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2.4 out of 5 stars597
2.4 out of 5 stars
Platform: PC|Edition: Standard|Change
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on 23 March 2013
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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on 29 June 2013
I've already lost two cities I've built, I log on only to find my city has vanished from the server and I have to start from scratch. I just want to be able to play this game offline, and save my game offline, I don't want social features forced on me where I have to be online all the time and rely on their servers to keep my game saved, this is beyond stupid as I only play alone. That's not the only problem, the cities are far to small and you will find in a couple of days you are running out of room.

This game is badly designed, a shame as the core gameplay for me is enjoyable, but they needed to expand on it, you need a larger city, and you should be able to play and save offline, I would give this game a much higher rating if these things were in the game. Some will enjoy this game, but for me it's to gimped in important areas. It seems they were so hung up on making this a online only game, that they forgot to include a lot of features that should have been in the game, and did not care at all about the problems gamers were going to face when trying to enjoy this game.

If this game had a larger area to build your cities, I would play it a lot more, as it is, I can't really be bothered. It takes one step forward and three steps back. This is my own personal opinion, I am not trying to put anyone off from trying the game, there is a enjoyable game in there if you are prepared to overlook the shortcomings. For me though they just annoy me to much, I don't like rating games one star, but I think this game deserves it as it kinda slaps gamers in the face by making them play online only, then making that a hassle, and giving them a small area to play with. Why even bother making the game if you're going to make it gimped and annoying to play. It's just a waste of everyones time.
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on 10 March 2013
OK, adding my displeased review of this game.

I partook in the beta testing of this, ordered CE for me and my brother and was very much looking forwards to it.

The trouble is twofold, firstly the servers never seem to stay up long enough to get on, now I have experienced the launch of several MMOs so I know about server ques at startup - but they are MMOs they make no sense to have a single player experience, Simcity on the other hand should have a solo element and that should be available offline. I know this is about piracy of the single player game, but punishing paying players is not the way to solve this issue.

So what about when you get past the server blockade? well the game is OK, I presumed that the beta was a cut down version - sadly it wasn't, the map sizes are stupid, you cannot ever hope to have an effective city in the space given. Any terrain features just block your expansion such that you cannot fit, you spend the whole game trying to ram more stuff into the space - and the game still asks you for more of each facility. I think that EA totally lost the plot in the excitement to make the citys interact, yes it is true that cities rarely operate in isolation - but neither are they restricted to a box the size of a few blocks.

overall, I am disappointed, the servers prevent a quick play (logging in even when they are up takes an age) and when you get there the maps are far too restrictive, not as good as the past games, but fixable for the few that will bother to keep playing.
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on 13 March 2013
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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on 17 March 2013
After reading what had posted about the game before launch I knew about its many problems so I knew what I was getting myself into and hoped people were exaggerating, however they weren't it is that bad.

But despite all this I tried to get what fun I could out of it but now my city has been corrupted and just hangs in the loading screen and as you can't save your city locally there is no way of getting it back again so now I have to create a new city which I have no doubt it would be corrupted again.

Don't waste your time or your money on this, I bought a new graphics cards to play this game, I'm just thankful I didn't build a new computer to run it, seriously play sim city 4 or sim city 2000 they are better games

List of Issues in a nut shell:

Server connection problems

If the server you're playing on goes down you can't play on your city on another server

