Sim City 4 Deluxe Edition PC Review
Peter Donnell / 4 years ago
There have been so many debates recently over the issues with the new Sim City title. The issues with the game have been so wide spread, so highly publicised, and a combination of being blown out of proportion thanks to social media and not been taken seriously enough by some of the PR folks at EA have caused the issue to turn viral, making for one of the worst gaming product launches of the entire generation. We’ll I personally haven’t lifted my wallet to purchase the new Sim City and for good reason too, why would I buy a product that may not work, when in my mind it could never be better than its predecessor.
When Sim City 4 launched in 2003 it was a breath of fresh air, its relatively advanced graphics were praised given that it used a 3D rendering engine for the bulk of its graphics, a far cry from the more isometric sprite based system used in the earlier titles, not that there is anything wrong with isometric sprints of course. Ten years ago the games graphics and calculations were quite the taxing effort for CPU / GPU combinations of the time, it could also be that the game isn’t the best optimised either and overall the game just wasn’t easy to get running smoothly on more decent system of the time. Fast forward today however and even a low spec system will rip through the rendering options on Sim City 4 with ease, it may have 10 years on its clock but Sim City 4 is far from being an ugly looking game thanks to its hidden support for custom resolutions.
Music is a little more old school, and while many of you may enjoy the classic chimes of the Sim City I find that are capable of inducing a gaming coma after an hour or so. Fortunately there are options to customise the playlist, or just turn the music off all together. Personally I just prefer to keep it off and enjoy the sounds of the city.
I shouldn’t need to explain the gameplay to the bulk of you, this is one of the purest and true to form city building titles ever made. With no complications of online functionality, social networking or anything else to get in your way, Sim City 4 is about starting a new, laying the foundations of your City and building your way to success over the generations. Of course, its nowhere near as easy as just laying a few blocks and watching your sims develop into a clean and organised society.
Sim City 4 strikes a strong balance of managing the extremely large and the extremely small aspects of your city, every item you place has an initial layout cost, as well as a monthly maintenance cost, not to mention a long list of benefits and/or side effects toward the well being of your city. It offers a level of challenge you rarely find in games these days, and while it may take you a few cities turning to hell before your eyes before you learn the ropes, its worth the effort as the rewards can be great. It’s generally regarded as the hardest game in the Sim City series, but to me its the most enjoyable too and its easy to find your self lost for hour after hour as you turn the smallest farm town into a bustling mega city.
Now that the game has been on the market for quite some time, there is a robust network of third party content for the game to be explored that opens up a whole number of possibilities within the game its self. software such as Lot Editor, Network Addon Mod, Building Architect Tool is just a few of the mod tools available and a quick google throws up sites where you can download new buildings, landmarks, maps based on real cities, or even fake ones such as Tamriel. Add extensively more advanced and easy to use road building systems, fix bugs that EA missed and even improvements for modern quad-core systems.
Its certainly a game that has gotten better with age, not just because of the mods, but also the community that is behind those mods and its a community that is still building and releasing content for the title even after ten years. Modern PC’s also do a much better job of running the game than they did 10 years ago, obviously.
Yet my favorite thing about revisiting this title is a reminder of how cans can be, it really wasn’t all that long ago that we had a more pure gaming experience. There are no Facebook or Twitter features, no microtransactions, in game currency exchanges, if you buy the retail edition it doesn’t require a 3rd party launcher app (Origin, Steam etc), it doesn’t require online activations and doesn’t feature always on DRM, the list goes on. What you do have is the game and that’s all that really matters its all you really need and once you get a few hours into the game and realise that none of these things are there to distract you, then it just makes it all the more enjoyable.
Its also quite the bargain these days too and a retail edition of Sim City 4 can be bought from many major online retailers for under £6 / $10 and given the wealth of content that the game its self offers, plus the free mods and easily obtainable extra content its one of the best deals in gaming.
I think I’ve hit on a perfect antidote, the cure, and the thing that will make all your Sim City misery go away, its called Sim City 4, and to my mind, its one of the greatest management titles ever made. If you’ve never played a Sim City game before, this is a great place to start and if your having troubles with the latest Sim City title, why not revisit its predecessor and find out why people were so excited in the first place.