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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And it's really pretty good. Doesn't feel like a bolt-on afterthought
Hung on. And on. And on. For the single player update. And it's really pretty good. Doesn't feel like a bolt-on afterthought. Works well.

I've always enjoyed city builder/management type games, and this is probably the most sophisticated and complex of them all. Once you get into the depths of trading, reclamation etc it soon becomes quite a challenge. At...
Published 9 months ago by J. Watkinson

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417 of 427 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a wasted opportunity
Well I've had the game a while now and think I know it well enough to write a review.

I'll get back to the server issues later, and start off with reviewing how the game plays. It's quite fun to begin with. The cities look pretty good when the graphics are turned up to Ultra, and combine with high quality sound to provide a pretty immersive experience. It's...
Published on 23 Mar. 2013 by Matt

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417 of 427 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a wasted opportunity, 23 Mar. 2013
By 
Matt (Wrexham, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sim City (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Well I've had the game a while now and think I know it well enough to write a review.

I'll get back to the server issues later, and start off with reviewing how the game plays. It's quite fun to begin with. The cities look pretty good when the graphics are turned up to Ultra, and combine with high quality sound to provide a pretty immersive experience. It's easy to get into thanks to a nice little tutorial, and it won't be long before you had a pretty decent sized town constructed. You'll make mistakes early on and probably run out of money before you manage to provide your sims with all the services they demand to keep them happy. The learning curve is very gentle and by the time you're on to your third or fourth city you'll have a good idea how to avoid most of the avoidable pitfalls, and how to make a good profit.

A lot has been made of the limited city size, and while I did find it frustrating not having room to be creative, or fit in many of the buildings I wanted, in other ways I actually enjoyed the limitations and having to make decisions about how I wanted to specialise my city. If the game came with a variety of map sizes we could have the best of both worlds, but unfortunately that is not the case. Anyone wanting to create a sprawling metropolis like in previous versions will be disappointed. Aslo, for a game the on the whole looks pretty nice, high density cities look a little odd when stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

The small city size is somewhat made up for by the regional play. You can create complementary cities in a region to balance out what services you didn't manage to fit in your first city. You can either do this yourself by claiming the land to build a city next to yours, or have a friend or stranger do is alongside you in multi-player. Simcity has some nice idea about sharing resources, and building Great Works which benefit the surrounding cities. If I build a city based on heavy industry and oil extraction, I can provide power to a neighbouring city, in return for whatever services they can provide, be it garbage collection, education for my sims, or sending over a police car or two when my own police force can't cope.

Unfortunately, the servers often let down this collaborative aspect of the game. Sometimes, resources take hours to arrive in a neighbouring city, and occasionally don't arrive at all. Great Wonders can be completed for one city while stuck in an early stage of construction for another. These issues do seem to be improving slowly, but are still present enough to cause irritation for much of the time, and major headaches every so often. Regions are also very limited to who you can actually share resources with. At most you'll only have three other cities around you for most of the important resource sharing, though the rest of the region can contribute a little via buildings that affect everyone.

Most frustrating, it can be almost impossible to find an actual multiplayer game that has room for you. I don't know anyone else who has the game, but am happy to play with strangers. The 'Join Game' option is akin to banging your head against a brick wall. In what must be due to server issues (again) EA has failed to provide any filters to help you find any open games. I haven't yet seen a single game slot free for me to start a multi-player game. That's right! Not once! After all the trouble EA and Maxis made to make this fantastic series of single player games into an always online multiplayer game, you'd at least expect to be able to enjoy that aspect of the game. I expect that eventually, the servers will be quiet enough for this to be implemented but for now, the only chance I have of playing with other people is trawling through the already running games to find a city that someone else has abandoned. Even if I find one, 9 times out of 10 it tells me that I can't take the city as the previous player used some DLC that I don't have to create it. So far I've only been able to find two cities that have actually let me take over. As you can imagine, playing in someone else's already created city take a huge amount of enjoyment away from the game.

