Tell you what Sandwich, give it a couple of months and then re-boot this thread and I may well be interested.
I don't own the game at the moment, mostly because of concerns about the launch-day readiness (and because I always felt a bit burned by the atrocious 'Societies'), but I actually quite like the look of it. Hopefully in a few months the worst problems will be ironed out and I will definitely take a look at picking it up
Please, please do not buy this game. SimCity is one of the most egregious examples of both corporate ill intent (through the incredibly deceptive marketing and the out-and-out lies they told during after release) and poor game design (the game literally lies to you about your city, never mind the fundamentally broken GlassBox engine). Not giving EA your money for SimCity is certainly a good decision, but it also verges on morally imperative if you care about the way companies relate to consumers.
Eurogamer's 4/10 review
covers the design problems, in a broad sense, and while some of these will likely be addressed in patches, others won't. More importantly, at least in my eyes, is the cycle of lies that EA corporate tried to feed us, lies that were systematically struck down by people actually looking at the game's code. They claimed that the GlassBox engine relied on cloud calculations on EA servers; basic activity monitors proved that this wasn't the case, that it was an out and out lie. They claimed that SimCity could not run in offline mode because it wouldn't be able to conduct the computations necessary for agent-driven behaviors; within days people had the game running perfectly fine in offline mode...at least until the built-in timer killed their games. Never mind the deception inherent in advertising SimCity as a functional game, when those same agent-driven behaviors turn out to be rotten from the ground up.
As matters stand, paying for SimCity is feeding a sickness.
Things EA said before launch:
“GlassBox is the engine that drives the entire game — the buildings, the economics, trading, and also the overall simulation that can track data for up to 100,000 individual Sims inside each city. There is a massive amount of computing that goes into all of this, and GlassBox works by attributing portions of the computing to EA servers (the cloud) and some on the player’s local computer.”
9th of March - Polygon(MICHAEL MCWHERTOR) interview with Bradshaw, the beginning of the un-challenging of our games media:
“With the way that the game works, we offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud. It wouldn’t be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team.”
12th of March - Kotaku(Stephen Totilo) interview with Bradshaw - Finally more pointed questions from the games media:
“Online connectivity as a creative game design decision was infused into the game’s DNA since its inception and so we’re fully committed to delivering against that experience first. A significant portion of the GlassBox Engine’s calculations are performed on our servers and off of the player’s PCs. It would take a significant amount of engineering work from our team to rewrite the game so that all of those functions are calculated locally without a significant performance hit to the player.”
15th of March -
“From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind – using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world… We also made innovative use of servers to move aspects of the simulation into the cloud to support region play and social features.”
Within days of the game's launch it had been demonstrated, inarguably, that this was a systematic deception, that there were no 'aspects of the simulation' in the 'cloud', that EA had consciously and deliberately decided to lie to consumers in order to cover up a high-level corporate decision motivated only by the desire for control. Apparently on EA's orders, we heard Maxis say "it wouldn’t be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team." Yet within days of release one modder
had, by altering something like a single line of code, made the game work offline.
So it’s all the more odd to see Maxis head Lucy Bradshaw acting as if none of this is happening, and instead just carefully rewording her mantra of how SimCity is only supposed to be played online, but this time leaving out the bit about server-side computations for local play.
Bradshaw’s post, which appears to be some sort of attempt at damage limitation – without actually ever addressing the issues raised – re-emphasises the point that they wanted it to be always online because of how they designed the game. She then lists the functions those server sums supply. And they’re what we already knew – they let the social game be social. This list that is basically just “the game has co-operative multiplayer” eight times seems to be an attempt to reveal just how grand this aspect is, how intrinsic it is to… something. It doesn’t manage this. What we’re learning from the many players posting videos, and the reviewers who actually played the game properly before smothering it with rosettes, is that those regional functions don’t work very well either.