So Simcity 5 came out abouta month ago and it was an interesting launch at best. Simcity 5 isn’t actually Simcity 5, but it is the fifth installment of the series. On the box it just says Simcity, because EA is stupid—everyone just calls it Simcity 5 or Simcity 2013 (this is the same naming protocol they’re using for the next Command & Conquer, which isn’t Command & Conquer Generals 2, it’s just Command & Conquer).
It was an interesting launch mostly because of the huge server issues—you couldn’t log on reliably for the first couple of days. It was a big enough deal they talked about it on the BBC. There were rollbacks, the servers died….solid servers just didn’t exist – though it does have potential.
Some game play (might want to mute your speakers):
This is another one of the game series that EA bought up in a hurry and then ruined. (Cough Command and Conquer Cough). They butchered the Tiberian series—it’s terrible now. Simcity actually looks, sounds and feels like a really good addition to the game series and it ought to be, but it’s not. It is executed poorly, with game mechanics that you recognize as more and more broken and irritating the longer you play. For example, for four or five hours game time there were firetrucks unable to pull down the driveway of a house on fire. Jammed by the mechanics, they just circled the block repetitively until the house burned down. There are a number of issues with mass transit as well (wait times on bus stops that create vast mobs of people, that sort of thing).
This seems to be an example of a game company pushing the game designers to crank out another game as fast as humanly possible to make as much money as fast as possible. I really do not like their marketing strategy and there are lots of PC gamers who agree with me.
This is actually a pretty good representation of how EA’s marketing is perceived and how the consumers respond:
The thing that makes me the saddest about this whole debacle is that if EA didn’t try this hard to be this level of douchebaggery, people wouldn’t instantly take to forums and burn them in effigy. If they weren’t so obviously greedy, people would cut them some slack.
As an example, Skyrim was one the buggiest games (as all Bethesda games seem to be) but since they are a nice company, people made a joke of it. I don’t know how many times I heard “Yeah, Skyrim totes doesn’t have any bugs guys.” while sitting in gaming chat. Since the start Origin thing (that’s a whole ‘nuther rant, but basically they made their own version of Steam and never do anything to benefit the players with it) everyone is quick to say this game is bad—and you (the player) are bad for buying it…and EA is just bad in general.
Note—don’t hate the game designer just because the publisher has the same business ethos as Darth Vader. Maxis (Simcity’s designers) doesn’t deserve it, not after all the previous good games they put out at. After all, they created pretty much the best selling game franchise of all time.
There are other issues players are experiencing with Simcity 5. Here are a few of the most common:
- Login issues, this is possibly the biggest problem or at least it was at launch.
- There is no unsupported single player—you have to be logged in all the time. Wut? IT’S A SINGLE PLAYER GAME EA!
- AI displaying the intelligence of a typical politician or sandwich.
- ‘Pathing’—how the vehicles move from point A to point B—is terrible.
- City size is very limited compared to previous games. Now you have a smaller area to work with in what seems to be an effort to shove multiplayer play down your throat.
- Materials are not traded correctly from city to city. They frequently just disappear.
- No Single Player.
- No saving locally.
Something else that bothers me, is what seems to be dishonesty by EA about how much work the server side vs. client side do respectively (look at the amount of information going between your IP and their ‘Cloud’). They are claiming their servers are doing much more than what it appears they are really doing. EA seems to want to prevent modding in addition to pirating, and like it or not modding is something the gaming community wants. There are a gozillion mods for Skyrim, which adds things for the player to do and extends the life of the game. Modding makes new games too. At one time the most played multiplayer of all time started as a mod. Remember Counterstrike? Portal started as a mod, DOTA (MOBA) started as a mod. EA should pay attention to what players want. Modding is a Good Thing.
Now, despite all this (and I could list more) I still want to play it. It does have some redeeming qualities. The sound is brilliant – close in to the cars and you can hear people talking and hear cars going by. The graphics are gorgeous too. It’s a pretty game, when the roads don’t have dirt bleeding up through and the mountains aren’t breaking. When it works, Simcity appears to be a good game and when it works everyone loves it. I really hope deep down this game is just a massive Ugly Duckling. I hold out hope they are going to smooth the edges and add content (particularly single player and bigger cities).
I’m not sure if they’ll keep their promise, but at one point there was talk of approved mods that you wouldn’t be punished for (as you were with Battlefield 3 for instance).
As a city builder, I can’t wait to play Simcity. It’s like a train wreck you can’t look away from and I am going to go pay to watch.
Oh, and speaking of giving EA your money, watch this:
Spawn of Shooter is a military dependent and a gamer. His great-grandfathers, grandfathers, dad, uncles and the other arguably suitable role models in his life present a wide mix of military (some now LE) personnel from all four branches. These include a grunt CSM, a gunner’s mate, a retired Gunny from JSOTF-P, one green-side corpsman, a pair of now-retired of MSGTs, a STA Marine, one each FO-MP-JTAC…you get the point. He likes first person shooters, gets his dork on in Planetside 2 and Civilization 5 and can competently shoot basic qual courses with shotgun and rifle, and recently completed his first handgun course. He understands the advantages and disadvantages of living in the fishbowl that is base housing, loves Anthony’s Pizza and thinks the brassards on the base Courtesy Patrols are kinda jumping the shark. He’s on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SpawnofShooter.