As multiplayer is still pretty much unplayable for me, I've mostly been creating my own regions. It's been quite enjoyable. I've created tourist cities, industial cities, gambling dens, mining towns and various other settlements. And now I'm bored. The depth of the earlier games just isn't there. Once you've made a few early mistakes there isn't much challenge to creating a successful city, no matter what specialisation you've gone for. In an hour or two you'll have filled your given square, and in a few more hours you'll have upgraded everything to pretty much all you're ever going to need or can fit. Then it's on to the next plot of land to start again. It used to take days/weeks to build a city in Sim City 2000 and 3000 (I never played 4), and it felt like a constant challenge to get everything right. Importantly, you actually felt like you'd simulated creating a city, which is what the point of these games is about, surely?

On top of all that, the game still has a large number of other flaws and bugs that severely limit the game. I'll do a quick list of some of the ones that have affected me:

1. Traffic - A lot has been said about this in other reviews, and on forums etc. It's almost a game-breaker on its own. While it's possible to create road systems that limit traffic congestion, it's extremely annoying not to have option to build the city that I want based around a road system that would clearly work in any real life city. There has recently been a patch which has slightly improved traffic flow but it's still a major problem in the game.

2. Bad routing AI - I've seen fire engines drive round and round the same block continuously while the building next door to the fire station burns down. Huge queues of delivery vehicles stopped at an empty intersection for no reason.

3. Recycling centres - These occasionally just stop working. Pretty annoying since they're one of the most expensive buildings in the game.

4. Laying Roads - Roads sometimes just don't behave as they should. Despite having completely flat land and straight perpendicular street, I've been told I can't place a road because the angle is too steep. Occasionally I haven't been able to zone on a road that I've placed for no reason whatsoever.

5. Commuters - Like many problems with the game, this relates to traffic. I've had a town with 40,000 commuters a day even though there were only 300 unfilled jobs. This figure just kept on rising, even though I wasn't creating any new jobs.

6. Visitors - Like commuters, this is related to traffic. Even cities that have no tourist attractions, and limited shopping will eventually attract a stupid number of visitors. Like the number of commuters, this figure often simply rises for no reason. In frustration I once bulldozed a town to nothing. Not a single building left. The number of visitors wasn't affected. The queue on the highway to visit my square expanse of grass went all the way back to the neighbouring city. I fast-forwarded time to see if the sims would eventually stop coming but got bored long before they did.

7. Lack of Cheetah Speed - We still can't play the game at the fastest speed. Can make for some dull waits while you're trying to build up money to afford that police station.

8. RCI is broken - The RCI indicator which has been a useful tool throughout all the previous incarnations just doesn't work. It seems to bear no relation to what the city you're currently building actually requires.

9. Numbers don't add up - In any given city your population is broken down to workers, shoppers, students. This never adds up to anything like the population of the city. In fact it only adds up to maybe 10-20% of your city population. What are the rest of them doing? This is all the more frustrating because of the next issue.

10. Jobs - Once your city becomes high density, a tiny tiny industrial area provides thousands of jobs for your population. Far more in fact than you're ever going to fill even if 90% of your city is residential. This leads to commuters, commuters leads to an excess of traffic, traffic jams lead to your services not being able to respond to emergencies, or your good being able to get out to market etc etc...

I could just go on and on with this list, but I'm aware that this review is getting rather long. I expect that some of these issues will be fixed with patches in the coming weeks, but at the time of writing they all add up to completely ruin what could have been a great game.

I suppose I can't finish this review without mentioning the DRM issue. Personally I don't like it. I paid for the game and I don't like being treated like a criminal. I especially don't like it in this case because of the knock on effect the 'always online' thing has had on so many aspects of the game. If you're going to put in some stupid DRM then at least make it so it doesn't break the entire game. I've enjoyed the Sim City franchise so much in the past that I shelled out my money anyway, and of course anyone considering buying the game will have their own decision to make on that.

Overall, this is a game that promises much and fails to deliver on nearly every level. Depsite some early fun, it's a huge disappointment when all of the niggling issues combine to box you in at every turn. I've had a couple of weeks of playing, and now I've had enough. Maybe I'll revisit it in a few months to see how things have progressed, but for now I just can't recommend the game.
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342 of 370 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sim Cul-de-sac - how bad could it be?, 11 Mar. 2013
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sim City (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Fans have been waiting over 10 years - and we did not expect a step BACK in Sim City!

