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659 of 691 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Escape from Reality -- Or is it?
You don't have to be a gamer to appreciate SimCity 4. If you have the hand-eye coordination to browse a website, you're covered there. You don't need a great sense of spatial relations with the various levels of zoom. You don't need to be able to make split-second decisions with the possible exception of quickly hitting the pause button. You don't need many of the...
Published on November 9, 2003 by Warren Holzem

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100 of 112 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag
Well, being a fan of Simcity for a long time I decided to purchase this game, *after* I finally got a computer capable of running it - the system requirements are very large, so it's not going to work well on a computer more than three or four years old.

I found out fairly soon that there were some problems with the game like spontaneous crashes and stuff,...
Published on March 4, 2006 by Amanda Love


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659 of 691 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Escape from Reality -- Or is it?, November 9, 2003
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
You don't have to be a gamer to appreciate SimCity 4. If you have the hand-eye coordination to browse a website, you're covered there. You don't need a great sense of spatial relations with the various levels of zoom. You don't need to be able to make split-second decisions with the possible exception of quickly hitting the pause button. You don't need many of the traditional computer gamer skills to enjoy SimCity 4.
What you do need is the ability to make risk-benefit decisions, and a sense of how the real world works. You need to know, for example, that people with a few bucks in their pockets don't choose to live next to a factory, and you need to understand whether it's better to spend money to build a fire station now, or risk having to rebuild if you wait.
One thing that SimCity 4 does real well is it's simulation of how a government budget works. If, for example, you build an infrastructure that appropriately supports your city, you'll find that funding everything at 100% would require raising taxes beyond what the residents and business owners will stand for. Pretty soon you'll see abandoned residential, commercial and industrial properties. That means your tax base goes down, and you'll have to raise taxes even further.
If you take the alternative and cut the funding to your infrastructure so you can lower taxes, you'll be faced with teachers, fire fighters, police, transit and healthcare worker strikes, and satisfying them enough to bring them back to work will cost you more than appropriate funding would have.
Just when you think you've found that balance between funding your infrastructure and your tax rate, the power plant and roads you originally built start reaching the end of their lives, and you need to replace them. (You were building up a surplus you can tap into, weren't you?)
While your budgetary problems may consume you, there are other factors to consider. A big one is transportation. Sims don't like rush hour traffic any more than you do - and probably less. If you let commutes get too bad, the Sims will stop going to work. You'll either need bigger roads, more efficient mass transit, or you'll need to move the factories and residential areas closer. But wait... Didn't we already establish that people don't like to live next to factories? Again you have to struggle to find a balance - and that balance needs to fit within your budgetary constraints, too!
SimCity 4 Deluxe includes the Rush Hour Expansion Pack. In addition to more transportation options, Rush Hour (and thus Deluxe) adds a "you drive it" feature that allows you to control cars, planes, helicopters, and other transports. If you're really getting into the planning and strategy of the game, these options are a distraction. But if you're showing your city to someone less interested in city planning, a you drive it mission may be a fun way to tour the city.
Something I would love to see in real life is instead of having candidates for public office debate each other, set them down in front of computers, and have them prove their ability to successfully build a working city in SimCity 4. The only governing skill SimCity 4 doesn't simulate well is the ability to work with others. I think we should be very worried about any big city mayor who isn't able to demonstrate their abilities by being successful in SimCity 4.
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284 of 300 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars---The Best SimCity Yet!, April 11, 2004
With SIMCITY 4 DELUXE EDITION, which conveniently contains both the regular SIMCITY 4 plus the RUSH HOUR EXPANSION PACK, EA Games is really beginning to live up to their tagline "Challenge Everything." Apparently, the game designers decided to challenge everything that seemed to be holding the game back in the past, and have taken a brave step forward in designing this new edition with those of us in mind who want to be able to create a SimWorld. In other words, you now have an entire continent on which to build cities; instead of having fake adjacent cities that you're forced to do business with, you now can make your own adjacent cities yourself! You can choose from any of a hundred or so "squares" on which you can build one city after another and have them all trade with each other and everything! You can connect them with superhighways, rail, roads, power, water; it's great!
Another major improvement is in the increased flexibility in building up each of your cities. Remember how, in previous SimCity versions, it's such a pain to figure out where to place your streets within your zones? Not anymore; each time you lay out a zone, whether it be Residential, Commercial or Industrial, the game will automatically lay down a grid of streets for you! That saves A LOT of time right there. Also, remember how you had to blow up your streets in order to replace them with bigger streets? Now, it's a lot easier, because first of all, the road system is much better organized. For example, when you start building a town, you start by using the simple, narrow streets (which are now specifically labeled as being "streets"). However, as people move in and your streets begin to get crowded with traffic, you can then upgrade to wider roads. Eventually, as traffic begins to overwhelm your roads, you may upgrade to wide avenues. All you need to do to "upgrade" is to simply drag a road along a street, or an avenue along a road and---boom!---it automatically changes to a road or avenue. No more having to demolish anything in the process!
The Rush Hour Expansion Pack just adds a new dimension to the game: now you can go out on selected "missions" by car, boat---even helicopter---and earn new buildings, more money, etc. for your city. Admittedly, I'm still trying to get the hang of these missions, as they aren't too easy, but it's still a cool feature for the game. Also, the buildings and airports are in much better detail now, and there is far greater variety of them. There are also many new landmarks to choose from; they are in much greater detail and there is no longer any limit how many you may place. (However, you now have to pay to place them.) There are many new rewards for being a good Mayor, too!
My hope is that with SIMCITY 5, they will make everything more 3-D and will finally provide us with the ability for a ground-level Pedestrian View; imagine being able to walk the streets and boulevards of your own cities, drive around, even take your own trains! I think the possibilities are endless. Till then, this will have to do. But, for what it's worth, it's still a pretty darn good game!
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR SIM FANS
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unable to stop playing, January 17, 2005
By 
Warren Ayen (Chicago, IL, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
First, some history:

