Fall of Society

Sim City Societies is reviewed on Eurogamer. Not by me, but by a man I don’t know, and he doesn’t like it very much. Which makes me sad, as I was quietly looking forward to this reinvention of the increasingly haggard urban management hoo-hah.

I’m as enthusiastic about Sim City 2000 as the next pretend mayor, but I can’t think of much else that can be done with the age-old formula of zoning and pipe-laying and taxation, other than add more and more micromanagement to it until it collapses under the weight of its own stat-laden sub-menus. Tellingly, even creators Maxis have washed their hands of the series, passing it over to Tilted Mill, most recently known for disgracing the rival Caesar series.

Slight concern about the choice of developer aside, I was all for a complete overhaul, and leaning on the visual aspect of city layout – clearly inspired by the obsessive-compulsive wallpapering and furniture matching of happy Sims players – seemed like the smart thing to do. Sandboxing was always one of Sim City’s joys, but there were only so many ways to tweak the appearance of your burgeoning ‘burg before you got bored and dropped an earthquake or alien destruct-o-bot in there, just to stamp some visual, if flames’n’screaming-based, personality on the place. I always wanted a city in my own image (stunted, polluted, unhappy and full of junk food), and I hoped Socities would let me do that.

Sounds like it’s backfired horribly. Bah. I’ll probably play it anyway out of curiosity, but it sounds as though my fluffy, non-violent gaming itch isn’t going to get scratched before the year’s out.


  1. Philip says:

    Am I the only person who prefers SimCity 3000 to its elder sibling? Am I a pleb for thinking so? I always found 3000 far more “human” than 2000, more organic in the way the city grew. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy 2000, far from it, but I’ve always had much more success in building larger cities with more self-written history in 3000. Am I missing something in 2000 I need to go back and re-visit?

    Shame about Societies sounding pants, though I suppose I feared that trying to micro-manage too much of what goes on in your city missed some of the point of the original games…

  2. datter says:

    Can’t be any worse that City Life. You want pants? THAT game is pants.

  3. Theory says:

    Well, damn.

  4. terry says:

    Is anyone taking bets on how long it’ll take EA to close Tilted Mill yet?

  5. Theory says:

    They’ve probably already done it.

  6. Fat Zombie says:

    Well, after buying SimCity 4 recently (and loving it to bits; I was never any good at 3000UK, but this version is really something!), I heard about the lack of zoning or other forms of micromanagement in Societies, and it didn’t sound all that hopeful.

    Well, now we just have to hope that if the series does continue, it’s back in the hands of ever-awesome Maxis.

  7. Briosafreak says:

    Am I the only person who prefers SimCity 3000 to its elder sibling?

    Nope, I have it on my laptop and keep getting back to it, it was just perfect, so I’m with you on this.

  8. Essell says:

    Simcity 4 did a great job of expanding on 2000 and 3000. Best of the series.

  9. fluffy bunny says:

    terry: AFAIK, Tilted Mill is still an independent company.

  10. Bob Arctor says:

    SC4 is great, no doubt.

    It’s complex, unforgiving if you run before you can walk, but rewards those who learn, and you can definitely set up very different cities.

    Plus it’s still lovely to look at.

  11. Mark-P says:

    I loved Sim City 4. I wish they’d put a difficulty level in it which reigned back the positive feedback loop of tax&expand success inherent in these sandbox building games which robs them of any serious long term challenge.

    This review sadly doesn’t come as much of a surprise. :(

  12. lemberg says:

    SC2K FTW!

    Not that some of the other incarnations weren’t quite fun as well, but there’s just something about the whole experience of 2000 that makes it a personal favorite.

  13. Tilting At Publishers: Tilted Mill Go It Alone | Rock, Paper, Shotgun says:

    […] new PC titles before the end of the year. With their history in making management games – though Sim Cities: Societies disappointed us – you suspect they’re following in the steps of strategy-specialists Stardock in realising […]

  14. Rock, Paper, Shotgun: remember it was a dream squash » The Talk Of The Town: Jerome Gastaldi Interview says:

    […] I look at EA with the Sim City brand. You do this. Meanwhile they do the not-very-Sim-City-actually Sim City Societies. Do you think they’ve dropped the ball? Why? Jerome Gastaldi: I think EA is a corporation […]