game play remains largely unchanged and you still get access to all previously downloaded content. As a bonus, you can now choose when to save or overwrite files. This means that you can create different versions of the same city using the “Save As” option. You can even turn the Autosave function off completely if you want to so you are now free to go wild with those natural disasters and Outworlder 6 attacks without fearing that all your hard work will to go to waste. A minor caveat: you will not be able to transfer any of your previous creations to switch from online to offline play.
Sim City also has mod support now, which is great for adding some spice into the game play. Understandably, EA has guidelines in place for this type of thing, but it is a step up nonetheless. Now, you can update the visuals to suit your personal style and even add interesting bits of information when rolling over buildings so long as it doesn’t mess with the game play in general, is not offensive to other players and does not use copyrighted material. You also cannot touch the executable files or sell your mods for profit, which are to be expected.
If you have been there during launch and are still scarred from the server issues, you can now rest easy. The servers have since stabilized and Challenges are finally in play. Do you fancy yourself as a master when it comes to building gambling cities? Or maybe you have a knack for cramming an outrageous amount of establishments in an industrial district? Get the chance to be recognized by joining Skill Events. On the other hand, if you tend to forego efficiency for a breath taking view every time, then Creative Events is where you will truly shine. These multiplayer activities offer a truly immersive experience and let you really become a part of the Sim City community.
As for bugs in general, these have more or less been fixed as well. Graphical glitches are a thing of the past and there are no more undeletable items to ruin your city building experience. The traffic problem has also been addressed and so have the UI problems. Agents don’t just walk around mindlessly now so service is improved throughout the city, making for smoother city operations. There are no more garbage trucks and police cars that go around in circles or get stuck for no reason. Fire trucks don’t all just crowd around a single burning building either so you can enjoy as many visits from the Big Lizard as you wish.
The Verdict: Worth the Purchase
With those to consider, should you buy Sim City? Is it worth a second chance? We say yes. Not only do you get to keep all the benefits such as sweet graphics and awesome music by Chris Tilton (soundtrack composer for games such as Black and Assassin’s Creed Unity), you also get all the fixes we’ve outlined for a lower price than the one during launch. Besides, there is a reason why despite the many issues at launch, Sim City is still considered to be one of the best city building games ever made. If you already have the game and have somehow forgotten all about it, then maybe it’s time to give it another shot for the Challenges.