Wii create a city like no other!
When the Virtual Console launched alongside the Wii in November 2006, SimCity was the flagship title for the retro SNES games. Though the graphical limitations of the SNES resulted in a rather dated experience, the core gameplay held strong and the game managed to show newcomers to the franchise that its is still worth checking out almost two decades since it was first released.
That was SimCityís first sighting on Wii. In late September of this year, the franchise returned to the Wii for a new flavor of this classic series. Entitled SimCity Creator, Electronic Arts and Hudson Soft have really outdone themselves. Just for the record, that last sentence was dripping with sarcasm.
This city was meant to be destroyed
Where shall I begin? Oh, I know, why not start with the gameís utterly dumb control scheme? While working on your city, you use a point-and-click control style similar to a PC mouse and navigating through menus is done with the D-pad. So far so good. The trouble starts while navigating over your city which is done by pointing the Wii Remote at the screen. Unfortunately, the camera canít be anchored while you are working. So basically if you lower or raise your arm while you are busy constructing something, the chances are that the screen will move away from the object, ruining your view on what you are doing.
The fun doesn't start until you are done constructing your city though. When you have had enough of building, it is time to destroy. You can use a huge arsenal of weapons and natural disasters to take down what you have created. Dinosaurs, meteorites, huge balls, tornados, wild animals, hammers, you name it, it is there. Simply select a disaster from the menu and sit back to watch it be summoned and starts its work. It is fun building your city, but it is even better watching all your hard work go up in flames.
Same old concept
The main gameplay concepts introduced in the original SimCity are still present in Creator, but additional elements have been implemented. One of them is the inclusion of online contests. In these, players who connect over their Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection can participate in specific challenges. It is a great idea on paper but the concept has been executed rather poorly, not unlike the rest of the game. It is impossible to see how others are doing during the contest. Only at the end of the game the winner is revealed. Obviously this subtracts from the whole idea of having the contests in the first place. It would be far more interesting to see each others progress as the feedback would instill a sense of urgency. In another show of poor judgment, the game lacks leaderboards on which you can see your overall score compared to how the rest of the world is doing. In this day and age, such an oversight is unforgivable.
The bulk of your playtime in Creator will most likely be spent in the freestyle mode but the game also sports a mission mode. This too is flawed. In some of the missions it is completely unclear what the objectives are, thus resulting in a rather boring experience. Who wants to attempt to complete a mission in which they have no idea what they should do?
Perhaps the strongest point of Creator are the graphics and audio. When you zoom into your city, little details pop up everywhere and these are fun to behold. In terms of audio, the game falls in line with the definition of elevator music. While this sounds negatively, it really does fit the game quite well and perhaps the relaxing music will soothe the pain of the hideous controls somewhat.
One expensive city?
By looking at the lackluster review scores that recent iterations of the SimCity franchise have received, one could question where the franchise will go next. Unfortunately, Creator doesnít break from the trend, mainly due to its controls and lack of depth. It is quite easy to see that the game was a quick cash-in for Electronic Arts, as was its DS counterpart which shares the same name. Though not bad by any means, the game doesnít quite capture the vision of a Wii SimCity. For only 800 Wii Points, it would probably be a better idea to download the original, which was released almost two decades ago. Trust me, that version is miles ahead of this one.
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