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.