Sim City Closed Beta 2
Today I saw that I was able to get into the Second Beta of Maxis’ latest game, SimCity, which is scheduled for release this coming March. I only had a one hour hands on time with it, but it was a very good hour.
While truth be told, I don’t have much experience with the Sim City games, I enjoyed it more than the other ones I have played. The core of the game is kept well intact, and the graphics are the best yet for the series. The game started me out with a tutorial of a city that is already built, but failing and walks you through making the city functional.
This tutorial even includes an introduction to the new Multiplayer aspect of the game. You have a single neighbor here, a thriving tourist locale full of casinos and hotels. The first order of business for the MP Tutorial, was importing water from them. This has an hourly Simoleon cost on it. The other players can also volunteer their services, like garbage collection or ambulances, to their neighbors, which was introduced with the Tutorial Neighbor sending a garbage truck into my city.
A feature that was also introduced was being able to look around another persons city like you do your own. You can also watch natural disasters occur, like a fiery meteor shower falling from the sky and demolishing Casino’s and Hotel’s and unleashing general havoc.
After the tutorial, I got to build my own city from the ground up. The hour that was allotted to me didn’t allow me to do too much, or maybe I’m just a fail Mayor. The Multiplayer aspect didn’t seem to be in for this, as I was the only one in my region. The game has you doing what you usually would, laying out the roads then zoning housing districts, shopping districts, and industries. While laying out industries, I noticed a neat feature, a wind direction indicator. This wasn’t really mentioned in the tutorial, but my best guess is that it would be a good idea to keep these down wind of your population. The Wind direction also seems to have some sort of effect on Wind Turbines.
Another feature that I enjoyed was the ability to customize some buildings, like the Wind Turbines, School, Hospital, Fire station, and I’m guessing the Police station (I never managed to get one built ). For things like the School, you can build additional school rooms, or bus depots so your city’s Children can get to school faster. You can also place School Bus Stops around your city, which extends the range your schools cover. For Hospitals, you can add more rooms to increase the patient capacity, and you can add more ambulances, but this didn’t seem to increase the range of the hospitals. A fire station can have a Bell placed on top, which reduced the amount of time it took for Firefighters to leave the station, and you can increase the amount of Firetrucks there.
There are also little missions you can accept that pop up from time to time, like adding on a new wing to the school, or increasing the capacity of a hospital. There are also some others that can net you money. During my play through I got one of these at my Fire Station, about lighting fireworks. Reading the details that were given to me, I saw this would net me 50,000 Simoleons. Being in desperate need of money at the time, as I had around 1,000 Simoleons and a rising need for more facilities, I accepted. There was also a warning with this, that there WILL be fires caused by the Fire Works. Thinking that it wouldn’t be too bad, I went on with the mission… Boy was I wrong. The single fire truck I had was totally overwhelmed. Houses were catching on fire left and right, and let’s just say I failed that mission and missed out on the 50k.
My hour flew by like this, and before I knew it I had a pop-up telling me I only had 10 minutes left. As I was sitting there wondering what I could do with my remaining 10 minutes, Aliens decided to show up. I watched as a single ship moved to a housing district right in front of my school and abduct people before finally blowing up a few houses. I’m just glad it was the middle of the night and school wasn’t in session!
The sound and music was nice. I wasn’t annoyed at any point by any of the sounds, and in fact I actually enjoyed listening to the sound of Power flowing into buildings when I was checking to make sure everything had power and I didn’t need to spend some more Simoleons on upgrading my Wind Turbines.
Overall, I’d have to say it was a fun experience and I wish I could go back and play more. Despite the always-on DRM, which I am against, I’d more than likely get this. My final words: Never accidentally demolish your sewage plant when you have a high population, or else the streets become very smelly, VERY fast.