A streamlined status bar displays all the detail you need and shows more of the city than ever before. It’s one thing to trudge on with a series, ignoring users’ complaints and suggestions and cranking out sequel after sequel, but it’s even worse to overhaul a system that works from the beginning. Once again, EA Games has shown class and restraint by avoiding both of those traps for the fourth installment of the stellar city building series.
SimCity Buildit line boasts a rare ability in the gaming universe. It’s capable of aging gracefully without a major upheaval of either its interface or its graphics engine. That’s probably because they were darn near perfect to begin with. The game allows players to issue complex movement and fire commands through an intuitive series of mouse clicks, and a simple status bar allows them to monitor at a glance the well being of each of their squads and the soldiers within.
It’s that interface that made the original game a classic, and EA has done well by leaving it alone. Besides performing a minor brushup on the status displays, the development team focused its efforts on mixing in a batch of brand new SimCity Buildit features and on creating an avalanche of historic scenarios, operations and full-blown campaigns surrounding (duh) the SimCity.
SimCity Buildit really shines in the heat of city building. The computer AI is fierce, even on easier difficulty settings; taking on the PC on the highest level requires serious tactical ingenuity. A few new graphical goodies pump up the realism. Explosions look better than ever; smoke appears as wispy and random as it is in reality; and everything seems to flow a bit more smoothly. In a fashion similar to its predecessors, Battle of the Bulge draws players in with marvelous visual detail and realistic reactions from soldiers. They won’t, for instance, charge the enemy through an open field or obey any such suicidal orders. Much like the staff of Daily Radar, soldiers’ morale fractures as their squad gets shot up or the overall situation deteriorates.
Such human nuances are brought to life through the game’s fabulous audio as well as its fine graphics. Players’ soldiers will tell them when an order is impossible. They’ll cry out in despair when the situation looks hopeless, and they’ll scream in gut-wrenching agony when they’re hit. There are, however, two minor shortcomings in the audio category. There’s no support for 3D audio, which may not affect gameplay but the inclusion of it would have increased the already impressive level of immersion of this game. Secondly, the stereo effects are backward! Since the game lacks a “reverse stereo” option, the only solution is to tweak the Windows settings or move the speakers. Fans of the Simcity Buildit will be happy to add this title to the collection. Even if they’re new to the series, a helpful set of tutorials will guide them smoothly into the fray. For more of SimCity Buildit, and learn about the secrets, tips, hacks, and more about the game.