The Sims designer Will Wright is also the maker of SimCity, a complex game that has also captured the hearts of many gamers from its first release 15 years ago, with its challenging goal of planning a city and turning it into a successful metropolis with you as the mayor. Now, the series reaches its fourth installment which is not that different from the previous SimCity games. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any changes, it does have new features and a major overhaul was done with its visuals but these aren’t enough to make you conclude that the game has maximized its capability of becoming the best. Still, its complexity and challenging goals can give you hours of playing time and experiences where you can actually learn from.
The most noticeable change in this new installment can be spotted the moment you begin to play where you immediately see the SimNation; which is dissected into a number of smaller areas where you can build a whole city in an area of your choice. To a certain extent, each city in the surrounding area can collaborate with another city, especially when trading resources. All you have to do is to click on a square, name it and commission yourself as its mayor.
Getting started is just like any of the other SimCity games; beginning with building your power plant and on to creating the commercial zone. But in SimCity 4, everything is made easy by its automated commands when making streets. This is fantastic since it does make everything easier on the other hand, it can also leave your city with little wasted spaces if you are not acquainted with the use of such automated commands. This feature can probably be appreciated more if it had been made optional for those who are more adept at manual operations than using the automated version.
This version has a more polished interface that gives you all the information and the building options that will help you become the best mayor for your city. The game also gives you a wider level of control over you city. Instead of just lowering or increasing your tax rate, you can now choose to differentiate the tax rates between the three zone types in your city. You can also adjust budgets not only locally but globally, too.
The fourth installment in the series also gives you the option to make your own volcano even in the heart of the city, which means you can also make calamities and natural disasters just happen out of the blue through the disaster menu. Be warned that you are not allowed to paralyze random disasters. You can even make yourself the worst mayor in this game like getting your city into serious debts and all! But that is definitely not the purpose of playing this game. The new MySim mode is also not necessary. Sure, your new imports can provide you with important information but why give your attention to that one person when you have thousand more that actually need you right now.
Sometimes, the game strikes some performance issues. The worst that can happen is that your game might not boot up because it is incompatible with some video cards. You can also experience crashes and some hitches on the graphics. Starting up can also be a bit slow and irksome and sometime the cameras become unresponsive when you want to monitor around your city.
These are just minor problems to a game that is still impressive overall, with its variety and attention to details. Among the four, this is the only one capable of giving you a night view of your city although seasons are not yet available. SimCity 4 is still the same complex and challenging game you love and with all its add-ons, you will categorically find it hard to stop.