Those of us who anticipated the arrival of sim city 5 have most likely paid attention and realized that it would not be the game of our dreams.
But no matter how low your expectations - nothing can prepare you for this.

First problem: The Online Dreaded Rights Management (DRM)

For Milenia people have been able to sell the things they dont want anymore - allowing those on a tighter budget to enjoy some of the benefits too. But online DRM brings an end to all that allowing EA to rake it in instead.

Now onto the technical issues: After completing the tutorial I was surprised that I could not 'claim' a city to get working on. It turned out that I had to manually select my own server (some oceanic one)before working on my own city for a few hours.

After work I re-launched the game only to find that the server it was in was full and that I could not access my city at all - several hours work locked away and unacessable because EA did not expect so many people to buy the game.

Now - after an update I only have to wait 20 minutes before I can access my new city server.
These DRM problems lie ontop of any internet connection issus you may already have - or desire to build cities while on the train.

Second Problem: CANNOT actually join with friend through Origin
I thought I would at least make use of the only positive reason for online DRM and join with a friend so we could game together in a region. In Steam I search for a friend - send an invite - they accept and we game.
In origin - you search for a friend, send an invite - and nobody receives it - ever. I therefore cannot even play online with a friend!!
The EA Answer HQ forums are littered with this issue - and to add insult to injury I get a 'service temporarily unavailable' error when trying to login to the forum to vent my fury. (probably because so many others are already at it!)

Third and Finally - The Joy of building a Cul-de-sac

When you start a map you will realize that there is only ONE entrance to your entire city. This does not change. A single entrance is commonplace for an environment like a theme park or airport simulator, but looks incredibly unrealistic for a city - part of the reason why I call it Sim Cul-de-sac.
The other reason is simply the size of the map. A limited sized map is realistic and makes for a fun challenge in roller coaster tycoon - often times the terrain itself aids in creating an interesting border to contain your creations.
In Sim City 5 there is sometimes an ugly mountain or shore - but 9 times out of 10 your plot of land ends at a completely unused flat barren plain - and less than an hour into the game you are itching to expand out there instead of deleting your industrial district to make a new garbage dump.

Once you suffer long enough to get the biggest buildings - your map is almost a pure cube of tall buildings surrounded by completely untouched rolling plains. Most cities I have seen have a huge ring of suburbs with a smaller percentage of skyscrapers in the middle and that is how I like them.

I understand the need for small maps for performance - but this is insane.
Why not let users expand the map after a mid-game upgrade to the city hall - allowing them to sprawl out some suburbs, and re-locate their poo-pumping pipe and power plant away from the high street? Heck I would even be happy to press 'ok' to a message warning me about poorer performance after expanding the map some.

EA the only thing you can do to redeem your truly awful launch is to release regions with expandable map-sizes for free. DONT make us pay for them!

I paid for sim CITY 5 and did not even get a Sim TOWN!

Thanks EA for ruining another dream!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A company that cares more about profit than customer experience., 13 Mar. 2013
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sim City (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I bought this game on the 8th of March for £40. Had the same problems as everyone else; couldn't get on the servers despite only wanting to play single player, losing games when I eventually managed to get on the servers and just being kicked off when the server lost connection.

The fact that you have to be connected to the internet is ridiculous. I want to be unsociable and play by myself and yet I still need to connect up! As others have pointed out you haven't really bought this game - you've rented it for as long as EA see fit to keep the servers up and running.

Despite all this I thought I would save my review until the issues had been fixed and I could have a proper play of the game how it was intended. I WAS DISAPPOINTED! The map is absolutely tiny - it took me about an hour to nearly fill it and then I spent another hour doing nothing, just waiting for the extremely slow 'fast' time speed to progress enough so that some of my buildings became high rises. After this it just seemed to lose all of the fun. I wasn't able to create the city I wanted and be creative because there simply wasn't the space. No doubt they will go the same way as 'The Sims' and create expansion packs for extra content that should have featured in a game they charged you £40 for. I for one will not be buying them and financing a company that cares more about profit than its customers.

