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Formalhaut: Moonlighting

The New SimCity: A First Glance

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It looks like something from a Disney movie, but never fear. This is in fact a screenshot of the latest in the Sim City franchise, after a pretty incredible ten year absence. To be honest, I forgot all about Sim City, but the news have sparked new interest in me, and if you are a fan of any of "The Sim" series, so will you.
But first, some of you may be wondering what the hell I am on about. Well, the Sim City series or game began way back in 1989 on the PC, and boy was it different. Name:  SimCity 1989 Gameplay Image..jpg
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My, that's quite the gridlock there
Naturally, the series has progressed from there, and as of the future release of this new game, there will be a full six games. But what has remained constant throughout the entire series is that the game is up to you. There's no real "story" to it; play it how you want. If your a fan of nurturing your sims with managing your environment, transportation and education, then credit to you. If you prefer a "Jenga" style game where you build your city then destroy it by invoking God's wrath, then by all means! This latest game, slated for release in March of this year, continues with the tradition of it's predecessors, but enhances it with a fresh modern facelift. Perhaps the most striking difference is Maxis's new GlassBox game engine, and it allows you to visualise data in a very professional way. Do you remember those graphics that News programmes sometimes use to illustrate statistical data about how badly your country of origin is doing? Well the GlassBox engine does just that! Things like energy, wealth and even sewage can be tracked.
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It certainly looks slick, and will help aid more "visual" players who may find it harder to truly grasp numbers. SimCity also helps new players with the new neighboured city approach. Basically, your city will exist alongside two others, and you can trade resources, purchase electricity and the like. If your city is struggling, a friendly neighbour may very well save your hide.Another new feature is specialisation. Whereas before, your city was just a generic creation, now you can focus your city on focusing on specialising it as a tourist hotspot, or as a thriving business city. The latest SimCity game also expands upon the online gameplay. While SimCity 4 touched on it, this one first begins by allowing you to collaborate with other users with resources and other stuff. Negotiating an exchange of fuel for example becomes more interesting when it's between two humans, not an A.I. There are other benefits too: the whole "cloud" business is utilised once again; your city is stored in the cloud when your offline but continues to trade with other cities while your gone traversing in your own. Neat idea. However, one thing about this multi-player aspect that I am concerned about is that you have to be online at all times, even to play single-player. Fans of Diablo III (which is mainly single-player with some multi-player to it) were less than impressed whenever the servers went down, even if they were playing single-player.Name:  Diablo DRM Errors..jpg
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Oops!
One potential problem I could see is me working nicely on my city, only for the server to go all wonky, and me consequently losing my progress. It's only a small concern, and I am sure that Maxis have thought up of contingencies, but I do admit "always-on DRM" does sound slightly annoying. Still, with the benefits of staying online in SimCity I guess it's worth having. To conclude then, this latest SimCity game certainly appeals to me. I love tinkering with my own creations and letting my happy Sims travel around the city. Some may call it escapism, I call it letting my creativity flow. Questions still abound of course which is to be expected with a game yet to release, but the details that have flooded so far have certainly reignited my love for all things simulation. But don't just take my word for it. Below, a video by the creative director of the game. It definitely does more than my simple text can.
So, are you getting excited?

Updated 06-05-2014 at 11:06 PM by Formalhaut

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Video Games

Comments

  1. The Summoner of Leviathan's Avatar
    It is fun!
  2. kotora's Avatar
    Always-on DRM + Origin required: I'll pass! Good thing we still have SimCity 4 and the awesome soundtrack of the series.
  3. Night Fury's Avatar
    Another nice blog!
  4. Aulayna's Avatar
    I really couldn't care about the Always-on DRM thing. If my PC is turned it there's a high chance it's already connected to the internet... plus with the cloud storage and the other proposed social features (i.e. facebook integration etc) I think it's just a benefit to the game.