Sim City 4

a game by EA Games
Platform: PC
Rating: 8/10

Sim City. The franchise that put simulation games in the forefront of gaming. The original Sim City was followed by the immensely successful Sim City 2000, with innovative graphics and the A? isometric view prevalent in many of today's RTS and simulation titles. With the recent glut of Sim-based titles and my lukewarm feelings over the relatively lackluster Sim City 3000, I was pretty sure the Sim City version of the series had finally reached the end of its creativity.

Boy, was I wrong.

Sim City 4, the latest incarnation from Maxis and publisher EA Games, follows the tried and true methods of gameplay that made the original Sim City titles so entertaining. Sim City 4 also boasts a newer, more complete interface, even more in-depth manipulation of finances and city budgets, a reworked cost structure and even the ability to import your favorite Sims character to live and work in your city.

The graphics are nothing short of fantastic. Whether viewing the city from a bird's eye perspective or up close and personal to homes, businesses, or traffic, the level of detail and finesse are obvious. Audio is well done, with well composed music and interesting, accurate town and city noises.

Gameplay is not for the faint of heart, though. Familiarity with the original Sim City and other franchise titles is especially helpful, and game documentation will assist as well, but if you're new to this style of game, give yourself a bit of time to acclimate to the controls. New game rules will also take getting used to, such as building maintenance and public works costs. Building the police station will make the Sim denizens happy, as before, but now you need to concern yourself with too many police as well as too few.

Overall, however, Sim City 4 keeps the genre alive in a big way. Highly recommended to simulation enthusiasts, Sim City 4 is one game that must be in every serious gamer's library. Great gameplay and excellent execution make Sim City 4 a Recommended Buy.

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