SimCity 4 - game review

Date: 2003-03-26 11:00:00
The review was based on the PC version.

Looking at each successive economic strategy, it's hard not to remember Maxis games, especially those under the Sim sign. Undoubtedly, the title of SimCity has hit the ears of almost every fan of electronic entertainment, which is not surprising, because the first part was released about 15 years ago. As far as the other. great titles hit stores relatively quickly, the surprising fact is that period, during which everything has changed. So it is obvious that asking the question "how are they going to do it this time" comes almost automatically. The so-called "reheating" of proven ideas has often been used to create another game that may actually have been a mere addition to the original - and what about Will Wright's work?

When it comes to the idea, it is obvious that it is not innovative (which is difficult to find anyway), but the details, possibilities or the visual setting adapt the game to the needs of the current player. It cannot be denied that this is not a breakthrough and free from flaws title, but neither one nor the other matters compared to the great, addictive entertainment. Certainly the fourth installment of SimCity is successful and should appeal to both fans of the series and quite young players, which I will try to convince them of in a moment.

At the very beginning, right after starting the game, there is a map with separate areas prepared for development. Getting started with choosing an area and naming the new city is all. However, before that, it is worth getting acquainted with training missions, prepared rather for beginners, who will learn about the rules of the game, and with a not too complicated menu structure. The rest of the game can go ahead and start the game.

Regardless of the selected area, it is possible to modify it: lowering, leveling the terrain, creating mountains, afforestation (with several species of trees) or settling wild animals. It is also possible to align the banks with respect to the neighboring areas, erode our area, smooth it, etc. (the effects can be seen immediately). In other words, we can create any world, design its appearance from scratch, which will be appreciated especially when starting the next, hundredth scenario.

The program's interface is very intuitive and in The Sims style. Viewing individual parts is not a problem and, above all, it does not cover the entire screen (unless at the lowest resolution). A thing as prosaic as it is important and underdeveloped in other games that I have had contact with recently (Ski Park Manager, Hotel Giant). The only downside that can be attributed to the interface are small pictures symbolizing the building object. However, this impression passes with time, when we get to know the program better - then reaching the appropriate option takes place "by heart".

The beginning of the game is very simple and comes down to building a power plant, residential, industrial and agricultural zones. Placing a building is done by selecting it from the menu and clicking where it should stand, and in the case of zones: by clicking, holding and moving the cursor in the appropriate direction. A novelty in relation to SimCity 3000 is a certain automation of the city infrastructure: lines with electricity are placed automatically, and when creating larger zones, the program takes into account the roads separating them. Sometimes this system fails, resulting in very strange solutions, so in some cases you have to make corrections yourself. However, it is up to the player to route the pipeline network.

When planning a city, we take into account low, medium and high-density residential buildings (zones). The latter are the most expensive, but bring more income, and in the later stages of the city's development they transform into huge skyscrapers. There should be commercial (trade) zones nearby, with all kinds of shops, etc. However, interweaving them with industrial districts is not the best solution - a separate region should be allocated for these. The basic objects are "civic" buildings, such as a police station (hereinafter also a prison), fire brigades, schools (primary, secondary, universities), libraries, museums and hospitals. When designing the city, it is worth taking into account its future expansion, for example through a relatively "loose" density of the above-mentioned residential areas, etc. The needs of society are predictable, albeit dependent on the situation. And already in the early stages of the city's development, it is troubled by the volume of city traffic, which increases regularly. In addition, there are all kinds of parks, beaches, gardens, playgrounds, courts, playing fields (stadiums), a zoo, thanks to which the life of the inhabitants will pass more, which will translate into their number.

While some of the basic buildings are available from the very beginning, the rest can only be erected after meeting a few conditions. And these are not only financial requirements, although these are in the first place, but also requirements regarding the number of inhabitants, popularity of the mayor, etc. Therefore, building a mayor's house (i.e. a player's house) requires a population of 500 units and popularity at level 20. However, already The radio station will be built in a city with a population of at least 18,000 (popularity: 30), not to mention a TV station, a first-class football stadium, a film studio or an advanced science center. There were also characteristic buildings from around the world: the pyramids, the sphinx, the white house, Big Ben, the great Hollywood sign, the Statue of Liberty or the Taj Mahal. Admittedly, there is a lot of it. However, on the other hand, it is surprising that all objects close in a larger or smaller quadrangle - exactly the same as in the previous parts of SimCity. Thanks to this, individual districts, or even the entire city, look quite monotonous.

Of course, exercising power over the city is not only based on listening to advice, but also on your own intuition and experience. And these can be enriched with a number of statements or charts. Directly from the menu level, it is possible to switch the view and the graph to get information on the intensity of city traffic, electricity and water availability, crime level, fire hazard areas, air or water pollution, etc. All this to make your city bigger, more beautiful and richer - because that's the goal of the game. And as the game progresses, we come across more or less problems. In addition to accidental, or perhaps "unwanted" misfortunes, it is also possible to send a tornado, a giant robot or a meteor shower by hand, which will change the idyllic life of these little inhabitants.

The Sims fans will be delighted to see that they can transfer their favorites to SimCity 4 via MySim. It is an interesting addition, which in practice does not matter much, unless we import at least half of the inhabitants of a city with a hundred thousand inhabitants. Otherwise, who would care about one little man :).