By James Pinnell on May 23, 2014 at 2:42 pm
One of the (few) luxuries of being a freelance games journalist is that I rarely tend to be uninformed when it comes to most titles. Many of my colleagues are generally across almost every inch of every genre of every platform; meaning I usually know what’s good and what’s not by the time embargo lifts. But every now and again, just like everyone else, I fall head over heels with the idea or the concept, rewatching trailers and gasping at the pure adrenaline of the hype.
Deep down I know it’s a poor idea, with every ounce of logic in my body pushing against the charging train of sheer want. So I preorder. I preorder Sim City. I preorder X: Rebirth. I preorder Diablo 3. I beg and plead for early keys from the online grey suppliers, desperate for the bucket of games heroin to quench my nagging thirst. But the payoff, when it finally, initially blissfully, arrives, I’m left wanting: The game is bad.
But the marketplace is not the same arena that it once was, where games came permanently hardcoded onto cartridges, CDs and DVDs. There were no updates, patches, mods or expansions back in the golden days, so if a title was poor, it stayed poor for eternity. Game breaking bugs could destroy the livelihoods of a developer, squandering years of work in a matter of days and weeks as returns and leftovers piled up on store shelves. But in 2014 things are different.
By James Pinnell on November 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm
SimCity has come a long way, in terms of both content expansion and damage control, since its disastrous launch back in March. Even putting aside the complete mess around servers, multiplayer and DRM for a moment, there were still huge concerns about the sheer number of game breaking bugs, alongside the claustrophobia of a tiny square patch of land where I’m expected to build Sydney inside Canberra.
I could count on my fingers the number of features that worked correctly as opposed to the ones that didn’t — traffic, RCI, resource sharing, chat, land claims, global market — all originally touted as next-generation city-sim features which instead became the stuff of embarrassing memes and gifs, plastered across the heavily traffic’d front pages of Reddit. Maxis and EA fell on their swords, dropping freebies of DLC and EA back-catalogued sweeteners to keep gamers on side. It was a two pronged attack — making sure people didn’t punish EA in the long run, on top of keeping player populations active — because without a community, there really is no SimCity.
Cities of Tomorrow aims to turn over a new leaf, not only by introducing a plethora of new systems and new resources, but also attempting to salve a lot of the frustration that comes with the territory.
Although the upcoming ‘Cities of Tomorrow’ expansion for SimCity doesn’t include an offline mode (stop reading now, if that’s all you were looking for) it does include gigantic monolithic future cities and a gigantic monolithic future-conglomerate company named OmegaCo who…