Sim City 4 Deluxe PC Games and Downloads
PC Games and Downloads
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Released on 30/01/2004
- Create a tapestry of cities linked by a fully integrated transportation network and watch as they compete for resources.
- God-like powers enable you to sculpt the landscape to create a world based on your imagination City mayors will be challenged to build stadia, airports, universities and real world landmarks as well as deploy emergency vehicles.
- U-Drive-It mode offers complete control over cars, helicopters and ambulances on the city's streets.
With the stunning Sim City 4, CJRavey gets to be mayor of a town where you can play God and make people miserable or happy - which is a nice break from managing the team.
Ever since the heady days of the Amiga, Sim City has been a favourite stealer of time. Before The Sims became big stars in their own right, the world in which they struggled and toiled was the subject of systematic development, redevelopment, cheats to give the mayor more money and the occasional attack by giant lizard.
For those new to the franchise, here's what makes a Sim City game. You're the mayor of a plot of land which is either created at random or based on a real geographical location. For example, you might get given a craggy fjord arrangement of water or land or choose to build your own personal version of the hell that is London alongside the straggling river Thames. Everything costs money, but you make your money back from taxing the citizens of your (hopefully) happy little metropolis. Using a fairly simple interface you lay roads, (and in later additions water pipes) and place coloured blocks to represent residential, commercial or industrial areas. These coloured blocks then grow into fully formed buildings if the conditions are right and people move in. The idea is you're 'zoning' (a fairly American term) areas, to specify where stuff can be built. But as a kid, all you thought you were doing was going 'give me some houses, fella!'
And that's it. The city grows, and you'll need hospitals, schools, fire stations, traffic jam solutions and airports.
Sounds dull? God no, many an obsessively compulsive evening could be spent trying desperately to avoid becoming the quaint English town - Little Failure of Skintyshire or Slumsville USA. Historical challenges (such as the fire of London or rebuilding San Francisco after a great quake) added to the mix.
So what does Sim City 4 take away or add to the Sim City party bag? First up it gives us The Sims - after all, the offshoot from Sim City is now the biggest crowd puller, bringing gaming to the mainstream whether hardcore gamers like it or not.
You can place your Sims in the game - and if you've never played the Sims you can use pre-generated ones. Now, don't let your imagination get the better of you. You can't zoom right into the Sims house and tinker with them on a personal level as you do in the parent game. What will happen is that they will respond to the city around them based on the character you have given them and give you valuable feedback about how you, and indeed the city, are doing. Place a Sim suited for office work miles away from the nearest office and he'll face a huge commute, put a poor Sim from your Sims game into a rich area and - presto - he'll become rich.
It's not a complete port of your Sim from one world to another, as his or her surroundings can change him in an instant, but it is an interesting touch. It's useful too - to see how your big decisions are affecting people on the ground. They can also get miffed and leave or even die. Especially if you take a bulldozer to their pad! He he. But keep them alive and you'll get a special treat for keeping their family's torch passed on from generation to generation…
Sim City 4 makes many things automatic such as power lines and water - if you want. Personally, we think this is a blessing, life's too short for wiring stuff up. It also provides a more graphical approach to things. Although it's scalable so less powerful machines can cope, you'll see more life in your city than the ant-like traffic of the past. School buses drop kids off at school, unhappy firemen picket (ooo, topical), chalk lines of bodies get drawn in backyards of crime ridden areas. Although all the dry reporting tools (check your budget, check a graph of crime levels) are still available, this city is detailed enough to suss out at a glance. The buildings come in three distinct ages, 1880s brick and steel, concrete and steel and finally the rounded glass look so popular in modern America, so you can work out which areas developed when - again, at a glance.
That's not all that's graphically beautiful about the game - this time you can play God and shape the landscape. Using paintshop style tools, you can hover the mouse around, lowering or raising the landscape, creating mountain ridges, plateaus, valleys - you can make the world as up and downy as you like. It looks fantastic as, with effects rumbling away, you create a range of mountains by waving your hand. Truly stunning.
But we advise caution, realistically you will limit yourself with too many steep angles, and there's much frustrating re-planning of roads when the dreaded 'gradient too steep' warning appears. But you can tunnel through hills and build bridges by pulling the 'build a road here' elastic tool over a ravine. It doesn't always let you put the road or railway exactly where you want it though…
Change the geography of a city and the geography around it will be affected to. Oh - did we not mention that your city is just party of a country? The country is represented by tiles of cities with what can only be described as thumbnails of the cities you've built. Place a road at the limits of one city and it will create a link with another - these two cities can then interact. So you can have suburban housing areas dominating a city, providing work for a primarily industrial city.
But back to concentrating on just one city. The amount of information the game is providing, and you have to cope with, is staggering. But fortunately it's made as crystal clear and as manageable as possible. As well as graphs and charts, optional overlaid grids of colour can pinpoint problem areas (for example you can choose to show areas most affected by crime) and advisors occasionally pop up and warn you of issues, or report problems - helpfully pointing towards a solution. As we mentioned, there's also visual clues too. It's no walkover though, and new Sim City players can expect the odd bankruptcy, or to have to allow the military to set up a missile firing range on your doorstep just to keep the wolves from the door. Let's just hope they're careful… Ooops…
This is a living city with social and economic challenges which intertwine. A thousand police stations (not that you'd afford them) will not stop crime; the police will do their best to prevent it, but have a poor, badly educated population with no hope of a better life and you can expect trouble. That's not political comment, just the nature of the game.
