As what some of you have known, SimCity: Societies was announced and (surprise), Maxis is not working on it
. The article mentioned that they're too busy with the development of Spore. Instead, EA gave the reins to Caesar IV developer, Tilted Mill Entertainment.
The first few screenshots of SimCity: Societies was just posted recently at Computer and Videogames
and can be found at this article
. More details of the game are mentioned in that article too. :)
What I've seen from it, it's kiddystuff.
Seems they are "zooming in" on the PEOPLE and make it a more friendly feel, to really "enjoy and engulf yourself into" the societies and individual personalities.
But I want to build a city!! A big bad-ass industrial city, seeing my stupid people stream themselves across my black tarmac lines every morning and back again in the evening, to retreat to their tiny unité de habitat, which is as insignificant as the people of MY CITY; my simcity! I want big! I don't wanna bother about Emma living too far from a doctor or Ted having to drive 340 minutes to work. They just happen to be on the outskirts of suburb 35 belonging to the 14th citycore. Tough luck for them, big city for me!
Alright. That, in a nutshell, are my thoughts on the screenshots that I've seen so far. Doesn't say a lot, perhaps. Maybe it's better if you just don't read this reply, then.
Finally got my hands on this one. And boy, it's NOT a simcity.
At first, it was interesting. But then, it really wasn't...
There are 5 types of buildings (power, homes, workplaces, monuments and venues and 4 types of transportation (country roads, paved roads, busstops and subwaystops). First you need electricity, ofcourse. So you plonk down a powerplant. And then it begins.
The buildings all require or produce a certain amount of 'culture production'. For example, a realtor creates prosperitypoints for your city and a mansion needs prosperitypoints to function. This opens up to interesting combinations of buildings and that's nice. But it's not very hard to learn, so there is no real progress.
Anyway, the sims in your city need 3 things. They need a home to sleep in, a workplace where they can make money for you and a venue to make them happy. Unhappy sims don't work and can shut down a city quite annoyingly. There are different approaches to keeping your sims working, depending on the style of society you are going for. For example, an Authocratic society will make sure the people are just happy enough to go to work and suppress all dissent while a Fun City overloads the sims with opportunities to enjoy themselves and a Capitalist society makes sure the sims can buy loads of stuff to keep them happy.
Sounds like a lot of fun... And it is for a while, but.. It's not hard to make your sims happy and it's outright EASY to make money flow your way. In no time, you will find your city makes more money than you can spend. And there is nothing really interesting to spend it on, because it's just more of the same. More houses, more workplaces, more venues.
Well, you can strive for certain special awards, ofcourse. For example, when you attain a certain population and your city produces a certain amount of prosperitypoints, you gain the reward for achieving Fat Cat status. This reward is a little statue that makes money... Very petty reward, because as I said earlier, you have to try quite hard to not make your coffers overflow.
It is also a challenge to oversee what the hell is going on in your city when it grows a certain size. The camera is by default set to "most restrictive" for some reason, which I only found out when I was fed up with this game already. And most restrictive means you can only see a tiny bit of your city at a time. Horrible for building a big city.
But even if you find out that you can take full control of the camera, it is never clear where sims work and sleep and what the problem areas are, so it's almost impossible to optimize your city. (I loved the managing of trafficflows in all of the other SimCities, and now there is simply none of that.) If you see the sims are unhappy, the solution is to place a venue, and that is not a problem, because, like all buildings, they only cost you an initial investment, so the worst that can happen is that you have to wait for a bit for the treasury to refill. The problem is placement. For optimal sim productivity, it is best to place the venue near the source of the unhappy sims, so they can visit their venue and get back to work quickly, but it's just not possible to trace that spot.
The trend in SimCity citybuilding simulators 1 to 4 has been one of increasing scale, increasing realism, increasing freedom. And with this new one, it's a step back, maybe two. Cities have become islands again (as in SC3 and before), the transportation system is childish (SC2 and before), it lagged like hell (while you can only build relatively small cities) and there's no such thing as budget or planning or challenge (Permanent Sandbox mode) and therefor no sense of satisfaction. All I got was... "Well, this city seems to be working, a bit.. Not perfect, but it works". Which is not the same sentiment that I experienced when I played the other SimCities. I just went over some screenshots on the web and having played SimCity Societies made me wonder when they were going to release the improved, superior SimCity 2000.
As someone else put it "They killed SimCity"
PS EDIT From the length of this reply, can you tell I was a fan?