I've been playing SimCity since the old DOS version. I loved it (all of Will Wright's sim games, like SimAnt and SimEarth), and loved the series even more when SimCity 2000 came out. I would spend sometimes all day playing it, and using SCURK to make my own buildings.

When SimCity 4 came out I begged my mother to buy it for me for my 21st birthday (she did), and I played it once - then didn't play it ever again until just a few weeks ago. I finally got into the game then.

Let me tell you - don't play SimCity 4 unless you've got Rush Hour or Deluxe because you'll never manage to get a city up and running. In no time there is too much traffic and the budget is terrible. You only get property taxes and an incredibly tiny amount of fares for public transportation (no wonder the CTA has never made a dime) as income, but everything else comes out of your pocket - hospitals and clinics, schools, fire and police protection, as well as maintaince for the roads, pipes, and other infrastructure to keep a bustling metropolis going.

Rush Hour (or Deluxe) makes it all better - your city has many more, sometimes cheaper, alternatives to transit, which helps reduce your burden. Use larger avenues for increased traffic, and place tollbooths on them and make a few hundred simoleons a month extra. Create elevated rails in your car clogged downtown and elimiate both traffic and pollution at once. On top of that, you now have easy/normal/hard modes that start you out with a bit more than the original 100,000 (500,000 in easy). Also, I swear, your population, jobs, and demand are more balanced in the expansion than the original game. It is also easier for commuters to get to jobs too - I haven't seen a single No Job zot over any houses yet, even though my city is physically larger than any I'd created in the original SimCity 4.

On easy, you also get more from taxes than the other difficulty levels. Create cities next to each other and sell services, or better yet, put your power, industrial, and garbage in the next town - and your residential and water in the first and sell back and forth. Use a few avenues to lead up to the industrial and place a tollbooth on each one and watch your revenues rise.

Just remember, though: read the manual - SimCity 4 is really really complex and hard to understand at first, but is worth it!
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88 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great game at any time, March 10, 2004
By 
Nick "Nick Mazzaglia" (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
Simcity 4 could probably be one of the best of its kind ever. The game is very realistic and involves most of the daily problems a city mayor has to deal with. It is even very difficult to keep the budget balanced. But here is a tip for this: when you start a new city, always create industrial zones and some commercial that will start to generate new business that would add an income to the city and they do not need any or but a few public services. One you have a big budget surplus you start creating residential zones and leaving space for public buildings. Never create small hospitals, fire and police stations, because in the long term you'll need about 3 times de number of big buildings to keep your citizents happy.
The only bad thing the game has is the fact that it needs a super pc to run always at a normal speed. I have a Pentium 4 2.80 ghz and 512 RAM with and excellent Video Card and when you use the zoom in your city it sometimes goes a bit slow. So I would suggest that if your planning to get this video game you better have a superb pc or you'll find it frustating to see that the game runs slow.
I don't know if this game can get any better but I sure hope so. Buy it, you'll end up playing it for hours.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive., June 1, 2004
By 
neoninfusion (Sydney, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
Years ago I fell in love with the original SimCity, but hadn't played it or the subsequent versions until I bought this on a whim. It was one of the best purchases I have made!
SimCity is a scrolling map of an area where you, as Mayor, create the city with its surrounding industrial, residential and commercial zones. You build the infrastructure - roads, rail, utilities. You balance a budget as you control the funding of new developments. It is so lifelike that typical problems arise and you are responsible for solving them, else your popularity will dive.
The scope of SimCity4 is incredible in comparison to the previous versions; creating various districts in a region (multiple CBD's), creating beaches, subways, monorail, the list goes on. You also have the ability to create your own personalised landforms, including regional landforms from scratch. I haven't used any MySims in the Rush Hour expansion pack yet because there is so much to do first.
The only problem I see so far is the inability to scroll across districts that border one another. You can link them through roads etc, but you cannot scroll from one zone to the next. You need to exit one district to enter the next. I have a modern computer, so I haven't found any problems with running the software (as others have found).
But, I've had so much fun playing this version that time seems to travel five times faster than normal. Maybe I'm flying so fast, time is actually slowing down. Anyway, this game is very addictive and I find myself playing it at every opportunity. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone, especially town planners and politicians who could do with the practice.
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100 of 112 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag, March 4, 2006
By 
Amanda Love "kinsoku jiko" (Fitchburg, WI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Well, being a fan of Simcity for a long time I decided to purchase this game, *after* I finally got a computer capable of running it - the system requirements are very large, so it's not going to work well on a computer more than three or four years old.

