Sunday 22 Mar 2015
EA has killed off Maxis, so we'll never ever see another game with SimCity in the name. Which is perhaps just as well, given how badly the franchise has been messed up by corporate greed. The reason SimCity 2013 failed so badly was because of that greed. It was designed to pull money, via an always-online requirement for single players, microtransactions, and an entire design philosophy that paid no attention to how much fun it was to play. EA seems to have no idea that games are meant to be fun. Like Microsoft and the bungled XBox One, EA found that once they alienate the fans, it's near impossible to win them back.
Anyway, I won't rant much about EA's business practices and their habit of destroying brands. JIM Sterling has done that for me. There's also a writeup on the SimCity debacle on Kotaku. Instead, I'll tell you about Cities Skylines.
Skylines has been released on Steam at less than half the price EA first demanded for SimCity, and I have to say it isn't bad at all. In short, it's probably the best City Simulator available.
It does bear some signs of the small team behind it. For example, I don't recall being told that right-click rotates items for placement, I had to discover it for myself. Likewise, the time accelerator gave me some trouble at first. It has three speeds, indicated by three arrows. I tried to select the speed I wanted by clicking the correct triangle, but instead the whole group acts as a button simply cycling through the speeds. Also, even on the slowest speed, people walk at around twice normal walking speed. It's like they're in an old black and white movie.
So, Sim City is dead. Long live the city simulator!
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