The prospect of a new SimCity was exciting for many gamers, but the game suffered one of the most troubled launches in gaming history. Bugs, strange AI, and server problems stemming from an always-online requirement all contributed to a whirlwind of criticism that surrounded SimCity for its first several weeks on shelves. Since launch, EA and Maxis have been working to fix the problems, and the effort has improved the experience. But is the game where it needs to be?
After several weeks away, I dove back into SimCity to compare its current state to what I was playing when I originally reviewed it. What I found was a game that feels very similar to its original release. Thanks to some patches and tweaks, some things are different while others remain are the same. The game has generally gotten better overall, though it's still far from perfect. Here are some brief observations from my time heading back into the city limits.
The hilariously (and infuriatingly) inefficient traffic has been greatly improved. Cars won't make obviously stupid decisions, and emergency vehicles aren't as likely to get caught up in awful congestion. This is one of the things that was the most broken about the original release. Having it resolved makes creating a functional high-population a more realistic goal.
You aren't stuck going at a turtle's pace anymore. The Cheetah speed setting, which was originally removed to ease the load on EA's servers, has been restored. This is another major improvement, since it means time flows by much quicker in-game, allowing players to amass wealth and citizens faster. Achievements have also been re-implemented. Leaderboards, though technically present, are still not working. They're all completely empty.