I found out fairly soon that there were some problems with the game like spontaneous crashes and stuff, which need to be fixed by downloading a patch from the official website. And it still has occasional problems with crashing or parts of cities disappearing when I save. There could be significant improvements in stability here, and it doesn't appear that EA is going to release any more patches for the game.

The graphics are a definite improvement over the previous SimCity games, there's a lot more detail to everything, and there is a larger variety of buildings, although you still start to see the same building over and over pretty fast.

The game differs from previous versions right away - the map is a large region of squares to build interconnected cities on. Unfortunately, there is no large-scale terrain editor here, nor is there a terrain generator as in Simcity 3000. Instead, you have to go into each little square and edit from there with the terrain tools, which are better than the previous versions, but aren't very useful in the sense that you will have to go back and forth between squares, reconciling the edges to make a realistic region. It is possible to import grayscale images into a whole region, but it requires being a total geek and a lot of time and patience, something that a lot of people won't have time to do.

Once you do have a suitable area to start the game is pretty fun, if a bit challenging. If you've never played the previous versions of this game before you'll definitely need to play the tutorials, and if you have played before, you are going to need to unlearn a lot of stuff. It can be a bit difficult at first to get things going and the money coming in, but after a little while you'll start to fill up the square on the map, and that's where things get start to get interesting. People can and will commute between two connected squares, and the two "cities" can trade utilies much like the neighbor deals in Simcity 3000. And from this point, at least in theory, you can build a much larger city.

That's the idea, anyway. In reality as my megacities expanded I've just noticed more and more problems that make the game become very frustrating. There are a number of problems I've hit at this stage of the game:

1. The large squares become basically unusable as they fill up. The transportation system becomes so complex that the simulation more or less gives up on finding paths for commuting, which in turn halts new development. I've had to stop using these altogether because of the choke they can put on the region. And then there's an issue where things like trees and other of the so-called "props" (basically a lot of small detail that goes along with buildings) may just disappear from large sections of these maps while saving the game.

2. The transportation system eventually stops working logically. People will start commuting just to the closest edge of the map connected to another "city", which leads to going in circles, extremely high traffic counts on side streets when there's an empty freeway nearby, and eventually brings the game to the point where I'm trying all sorts of strange tricks to force people into driving in a direction that makes some sort of sense.

3. There's also this issue with micro-management that becomes very annoying later in the game. Each school and hospital needs to have funding set for them just right - if it's too low the workers go on strike for apparently eternity, if it's too high it's easy to lose a lot money fast. And then there's the fact that buildings (especially factories) catch on fire an awful lot, and apparently the fire department can't dispatch to these fires on their own.

4. It's difficult to build any sort of realism in these cities, partially because of the issues with the scale of things, for example you will likely need dozens of power plants scattered all over the place, and the same thing goes for sanitary landfills, and while it's theoretically possible to have some central location for these kind of things, in reality the cost is prohibitive. In addition people will not commute more than about 1 1/2 miles from their homes, which takes them like TWO HOURS in good traffic.

In addition, perhaps it's just me, but I don't see a whole lot of fun in the so-called "U-Drive-It" part of this game. I find it boring for the most part and difficult to use. I think this feature is way overrated and overhyped.

