When EA announced that they were working on a new SimCity release, I was cautiously optimistic. After the debacle that was SimCity: Societies, I figured that the franchise had nowhere to go but up, assuming it didn't die completely. Maxis is the studio back at the helm for their flagship title (one could argue that distinction actually belongs to The Sims - it's a hard call, given how obsessive fans of each franchise tend to be), which was the first positive sign for SimCity (2013) - EA had outsourced the production of SimCity: Societies to Tilted Mill Studios.
Of course, with every scrap of positive news, there are always things to be apprehensive about. EA is not a company known for caring about much else than fattening the wallets of their executives and with that mindset comes the fallacy of making games which attempt to be all things to all people and, at times, fail spectacularly at doing so. Even when a game is good, EA has a nasty habit of reaching as far into their customers' pockets as possible. Witness the ridiculous number of expansion and mini-expansion packs available for any iteration of The Sims franchise - and then, on top of that, for The Sims 3 there was the implementation of micro transactions for digital clothing and furniture. It was a crazy-making move for both completests and the frugal.
Still, as SimCity Classic was the first computer game I really enjoyed playing and the one which led to an addition leading me to SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000 and finally SimCity 4 Deluxe, I signed up for a chance at the closed beta of the new SimCity when it was made available. I doubted I'd get picked, however last Friday there was an email containing a code just for me.
I initially installed the game on my desktop XP machine, where upon launching, it gave me a warning dialogue about my graphics card not meeting the minimum standards required to run the game. After clicking "okay," the game loaded, and spread before my eyes was the most beautiful graphics glitch I'd ever witnessed on a high-definition monitor. Had the EULA of the beta not prohibited me from doing so, I'd have taken a screen shot and posted it.
Annoyed, but undefeated, I instead installed the game on my laptop, which is running Windows 7. Again I got a warning about the graphics card not being up to spec, but this time I was able to actually see the game I was trying to play.
So, how was that gameplay?( Read more... )