I am actually kicking myself that I was stupid enough to buy this game on release day and not check reviews. What a waste of £40!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars wont even launch, 27 Dec. 2013
By 
Mr. Colin Lancaster (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sim City (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
do not even bother buying this if your computer is more than 3 years old. It will just pop up with a message saying that you do not meet the spec to play. I have a decent graphics card (Asus GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II OC Nvidia) and it still wont run. eventually i got it to work but the gameplay is rubbish. graphics are awful and this is only if you can manage to get onto a server. Don't bother wasting your money. Go and buy a decent game that actually works. Today EA have lost a customer.
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168 of 183 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE! This product has been pulled from sale by Amazon USA, 8 Mar. 2013
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sim City (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Beware - this game went on sale a few days ago in the USA and is today (8/3/13) pulled from sale from Amazon US because there are over 1,000 customer complaints. The game is rated as 1.7 out of 10 by metacritic.

Firstly the game has always-on DRM, and if you don't have a permanent internet connection you cant play it. If that wasn't bad enough, EA didn't invest enough in their servers or bandwidth so customers that have bought the game cant play it due to server and bandwidth issues.

When you try to play the game you get stuck at the title screen with a 20 minute timer and you are told to wait 20 minutes, then try again, and again, and again. Wait time for EA customer services is currently 850 minutes and unfortunate customers that bought the game are demanding refunds en-masse. There are pages and pages of complaints on the EA forums, and many reports of bugs that include losing all your progress due to the save games also being on the EA servers rather than on your local computer. These save games are becoming lost or corrupted or unavailable and all progress is lost and you have to start the game over again.

Even if these issues are eventually resolved, the city sizes are minute. If you enjoyed creating metropolis sized cities in previous versions of SimCity then you will be very disappointed. To give you a rough idea, the size of a city in SimCity is 2 km x 2 km. If you travelled at 50km/h / 30 mph you would get from one side of the city to the other in about 2 minutes 24 seconds, the time it would take to drive through a small village at 30mph IRL. The "city" size really is that bad, it should have been called SimTown.

When you "buy" the game you are in fact leasing the use of it, the game depends on a connection to an EA server that will, at some point in the future when its no longer profitable for EA, be decommissioned and then you wont even be able to play the game any more and your online save games will be gone. If you buy a physical copy of the game it will also be unusable due to the DRM.

These are just some of the biggest problems with the game. Seriously this game has so much wrong with it you would have to be a fool to buy it.
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271 of 296 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst game bastardisation ever... Worst game launch ever... Worst company ever..., 8 Mar. 2013
By 
Evan (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sim City (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
EA have royally and monumentally ****** this game up with their 'always on' requirement. To play a single player game, you need to be connected to the internet. In itself, that is an annoyance rather than a killer and, unfortunately, is the way the industry is heading. The problem lies with the fact that EA have been unable to support the launch of this game in every single region that they have released it into (US, Australia/NZ and now Europe as of this review).

They were aware of pre-sales through their own Origin system and no doubt through third parties like Amazon, yet provided wholly inadequate servers to meet the demand and the needs of the market (not to mention their own business logic). Technically, they're breaking the law of distance selling regulations and so people are rightly seeking refunds as I write. Hopefully the industry sees this as a wake up call regarding DRM games and this nonsense stops. WE WANT OFFLINE SINGLE PLAYER GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As for this game, the game is unplayable and will remain so for a long time after launch. The 'always on' requirement, the small city plots, the no save option, the micro purchases creeping in (as seen on iPhone games) and EAs attitude to gamers, their customers, is appalling.

Amazon on the other hand, as usual, are great and have already issued my refund!

Do not buy this travesty of a game from this whore of a games publisher - EA. They're what X-Factor is to proper music and they have ruined SimCity 5, what should have been a great game.

Now, where to find a Windows 7 compatible SimCity 2000 build..?
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308 of 337 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DRM Disaster, 8 Mar. 2013
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sim City (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Stupid me, I wanted the game, I don't pirate, I don't crack, so I paid the money.