My advice is if you are already a fan of Simcity go ahead and buy this game (if your computer can handle it), but don't pay full price for it. If you haven't played a Simcity game before this one will likely be somewhat overwhelming and confusing and I would recommend buying and playing an older version, such as Simcity 3000.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Huge Achievment, May 31, 2004
A Kid's Review
I purchased SimCity 4 at least a year ago for $89 :( . I wasn't that happy with it, not being into the RTS genre at the time. So it sat there for around 11 months until I really got into the RTS "spirit". Then SimCity 4 really shined. It covers every detail of running a city, from taxes to landfill. The graphics are superb, even on my Dell 2400 computer, (which has an integregrated graphics device). You see Sims talking, driving, taking the train, everything. The structures are much more realistic then those of Sim City 3000,(which we have at school). It takes a little getting used to at first, but once you get the hang of it, It's quite easy.
PROS:
1. Superb Graphics
2. Complete City Governing Coverage
3. Advisors are more help then in SC3
4. Rush Hour adds complete transportation coverage
5. Graphs and Data Views are more detailed
CONS:
1. My computer deletes cities sometimes
2. Some Gliches with less powerful graphic cards or processors
Score
Graphics 5/5
Sound 5/5
Speed 4/5
Compatability 4/5
OVERALL 5/5
This is not a game for people who hate fiddling with every detail of everything. Gamers new to RTS or expierienced will find this game enjoyable.
I thouroughly recommend it
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great thinking game, October 19, 2003
By A Customer
Sim City 4 is a game that challenges your management skills. You have to really keep track of everything that is going on in your city. From Urban planning, to SDOT(Sims Dept. of Transportation), to Education. You need to stay on top of it all. You do have advisors in the city that give you great advice and will help you through most everything.
This is not an easy game. If you're anything like me I had heard about sim city but I had never played it. I took the chance, bought the game, and started playing. After an hour I had a small city that I really liked. The thing that really hooks you about this game is that it can just keep going. It's not like other games that once you have beaten it, you're done an you never play it again. This is a great game that you can play for a few hours a week and really not get tired of it. I became totally addicted to it. I try to play whereever and whenever I can! Your city keeps changing and growing and evolving. Plus you can try different types of cities. Try the agracultural city, there's a real challenge. If you can figure out how to make a farming community prosper, then you're really starting to think about what it takes to run a city.
This game recently won the Parenting approval award. Here is a game that actually forces you to think in order to win. This is a great game. Just try it for an hour or two.
Also, please read the system requirements. This game is big and requires a fair bit of horse power to run. The technology is changing folks, yes the games are getting bigger and need more power to run, but, because of that you get a game that is really incredible to play.
Good luck!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Experience!, January 2, 2004
By 
zeroflux "zeroflux" (Arlington, Virginia) - See all my reviews
I am a long time owner of the original SimCity. The new game is absolutely light years away from the original.
Not only is the AI much more advanced in SimCity4, but the functionality and graphics are tremendous. There is simply nothing as fulfilling after finally getting the city budget into the black than entering the sims screen and driving a police cruiser around the city running cars off the street. ;)
Also, The night time mode is absolutely beautiful, and I find myself exposing my sims to an eternal nocturnal environment. :)
The gameplay and superb graphics do come at a price. The memory and disk space needed to run the game are intensive for most computers that don't have the latest generation processing speeds, video cards and memory. The game worked seamlessly over Christmas on my parents laptop, but was sluggish on my computer which barely meets the minimum requirements. Much to my distress, the game will be shelved until I can purchase a newer system.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely addictive and entertaining, November 10, 2003
By 
Anuj Agarwal (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Let me start by saying that the first few times i played this game (my first SimCity game) i wasn't too happy. It seemed a little hard and made me feel that playing this game is more about money management than planning and building a city. However as i tried it out some more i got the hang of things and began to realize that the simulation is pretty realistic and has a lot of variety built in.
The key to enjoying this game is to understand that adding more amenities to the city - like colleges, garbage collection, hospitals, public transportation,... is expensive and to prevent those investments from draining your money, the city needs to expand as soon as every one of these things is added. So basically you need to zone more areas for residential, commercial and industrial growth as you add more facilities so that these facilities are shared by more people which makes them cheaper to you and more people means more tax revenue.
The other thing i found very interesting is how the city doesn't always need to grow the same way. You could decide to build a farming community where you don't bother much with education and pollution or you could build a high tech city where you have to make sure you're encouraging the right kind of industry and people to move into your city.
The Rush Hour expansion (which is part of this Deluxe edition) is more useful when your city gets really big (i would say 50,000+) so that you can now add different kinds of public transportation means. To make the right decision regarding the location of subway stations, etc. you can look at the traffic flow across the whole city or concentrate on one building and see how people are getting to this place.
Then there is also the next step of connecting cities together. This enables you to build an industrial city with high rises and a neighboring one thats an affluent suburb with big mansions and boutique stores.
This game has a lot of depth. It does take a little time to get the hang of it but hey... no pain, no gain :)
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