Reducing school bus funding reduces the area a school serves, increasing teacher funding increases how many kids it can cope with - everything from police stations to fire departments can be tweaked so that you can scrape in all the dollars you can.
There are no historical scenarios this time around, though you can base the land on blank but existing geographical areas. To be honest there's such a mind boggling variety of animations and graphics that you can't expect developers Maxis to factor in several historical variations too. Take solace in the fact you can nick landmarks like the Hollywood sign, or even Big Ben.
This time zoning is easier. Dragging a stretchy tool across the landscape auto-previews a zone of industrial, commercial or residential housing - complete with internal roads allowing your Sims to commute around the area. If the demand is right (which you'll be able to tell from a simple graph) then these 'seeded' areas will soon grow. The whole thing is like planting a garden, and adjusting the conditions so everything thrives. Speaking of which, agricultural areas are now a subset of industrial so you can feed your folk.
As for real weather conditions, clouds and fogs would obscure the city and make gameplay a nightmare, but ocean clouds to tumble in and wispy clouds hang around the tops of mountains being tugged by a gentle breeze. Day and night cycles repeatedly, with glorious animations showing the lights in buildings and street lamps come on. It's the sort of game you could just happily sit and watch - a truly fascinating process.
Sim City 4 is not without faults, and no doubt you'll curse the game at one point or another - whether it's because you built a small zone and the roads seem plonked randomly, or because two ends of your massively expensive motorway system just won't join up despite all your efforts. Often areas just won't cultivate, but stop and think - there will always be a reason. Sims need to be attracted to areas. Can you put a park in, make it look nicer? Is the area being raided by criminals from another zone? Is the traffic too bad? Are the shops completely out of the way? You'll puzzle it out in the end…
Overall the game has so many cool features and touches that we could be here all day covering them. But if you want a real challenge, and a game which eschews violence for a puzzle filled, thought provoking and awe inspiring experience which may just change your mind about the way we judge our city planners, politicians (and for some UK folk) mayors, then this may just be the game for you. It's like a sandpit, with cities that can be built or destroyed as you semi-guide tornados around them, with imaginary people you can get feedback from, make happy or make miserable. It's… Well, it's a Sim City, and it's the best yet.
Sim City, Will Wright's classic city building game will be getting a long overdue new edition in 2013 according to German games mag, GameStar.
The magazine quotes Maxis developer Lucy Bradshaw as saying that the fifth game in the series is already in development, but that work on other Maxis titles such as Spore and The Sims has kept it under the radar.
The game will reportedly use a new graphics engine known as GlassBox. This would explain why EA and Maxis are holding a special seminar at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco next week, entitled Inside the Glassbox, to debut a system �uilt from the ground up to power the next entry in one of [EA's] most beloved franchises.�/p>
Sim City 5 will apparently feature multiplayer modes, buildings that can be updated and non-linear roads.
The new Sim City game, planned for release next year, will be a fresh start for the venerable town planning series it seems. Not only has the game been redesigned using a new game engine called GlassBox, but it will ditch the sequel numbering and simply be called Sim City. "We got kind of bored of sticking numbers on the end," Maxis developer Lucy Bradshaw explained.
The game will boast a more organic approach to city building, with a renewed emphasis based on the world as it is today. Environmental concerns will be high on the agenda, so you'll have to watch your emissions. "Invest in heavy industry and your economy will soar - but at the expense of your Sims' health as pollution spreads," says the blurb. "Implement green technology and improve your Sims' lives while risking higher taxes and unemployment."
Multiplayer for up to 16 players has been confirmed, with regional and global challenges, and the chance to contribute to the wider Sim City World. "Team up with your friends to solve global challenges: launch a space shuttle, reduce carbon emissions or build magnificent wonders," boasts the press release. "Compete on global and regional leaderboards to be the richest, the dirtiest, the happiest or the best place to visit!"
Also confirmed are giant monster attacks, while special editions will apparently feature superheroes and supervillains duking it out in your streets. Special regional content packs will also be available, allowing you to create a metropolis unique to your own national identity.
Sim City launches in 2013 for the PC. No console versions have been announced as yet.
EA has announced that the iconic SimCity franchise is to receive a major new instalment on PC in 2013.
Billed as a "true rebirth" for Maxis' legendary city-building series, the new game will feature a more in-depth simulation of a living, breathing metropolis than ever thanks to the developer's new GlassBox Engine technology.
Players will be able to create unique and visually distinct cities, the residents of which will have their own jobs, purchase homes and contribute to the economy.
Cities can be transformed into anything from financial capitals to industrial complexes, though gamers will need to be aware of wider societal issues like climate change and natural disasters.
The new SimCity will also include full multiplayer options, allowing gamers to create their ideal city of the future together.
Lucy Bradshaw, senior vice president of Maxis, said: "This is a franchise that means the world to us at Maxis and we're happy to be bringing it back home where we are reimagining it for an entirely new generation of players."
SimCity has been going strong since making its debut on PC way back in 1989 and is the brainchild of Will Wright, creator of The Sims and Spore.
Sim City 4: Review (17/01/2003)
With the stunning Sim City 4, CJRavey gets to be mayor of a town where you can play God and make people miserab…
Sim City, Will Wright's classic city building game will be getting a long overdue new edition in 2013 according to German games mag, GameStar.…
The new SimCity game, planned for release next year, will be a fresh start for the venerable town planning series it seems. Not only has the game been redesigned using a new game engine called GlassBo…SimCity returns for brand new instalm… (07/03/2012)
EA has announced that the iconic SimCity franchise is to receive a major new instalment on PC in 2013.…
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