Stupid me.

I load up, install the game, install a update and hey it works. Good game, make a city, stop playing; I'll come back to this later. Like you do.

But no, I can't, because the server I was playing this SINGLE player experience on is now busy. My city is lost somewhere.

Guess I could start a city on another server, when you can find a free server that is. You never know, if you start a city on enough servers you might eventually find one of your old cities again. Nice work EA.

So, they take your money and then treat you with contempt, they don't trust us, don't respect us, just a commodity. Shoddy EA, very shoddy.

Do not buy.
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88 of 96 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor sims squashed by corporate piggies, 8 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Sim City (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
EA's rampant greed has ruined this game. As other reviewers say the need for an always on Internet connection even if playing single player seems draconian. You can't even log into the servers as they're currently broken so you can't even play the game! Boycott this game to support proper software houses and show EA that their greedy business model isn't going to pay out!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars GARBAGE, 8 Mar. 2013
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sim City (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
This game is TOTAL GARBAGE!!

the negative points:

- No option 100% offline with single player mode.
- Always-on connection to Origin (EA servers).
- Limitations to players in fake single player mode.
- The presence of empty spaces not editable (useless empty spaces) with automatic road connections.
- Absence of terraforming.
- Absence of farms.
- Not being able to save your maps on the hard drive (you will not be able to reload the city to a stage prior to disasters).
- Road connections placed in a fixed and pre-determined location in the map.
- Airport City (the city is only one International Airport, occupying the entire map 2x2km).
- Absence of subway.
- Automatic road connections.
- Player doesn't have complete control over the zoning by population density (almost automatic zoning).
- Dead space between all the buildings.
- Size of the maps is 2km by 2km (small maps).
- Not being able to control the regional transport.
- Modding restrictions.

AVOID!
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154 of 169 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An abomination, 8 Mar. 2013
By 
Alfred Gnome (Huddersfield, England) - See all my reviews
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sim City (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
The downloads worked perfectly last night and this morning, and after that the game ran fine, and looked good. The roads seemed a little glitchy, but that was probably down to me, as I was just learning the mechanics of the game. Then, as I have other things to do in life as well as play PC games, I took a breather. Bad move. When I loaded the game again, the server on which my previous city was stored was busy. So I had to start again...and go through the tutorial again (which I aborted). This time the game worked at first, but after 3 messages informing me the server had gone down, on the fourth occasion it didn't come back. Another game ruined. Time for another break: an enforced one, this time. Eight hours later, I have still not managed to log onto a server: ANY server. presumably because some pretty p***** people from across the Atlantic are swamping the European ones. And who can blame them? They got it worse than us.

I've played various versions of SimCity for 15 years now, and loved SC4. When I saw the trailers for this, I eagerly expected something special. Some of the features that were frustrating (water pipes comes to mind)seemed to have been altered for the better, so I pre-ordered it. The saddest thing of all is that this game may yet BE special; I really have no idea. Because the utter ineptitude of EA, their pathetic attempt to organise global servers for a game they knew would be hugely anticipated, and the online-only demands of a game that doesn't require it has ruined it. Having paid an extortionate amount of money for this PC game/disaster, I have nothing to show for it. And yes, I am angry. VERY angry. This company's attitude is repulsive. Origin are refusing refunds, despite earlier announcements to the contrary, and if you were lucky enough to purchase this from Amazon I am pleased for you. At least you're dealing with a company that has honour, and will return money spent on what, thus far, is zilch.

I've noticed some people say that we shouldn't moan, because all the problems will be resolved in time. That may be, but it's not good enough. Anyone who has this "game" now has paid premium price for it, and has a right to expect something usable for their money. How about buying a brand new car, then collecting it and finding the manufacturer couldn't be bothered to fit the engine, but probably will be at some undetermined point in the future. Perhaps that's something EA can look into in the future, when their grabbing, shoddy products and appalling lack of respect for their customers finally obliterates their footprint from the software industry. They've ruined too many franchises, and this one has gone way, way too far.
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