Very very poor launch
But it’s distributed through Origin from Electronic Arts so who am I kidding, thinking it would work… As with so many other players – I am unable to play the game. Not because the game is broken (Or maybe it is, but I don’t know yet) but because EA claims that “they didn’t know how many people would play the game”. Well that’s fair, in a way, but the 3 months of pre-orders and reseller pre-orders would be a good estimation I’d say.
Yesterday the game launched once and I was able to play for an hour or so. But not after I have queued up with servers for over an hour. Not a fun experience.
What I think they did wrong
Make the single player game online – Big big dumdum. I don’t care to share my cities in the community. I do not care for leader boards or scores and competition. Sure I will try out the online aspect and build a city with friends at some point and sure it will be fun. But I’m playing single player. Why force me to play that online on servers that do not work half of the time. Oh and stop trying to put me in servers that are in Oceania (which I assume is the pacific region?) I’m un Europe!
But the actual game is cool yea?
Yea, or no… I don’t know. It’s Sim City. City building. But suddenly there is this mission and task system that forces me into a certain direction. Because ignoring or cancelling a mission just means that you postpone it. 5 minutes later it just pops up again. Until you finally do it. I want to build a city. Not go after Dr Vu and build his criminal headquarters. Go away! Let me worry about sewage or traffic jams instead!
And why are maps so small in the tiny amount I’ve played the game and explored some of the options I filled 3 maps with buildings. Maps that are small in comparison with earlier Sim City games. The maps are horrible. The terraforming isn’t very good either. Draw a road up a mountain and it deforms so badly with glitchy graphics that the road goes up so steep it’s unreal. But if there is a mountain on your map the area to build is reduced so immensely that the tiny plot you got is pretty much halved if not worse.
Random events. They are random indeed. The news casts about it are somewhat funny. I had grannies stolen from one city by aliens and a meteor shower in another. But luckily they don’t do much damage. Oh, and an earthquake which shook up the birds in the trees apparently. But again, no real damage. So they’re more of a bother than that they have actual use. Which is fine. If they had left them out of the game that would be perfectly fine, too.
Sim City keeps telling that “Sim City is better with friends”. Great. But Electronic Arts has disabled all social features for the time being. Plus, when I click on the friends thingy it tells me I have no friends. So if they know that… Why suggest I should play with friends. Not very thoughtful.
I briefly browsed some online games to join. All were full, and the server browser was not working. So that was fun. Leader boards, online scores and achievements. All disabled because they can’t handle the server load. Great!
Not that I really care for that. But if it’s so flawed they took it out of the game until they fix the servers… It can’t be very good.
So anything cool then?
So far? Not really. Certainly nothing revolting and new that was worth the 10 year wait since Sim City 4.
The trade system works fairly well. But has no benefit really if a mining town is forced to have people living there. Since the locals need the resources you mine. And if you don’t let people live there you need a overly expensive bus terminal to get people from other towns to their jobs. Obviously you can’t afford that in the low income mining town. But the idea is cool, just needs some work.
The zoning system is flexible and works fairly well. But is not overly space efficient. But it’s easy to use and manipulate which makes for nice plots and neighborhoods. Traffic is easily managed with upgradable roads which is really cool. But it makes no sense to force a 4 lane high density road just so the one office block can be a high density building. So again, good idea, but needs work.
I love how police, fire stations and hospitals can be expanded so you need one for the entire city. Same with schools and such. But the interface is limited and clunky. If there are too many buildings around those service points you can’t expand. So, good idea, but needs work.
Really? So it’s a poor game?
Not poor, just flawed. Everything in terms of gameplay can be fixed with updates and tweaks I’m sure. The bigger problem is that EA forces us to play online for a single player game. And an even bigger problem because of that is that I have been waiting for 2 months for my Limited Edition pre-order only to find out that due to “unforeseen server load” pretty much nothing works and I can’t even start the game. Its sitting on my PC right now telling me that “EA Servers are unavailable” and then there are these friendly blog posts from EA telling me “We love our customers”, “we are working round the clock to let you play”, “we’ve tripled server capacity” and more of those marketing bullshit lines. Well, it’s not helping with my mood. I want to play. That’s all I want.
I don’t need Electronic Arts to tell me how much they like their players or how hard they’re working. They better like me and work hard for me. I paid €50 euros for their product. A product that doesn’t work. So whatever they’re doing. It’s not enough. It’s been 2 days and it works even worse than on launch day. On launch day at least I could enter the queue to try and join a server. Now even that is broken.
Not a good launch, not good at all! And I doubt when they finally fix the server thing the actual game will be much enjoyable. From what I’ve seen anyway. But as mentioned above. I was only able to play for an hour or so. So maybe I’m wrong there. I hope so.