Building (Critical) Consensus: SimCity [Updated]

My time with the SimCity beta made me think that this is what players of the original X-COM went through when last year’s reboot was launched. It was familiar but it wasn’t the same. While it was nice to have SimCity back, it just didn’t feel like the SimCity that I knew and loved. But based on what the critics think, maybe I was wrong to feel turned off by the streamlined controls and the game telling me I have a slow rig.

When reading through this, please note that some reviewers trying to be the first ones out at embargo never had a chance to experience the queues to get on to servers, download issues or had the ability to download it locked out while Origin sorted its shit out. It’s also unlikely that press members on the one dedicated media server found out that your cities are locked to the server you created them on. It’s probably a bit early to be cynical about the whole thing but isn’t always-online DRM a magical thing?

Polygon (9.5/10): What Maxis and EA have learned over the course of a long decade of experimentation with The Sims and social gaming is exactly how (and why) to push a gamer’s buttons and make them click … and click and click and click. It’s “one more turn” taken to the most obsessive extreme. And it is ungodly fun.

Polygon (8.0/10): After speaking with Russ and Polygon Managing Editor Justin McElroy, we are in agreement that the current state of SimCity merits an update to the game’s score on Polygon, per our reviews policy. While not every player is experiencing these problems, members of our staff, other members of the press, and an anecdotally large portion of our readership are having moderate to severe difficulty playing the game. This likely-temporary scenario nonetheless affects our recommendation of SimCity, and we advise caution for the time being before diving headfirst into the game.

Polygon (4.0/10): Given this currently horrendous state of both accessibility and playability, and acknowledging the fact that even the drastic changes EA has made to the game in its attempts to address them haven’t worked, it is hard to continue to recommend SimCity. The experience currently on offer is now significantly altered from what was reviewed, and there is simply no guarantee that the existing server issues will go away, nor what further changes may be made to the game in order to address them.

(Editor’s Note: No, that’s not a typo. Polygon updated its review score TWICE after launch when they found out that few could access the game and those who could were able to connect were suffering from numerous glitches. That’s the issue I mentioned off the top. There is such a thing as a rush to judgement, right Eurogamer Sweden, AusGamers and GamesBeat?)

Eurogamer Sweden (10/10): Yes, Sim City is very good. We start there. Those of you who are worried can exhale. Sim City is up to scratch by far and is arguably the best in the series, perhaps even in the genre. It manages to balance an ease of access with a huge depth so that it is easy to get started, but requires a lot of energy and dedication to master.

AusGamers (9.4/10): What SimCity becomes at the hands of its legions of users is going to be an incredibly rewarding and rich experience, that much is sure, I just hope it doesn’t break up any homes of families in its addictive wake.

GamesBeat (90/100): It is wonderfully complex, but very easy to play. The title is a massive undertaking and it has come together beautifully overall… The game is as enchanting as it was when it first debuted so many years ago.


About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on March 7, 2013, in Games and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: