Going back to Simcity 4

Posted by dantey (247 posts) -

I like simulation type games like Tropico or Caesar games. I can spend numerous hours planning road layouts and ratios between amounts of different buildings. They have a great build-in sense of progression, as your town grows from a little settlement with few houses to a big and busy city. And anyone who is a fan of the genre, probably has tried playing on of the Simcity games. I think I have played Simcity 2000 at one point, but several years ago I tried the fourth game in the series. So, while I get my broken RAM replaced and not able to play any of recently released games (Oh Skyrim, how I crave you), I decided to revisit this 2003 game.

Well, couple of cities and some time spent on browsing the internet for helpful tips, I don't think I like it very much. Well, let me be more clear. I like it for the first couple of hours of every new city. It is fine, when you lay out your first zones and start to bring services to people. On a side note: The game teaches you fast, that things like healthcare and education are a luxury more than a necessity. After a while, you start making money, doing some more zoning and slowly changing your low-density zones to better ones. You see your city grow, feel good about it. The pollution levels are fine, people are healthy, safe and well educated. And all seems well, until you hit and invisible wall and start to loose money. At first I didn't really understand why. I did everything as I did before, using some of the things I have learned from my previous failed attempts to build a metropolis. And after watching video tutorials on YouTube I understood, that, without a network of other cities connected to yours, it will grow only to a specific point.

And this is where I go from liking this game, to not so much liking this game. I don't wan't to manage other cities, just to make my main city grow. I don't want to have areas called "FarmVille" with nothing more than one power-plant and lots of agriculture zones. I like these games, when I can build a fully self-sufficient city, and not worry about making several dummy-towns. Other games, like Anno or The Settlers, allow you to trade to make money and get rid of excess goods. Since you don't make anything specific is Simcity 4, the only one quantity that can be managed in a similar way are the people. And I get why such a region network system is in place, but I don't really find it fun.

Maybe it just has not clicked with me yet, so I will probably give it another go or two. But as of right now, I think it holds back a game, that otherwise is a great city building game. I think it would be better, if you just had virtual neighbors, instead of making them on your own.

#1 Edited by dantey (247 posts) -

I like simulation type games like Tropico or Caesar games. I can spend numerous hours planning road layouts and ratios between amounts of different buildings. They have a great build-in sense of progression, as your town grows from a little settlement with few houses to a big and busy city. And anyone who is a fan of the genre, probably has tried playing on of the Simcity games. I think I have played Simcity 2000 at one point, but several years ago I tried the fourth game in the series. So, while I get my broken RAM replaced and not able to play any of recently released games (Oh Skyrim, how I crave you), I decided to revisit this 2003 game.

Well, couple of cities and some time spent on browsing the internet for helpful tips, I don't think I like it very much. Well, let me be more clear. I like it for the first couple of hours of every new city. It is fine, when you lay out your first zones and start to bring services to people. On a side note: The game teaches you fast, that things like healthcare and education are a luxury more than a necessity. After a while, you start making money, doing some more zoning and slowly changing your low-density zones to better ones. You see your city grow, feel good about it. The pollution levels are fine, people are healthy, safe and well educated. And all seems well, until you hit and invisible wall and start to loose money. At first I didn't really understand why. I did everything as I did before, using some of the things I have learned from my previous failed attempts to build a metropolis. And after watching video tutorials on YouTube I understood, that, without a network of other cities connected to yours, it will grow only to a specific point.

And this is where I go from liking this game, to not so much liking this game. I don't wan't to manage other cities, just to make my main city grow. I don't want to have areas called "FarmVille" with nothing more than one power-plant and lots of agriculture zones. I like these games, when I can build a fully self-sufficient city, and not worry about making several dummy-towns. Other games, like Anno or The Settlers, allow you to trade to make money and get rid of excess goods. Since you don't make anything specific is Simcity 4, the only one quantity that can be managed in a similar way are the people. And I get why such a region network system is in place, but I don't really find it fun.

Maybe it just has not clicked with me yet, so I will probably give it another go or two. But as of right now, I think it holds back a game, that otherwise is a great city building game. I think it would be better, if you just had virtual neighbors, instead of making them on your own.

#2 Posted by jasondaplock (263 posts) -

I completely agree; the "SimRegion" is easily my biggest gripe with SimCity 4. Without that hurdle, it would be the uncontested champion of the genre.

Sadly, Maxis seems less and less inclined to make a true sequel to 4. The emergence of games like Dawn of Discovery and Tropico nonetheless gives me hope that empire/city building will expand rather than contract as a genre in the next few years.

#3 Posted by Death_Unicorn (2838 posts) -

I disagree. I recently bought Cities XL and I just ended up going back to Sim City (I've spent hundreds of hours on this game). The regions allow for a true metropolis to get formed, and it's awesome having a downtown, suburbs, and industrial areas in different towns. Also, if you ever get back into it (I think it's kind of my cocaine), I recommend downloading tons of mods. The community was and still is very active and all those mods make the game so much better. One of my gripes is seeing more than one of the same building, I've almost downloaded enough mods for that to not happen.

#4 Edited by Mikemcn (6988 posts) -

I really like the SimRegion, you can still make the city of your dreams on one plot of land, the region just let's you expand beyond that if you want. I wish the transition were smoother, switching in and out of each region for things like connecting infrastructure together or to create terrains like rivers and mountains is wicked annoying (it reminds me of Sims 2 where you had to sit through a loading screen to go buy a pair of pants or buy groceries, Sims 3 fixed that and I think was alot better for it.). But if you're willing to put some time into it, you can make extremely intricate urban areas.

That said, I got really good at making identical little industrial cities to support my big residential areas, and creating a highway and railroad system that functioned between 6 different regions was a nightmare.

Online
#5 Posted by Dalai (7030 posts) -

The whole idea of a region worked alright for the time, but SimCity 4 is not friendly to those who want to build just one large city and leave the rest of the region wilderness. Perhaps they could have added the option for a supersized city, but even large cities chugged on higher-end PCs back in '03 so it wouldn't make sense at the time.

@Death_Unicorn said:

I disagree. I recently bought Cities XL and I just ended up going back to Sim City (I've spent hundreds of hours on this game). The regions allow for a true metropolis to get formed, and it's awesome having a downtown, suburbs, and industrial areas in different towns. Also, if you ever get back into it (I think it's kind of my cocaine), I recommend downloading tons of mods. The community was and still is very active and all those mods make the game so much better. One of my gripes is seeing more than one of the same building, I've almost downloaded enough mods for that to not happen.

I also think Cities XL handled regions poorly because there's no connection to other cities except for trading resources. At least SimCity 4 made a decent attempt at connecting cities better.

If SimCity 5 ever happens, I think we'll see a smoother transition between cities.

And now I wanna play SimCity 4... just great.

#6 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -
@Dalai: Haha
#7 Posted by Dalai (7030 posts) -

@Claude said:

@Dalai: Haha

You know me too well, Claude.

#8 Edited by warxsnake (2650 posts) -

I do miss games like Pharaoh

I think the rollercoaster tycoon games are still the best in making you feel good about what you are building and the park as a whole, I'm reinstalling RC3 right now.

#9 Posted by Jadeskye (4367 posts) -

I love every aspect of simcity 4, it's still the best city builder in the world imo.

#10 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -

I always quit building when I hit that "invisible wall" and just tried to wreck my city for fun. It was surprisingly easy.

#11 Posted by Death_Unicorn (2838 posts) -

@Dalai: Do it. I was totally supposed to do productive things this winter break, but instead I've re-found my timesink.

#12 Edited by dantey (247 posts) -

@Jadeskye said:

I love every aspect of simcity 4, it's still the best city builder in the world imo.

I think Caesar 3 was the best. I think the game was just hard enough to make it a challenge, but not overly frustrating. But I have to say, that the economic campaign in that game got really hard somewhere in the middle.

#13 Posted by Jimbo (9814 posts) -

It's amusing that they just keep going and going with the C&C franchise but absolutely refuse to take a shot at Sim City 5. The Sim City games (the good ones) used to sell like a zillion copies.

#14 Posted by Jadeskye (4367 posts) -

@dantey said:

@Jadeskye said:

I love every aspect of simcity 4, it's still the best city builder in the world imo.

I think Caesar 3 was the best. I think the game was just hard enough o make it a challenge, but overly frustrating. But I have to say, that the economic campaign in that game got really hard somewhere in the middle.

i've never played Caesar 3, i'll have to put it on my list.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.