At the time of writing this post, SimCity had 2,475 1-star reviews but only 55 5-star reviews, 30 4-stars, 40 3-stars, and 87 2-star reviews. This is after Amazon pulled the digital edition of the game due to the massive outcry of complaints from across the globe. At least they’re trying to maintain their reputation by not selling a product that seems no where near finished.
As with many EA products, customers have experienced DRM issues, extremely overloaded servers, and poorly distributed product packaging. Here are some of the reviews that pretty much sum up the frustration of many buyers.
Fundamentally, SimCity has always been a ‘software toy’. That means that there’s no real end state, no way to win. It’s just a thing that you play and experiment with. You build, and tinker, and mess around. It’s a toy, not a game; it’s a sandbox, not baseball.
So, in this iteration of the game, you don’t even get to buy your toy. Rather, you rent a toy from EA, who lets you play with it only in very limited, circumscribed ways, only on their servers. So you have to have a live Internet connection at all times, and their servers have to be up, and have to have space for you. And the rules for play are draconian. If you want to, say, build a city, save it, blow it up with something terrible, and then restore from save, you can’t do that anymore. That’s an unauthorized usage of their toy. And if you figure out ways of using their toy that they don’t like, they’ll ban you forever.
All third-party modding is shut out. One of the best parts of SimCity 4 and The Sims is that users can create and share content among themselves for free. You will no longer be able to do this. You will be required to run only Official Authorized Content.
Further, you’re not getting the whole game for your $60 or $80, depending on what version you’re buying. EA’s plan is to sell you Simcity 5 over and over and over. They’ve directly admitted that they already have it running with larger cities, but they’re not releasing that now. They claim it’s because it “won’t run on Dad’s PC”, but the real reason is so they can sell it to you again later. Want subways? That’s gonna be $20. Want railroads? Another $20. Bigger cities? Oh, that’s in the $30 expansion.
Right now, if you look at The Sims 3, the game costs $30. But if also you buy all the DLC for it, it’s *four hundred and seventy dollars*. This is what they are doing with SimCity 5; locking you into their server infrastructure, and then exploiting the heck out of your wallet.
This is a lousy deal, and you would be stupid to take it. Always-on DRM, and a deliberately crippled game, so that they can slowly uncripple it, charging you for every restored feature from prior versions.
Simcity 4 still works pretty well. It’s not quite as nice as most current games, and can require you to ‘pin’ the process to just one processor on a multi-core system (ie, most current machines), but if you want a city builder where you won’t have to pay extra to breathe both in AND out, that would be a better option.
But buying this game? In my opinion, you would be wiser to take three twenties out of your wallet, and light them on fire.
I am completely disappointed that this game has been released in this state of unplayability. This is exactly why everyone has been complaining about online play, it does not work properly. If the game was on a standalone disc installed to my computer offline I am sure I would be playing the game right now with no problems. Now I am kicking myself for not listening to the warnings online about the issues with the way this game is being released. I want a disc with the game on it and it should be released as a playable relatively bug free experience. Now I have a code that will only work as long as EA decides to keep the servers up, all the cities I hope to be able to create will be saved on their servers not to my computer. What exactly did I buy again for $60.00 ? ? ? Oh yea, a bad experience that pretty much ruined any hope of the next great chapter of previously excellent SIMCITY games.
The game will only randomly work online. When it did finally work and claim a city, after playing for 3 minutes or so it bugged out and would not let me do anything. I went back to the main menu and now it will only load the tutorial. The tutorial DOES NOT WORK it loads a small city and then nothing… No instructions or tutorial at all. I tried to start another city and keep getting a message saying that I cannot claim a city right now try again later. It has been like this all day. I click on the help and it takes me to the EA site stating the following:
“The SimCity servers are currently inundated with the masses of eager mayors attempting to govern their cities.
Some players may currently be experiencing issues or delays when attempting to join a game server, or may be unable to create a city at this time. We are working to clear traffic from the roads and hope to have all players managing their cities as soon as possible.
We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience while we work on a resolution to this issue.”
You have been warned, please do not make the same mistake I have, PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE THIS GAME !
David Feldman writes:
I have been playing SimCity since the very first one in DOS. Some have been better than others, but this is the absolute worst game in the series. I would rather go back to the old DOS version than to play this game with the beautiful graphics.
First of all, the persistent Internet connection is crazy. I did not realize that there was no real single player game. Why in the world do I need to run on their servers if I just want to play a single player game? I am sure the day one issues will get resolved. However, I will never be able to play this while I am sitting on an airplane without the Internet or other places. I just thought I hated playing games with Steam. At least those have a way to play offline.
Next, the game play is terrible. It is nearly impossible to actually build an interesting city in a 2×2 square. There are no interesting transportation options. Boooooring.
Lastly, sometimes I just want to build without constraints. I LOVED the cheats when I just wanted to goof around. Forget it now! That’s gone. I tried what was described on some blogs in Sandbox mode (which still requires Internet,) and those didn’t work either.
This was a waste of money and time. I wish there was a way to get my money back.
I guess I will not buy any other EA games until they have been out a while and others can tell me the real scoop.
EA has since issues updates which significantly improve gameplay, but finding a server really is the biggest problem at the moment. A clear case of a lack of preparedness.
[Cover Photo: EA]