There are certain things that we have learned are major red flags over the last few years. One is major game releases that set a review embargo at such a late time that you can’t cancel your pre-orders. The other is major game releases that don’t even issue review copies of a game to game reviewers and journalists.
For the second time this year, it looks like a major EA release won’t have review copies. Back in March, EA didn’t issue review copies of Titanfall on PC and only allowed Xbox One reviews at a closed event hosted by EA and Respawn. Now, EA is not going to release review copies of the upcoming Maxis title The Sims 4.
Citing the controversial so-called “Protection of Children” law, the video games rating board in Russia has classified The Sims 4 as “prohibited for children” ahead of its upcoming release in the second half of 2014.
After 10 months of saying that the game needs to always be connected to the internet for the game to run its complex calculations despite evidence to the contrary, Maxis has finally found a way to make 2013’s SimCity work when playing offline. In a blog post, Maxis’s GM says that Update #10 will include a mode that will allow you to play when you’re not connected to the internet.
SimCity 4 has long had a healthy modding community. The game might be ten years old but modders were still making new content for the game into this year, even with the release of this year’s SimCity. This is thanks in part to a fairly open attitude toward modding by Maxis.
However, EA isn’t planning to be as open to full-scale modding when it comes to SimCity 2013. The first draft of their user-generated content (modding) guidelines are going to put some tight limits on what modders can do.
There are widespread reports online that SimCity for Mac is plagued with a number of issues that has rendered it unplayable for a large number of users despite being delayed from a March launch alongside the Windows version to August 29th.
Good news for SimCity fans: EA and Maxis are working tirelessly to get everyone playing SimCity in as stable a manner as possible. The bad news is that their scrambling involves hurridly adding servers, patching issues that are causing performance instability and disabling what they consider to be non-critical features in order to address server issues.
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? Read the rest of this entry