Hands on with SimCity

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SimCity

Last week at Gamescom in Germany I was treated to a 30 minute hands on session with one of my most anticipated titles of 2013. I went into the session with high expectations and came out absolutely blown away by easily the best SimCity game I’ve ever experienced.

Let’s get right into the great part of the game, customised regions and personal challenges.

No longer is SimCity just about building your own city by itself, even though that is still perfectly acceptable and possible, now SimCity is about social interaction and regions. As a quick example we can go into the world of SimCity and create a region called Lazygamerland and invite you all to join our region and create your cities in them.

You can then choose what sort of speciality you city will follow are you going to be a gambling mecca like Las Vegas or a mining super town like Johannesburg or even an educational town like Grahamstown. You will then lean on this speciality when dealing on the market with other members in the region. So if oil is high in your region then starting an oil town could be a great idea.. you get the point.

After that we were given a quick overview of challenges, challenges can be setup per region and allow for quick fire competitions between friends where you can race to become the richest city in a week or the city with the highest crime rate.

But the challenges go further than that as they are actually embedded in the game, while building my first town in my short hands on I noticed that the citizens kept on asking me to provide things. I could then accept or decline the request. If I accepted the request and completed it I was rewarded with happier citizens and more income, unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to see what happens if I rejected requests. They also mentioned that some of the challenges will be co-op challenges but we didn’t get any more detail than that.

When it came to actually building the town the new controls were magnificent, the gameplay is as simple to understand as before but with a much more detailed engine underneath that controlled everything from power, water and sewerage to police and fire protection.

This part worried me as I didn’t want to have to be laying pipe all over the place constantly and thankfully they’ve agreed, when you place down an item such as water, bus stations or fire stations you can see their sphere of influence. The further away from the point of origin the less effect it has.

This makes it exceptionally easy to integrate a high capacity bus network without having to overthink the initial design phases.

My session was cut short when a rogue meteor shower rained down upon my town causing fires and explosions, unfortunately this was the end of the demo and we were forced out of the room so more eager journalists could file in but I can tell you now that if I was given a choice I would have stayed in that room all day.

Quite simply if you were a fan of the original SimCity then go pre-order this now, don’t think about it just do it. It’s fantastic and while it’s only coming out next year I can’t see how they could possible ruin the amazing core experience that I played.

Last Updated: August 22, 2012

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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