The best Simcity game yet!
Simcity 4 is the latest entry in the well known Simcity series that began in 1989. Once again, you play as the mayor of a city, and it's your job to make sure that your town succeeds.
Gameplay: The gameplay elements have basically remained the same since the first game, you build different buildings, from schools, to houses, to stores. Once you have established a town, you can watch as it grows into a busy metropolis. You can also tweak the budget, increasing tax rates, lowering funds for different businesses (like police stations and schools), and starting city ordinances. Even though some wont like the micromanagement, balancing your city's budget can be fun and challenging, and will effect your city in many different ways. Taxes too high? Don't be surprised to find people leaving town because of it. Increasing crime rate? Put on the curfew ordinance to lower it. Funds too low for the school? They will strike. You will have to deal with many things, such as crime, pollution, and city demands. Advisors also return with advice and information. Gameplay is spread across three modes: God Mode (Where you can shape and form the land using powerful editing tools, and cast disasters), Mayor Mode (Where you control your city), and My Sim Mode (A cool feature where you can import up to four Sims to live in your city, where they will give you praise, advice, or complaints about your city). Simcity 4, like all Sim games, is also open ended, so no two cities are alike, and you can do whatever you like with your city.
Graphics: The graphics are flat out amazing with insane amounts of detail. Simcity 4 is the first Simcity game to feature a 3D engine, and Maxis has pulled out all the stops to make your city look real. You'll see all sorts of things when looking around the city: Sims will walk down the streets, playing in parks, children running off to school, weddings taking place outside a church, cars on the streets, and traffic jams. In a high crime area, there will be less people around, and cimes such as muggings, fights, graffiti, and flashing will take place. If you respond to a crime and send out police, you will see the patrol car arrive to the scene, and police arresting the offenders. Fire trucks will rush off to fires, and see firefighters battling the blaze. In a strike, you'll see protestors walking around carrying signs and banners. You will see people running from disasters. Day will slowly become night, and the streets with become empty...In short, really incredible stuff.
Sound: The visuals are great, and the sound is no different. You will hear the sounds of the city. Click on a school, and you'll hear the sound of the school bell. Click on a police station and you'll hear a siren and the sounds of a police radio. Just two of many examples. The music is mix between upbeat and laid-back tracks that suit the game perfectly.
I only found two things wrong with this game. The first is that Simcity 4 can be a system hog. Once your city gets large enough, things can slow to a crawl whenever scrolling around. Second, the game can be difficult. Balancing the budget and staying out of debt can be be tough in the early periods of your city, even pros at Simcity 3000 will have some problems. In Simcity 4, money is much more realistic, and you have to pinch every penny until you start rolling in the green.
The Bottom Line
Simcity 4 is one of the most addictive and fun games I've ever played. It will certainly provide months, if not years of entertainment.