Terrible game search

No offline play

No saving your city locally

Game files corrupt so you can't play your city again

Hard to find a city no one has already claimed

City maps too small comparable to sim city 2000

Game dumbed down

People always protesting no matter your approval rating

You can never keep on top of garbage disposal
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on 27 June 2013
No doubt you've seen reviews stating that you have to be connected to EA's servers to play the game,this seems to be hard coded into the game.There is no way around it and if you thought that if you bought the game today (27 June) then the server's would be able to cope with the load,then you would be, sadly, wrong.I keep getting kicked off from playing a region that's supposed to be private (in other words I'm not relying on neighbouring regions that are played by other users,there is no need to be connected to EA's servers).Three months from release and the problems besetting this game on day one are still not sorted.
There is a good game in here,somewhere,however if you're expecting Simcity 4 style massive cities forget it - there just isn't enough room provided to fit everything and every Sim citizen in.Further more if you want any DLC,it appears that EA are not condoning any form of user generated content (there are a few buildings/mods on the Simtropolis site),so they force you to buy EA's own DLC (nearly £8 to buy a fair ground - streuth,the Moscow State circus is in my town at the moment,I'd rather put my £8 towards that.)Disappointed?Yup.
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on 22 March 2013
I am sorry, I really am. I'm amongst the millions that waited over ten years for the next installment of SimCity and I'm very sorry to say I'm very disappointed.
For years we have been asking for full 3D, OK, we got it, curvy roads, yeah, thanks, but we want BIG, MASSIVE CITIES, that's what we want, not VILLAGES.
Nope, this is not what we have been asking for, for years on end, NO!
The graphics aren't even that hot, no, EA, they aren't.
Any modern PC is easily capable of handling much more than this, Cities XL is proof.
A big let down.
It's playable (and thanks for the free game, EA, by the way) but not what we wanted.
Servers, DRM, no offline play, whatever, EA you have let so many, many millions of people down you should know this:
We won't buy another game from you again.
Unless Maxis is released from EA, we won't even think of buying another SimCity franchise purchase.

Amazon, as always, excellent customer service, thank you
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on 11 March 2013
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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on 27 March 2013
I didn't purchase this game myself because I read about the limitations before release, instead I've played it at a friend's house and somehow it's managed to be even worse than my lowest expectations.

I'm not even going to address the ridiculous problems at the launch of the game because it's been well-covered before, clearly (and unsurprisingly) EA care more about making money than they do making sure their game will actually run correctly.

Here are my main issues:

1. Cities are too small. This is a compromise to ensure the game runs smoothly but is it really worth it when most half-decent cities will eventually fail because there's no room to expand?

2. The AI isn't smart and the people in your city are not really the intelligent individuals that EA promised. They will complain about having nowhere to shop when they live next door to a commercial district. What's worse is that they don't have their own homes or jobs, they just go straight to the closest one available at the time.

3. The path-finding is broken, cars will look for the quickest route home in terms of road length, not traffic capacity.

4. No subways.

5. Your city can be ruined by other people setting up bad cities nearby, and there's nothing you can do about it because it's all online.

There are far more issues but it would take too long to go through all of them and other reviews have covered them well. I just wish EA would realise they make quite enough money as it is, and stop making online-only games, stop limiting games so that we have to buy downloadable content, and most of all: stop making games that add nothing new or original. If anything, SimCity is a huge regression from previous versions, I thought the idea was to add MORE content? Not take it away.
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on 25 March 2013
I can get over the fact that this game will have launch issues and maybe some minor bugs here and there but the number of bugs seems just endless and I'm not talking about when it was released, I'm talking about now, 2 weeks after launch. There are so many bugs that they made a test server and are asking for volunteers to test the game when it has been Beta tested 3 times before launch.

Would anyone in their right mind who brought a finished product for £30 TEST the finished product?

Right now, the bugs are so many that I cant even believe they even released this game, these are a list of bugs that really ruined the game for me:

1. Recycling, Garbage trucks travelling in the same route so it collects less rubbish in a day.
2. School buses get stuck INSIDE the school making my population dumber and creating an absolute roadblock in front of it.
3. Having excess resources in the region but cities are unable to take advantage of it. e.g I have a city with 400 excess sewage capacity, I have a second city with no sewage works and buys it from the 2nd city to dispose of it, the sewage does not go to the 2nd city even if it has excess in the region its stuck in my city creating ground pollution then the population gets sick and die.
4. When I edit a facility it shows up with a blue dot saying I can plop an extra component yet when I click to plop it its not plopped.
5. Fastest speed disabled.
6. There is absolutely no point of the creators making rounded roads when no building at all can be constructed to advantage of it

Out of all the series I have played, this has to be by far the worst.

My advice is do not buy this game, give it 6 months and maybe more. You are not losing out on anything, there is no ladderboard but there are missing features and a load of bugs.
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