The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Online-only SimCity falls short of expectations

Ready or not, the world of online-only gaming is here for games that traditionally centered on offline play. In this case, the latest edition of “SimCity” from EA’s Maxis Software must be played while online. The question is whether the benefits of an online-only “SimCity” make purchasing this game worthwhile. It comes close, but the online features cloud the game rather than help it.
For this review, an Acer laptop with an Intel Core i3 processor running at 1.50 GHz and an integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics driver was used. Subsequently, the graphics were not the best. On the higher settings, the game lags quite a bit. That was more so the fault of my laptop, however, than the game.
The majority of students at this university have a laptop that resembles mine in power, so keep the lag issue in mind if you’re looking for a pretty game. This “SimCity” requires a more powerful computer to enjoy even the medium graphical settings.
Visuals aside, the game resembles the old “SimCity” titles. As mayor, a set amount of money is given to start building the city. Once the initial roads are set, residential, commercial and industrial zones are put in place. In time, the city requires support services such as police and fire departments, schools, a medical clinic, a proper sewage system and so on.
It is addicting to watch a small little town grow into a metropolis, as much as it was on the Super Nintendo version for me two decades ago. That part about “SimCity” has not changed. Hard decisions about taxes and other city issues have to be made. When the citizens are happy with a mayor’s decision, the feeling is satisfying.
However, the online-only issue is not to be ignored. For massively multiplayer online role-playing (MMORPG) games, only being able to play online is understandable. In “SimCity,” a game where the majority of time is spent working on one’s own city, it feels like an attempt to stop piracy rather than a benefit for the player.
If a game must be online-only, then the social features have to be good. Developers want to promote more social interaction by having the players join regions with other players, from where they can chat with each other or share services. Every region that I tried to join at first was full! The emptier regions came after clicking “load more” around 10 times. At that point, it is not worth it and explains why no one joined my region.
Maxis included an in-game web browser, which is useful. Plus, the game can be directly live-streamed on Twitch.tv, a neat option as well.
As far as loading times go, sometimes “SimCity” loads fairly quickly at startup. Other times, forced patches make the startup loading time last at least a few minutes. Loading the city takes a noticeable amount of time as well. These are not huge issues, though they are discouraging considering the hefty $60 price tag.
Although “SimCity” did work using a variety of wireless internet connections, including the ones at CSU Stanislaus and Starbucks, the principle of the matter is at stake.
Gamers should have access to their non-MMORPG games while playing offline. The online features do not make up for this shortfall. Therefore, I cannot recommend“SimCity.”

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Online-only SimCity falls short of expectations