Sim City 4 - PC

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Also for: Power Mac
Viewed: 2D Isometric, Scrolling Genre:
Strategy: Management
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Maxis Soft. Co.: Electronic Arts
Publishers: Electronic Arts (GB)
Released: 17 Jan 2003 (GB)
Ratings: 3+
No Accessories: No Accessories


Sim City. Roll those words around your mouth as you think of your fantasy job as a big city entrepreneur. It’s a pretty cool job and Sim City 4 is the only game that allows its players to dabble in big time building in such detail.

Where three previous games and several spin off releases succeeded in helping players to realise their own virtual New Yorks and Hong Kongs, Sim City 4 excels above and beyond its predecessors.

The first apparent and most significant improvement is predictably shown in the game’s graphics. They are beautiful in almost every aspect, despite the lack of full 3D rotation. Cities now have day and night-time settings, every car has a set of working headlights, there’s fog, and even flowing lava from volcanoes. It’s almost faultless, and running the game in a higher resolution serves to make the onscreen action even more gorgeous.

The game engine itself has also been refined, but it’s something only hardcore players of the previous games will really notice. When it comes to the physical process of building a city, Sim City 4 is much less rigid. Fundamentally the game still operates on a grid-based system, but players now have the freedom to build on terrain, hills and in valleys, helping players to capitalise on the land they have. There’s still a basic set of Industrial, Commercials and Residential building zones, and you still have to supply your population with power, water and a good transport infrastructure. There’s also a little competition from neighbouring cities to keep you on your toes.

But money management and finances is what makes the different in a successful game of Sim City, and now it’s not as easy to attain millionaire status as it was in Sim City 2000. People riot, earthquakes rock your city, and crime can make your metropolis an undesirable place to live. You’re going to incur unexpected costs throughout your game. Prepare for them or suffer the consequences.

So is it really a sequel or more of an extension of a previous game? Well, both really, but ultimately Sim City 4 is a well-crafted game that takes the best bits of the series and adds that little bit extra.


Sim City 4 - PC Artwork