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Sim City: Creator Wii Guide

26/05/2009 Family Family Gamer Guide
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Sim City: Creator Nintendo Wii

Sim City: Creator

Format:
Nintendo Wii

Genre:
Strategy

Buy/Support:
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This is the first release of Sim City on the Wii. EA's commitment to the platform is seemingly matched by its restraint in not releasing a version of this franchise before it was finely honed.

It's one of those type of game genres...

Real time strategy games present the player with a resource rich environment and task them with developing encampments and units more effectively than their enemies. Once created, troops can usually be arranged into groups and directed in real time.

When the player directs an encounter to take , place the comparative stats of vehicles, characters and current landscape are used to calculate the winner. Forest usually makes you harder to hit, whilst tanks do more damage than infantry.

Because of these game's requirement for fast decisions from the player they were originally the preserve of the mouse and keyboard setup of the PC. More recently, intelligent control systems have brought them to home consoles and handhelds.

But why is it any better than the others...

Where other RTS games are built from the ground up with play in mind, Sim City has always held onto its education and simulation roots. It is unique in providing a full simulated city building world in which to play, create and learn. Sim City: Creator offers the player the ability to create their own living breathing city, then watch as it develops and grows into a throbbing metropolis.

The formula is largley unchanged since the first version of Sim City was used in schools as an educational tool in the early 90's. The player picks a patch of land, puts down residential, industrial and commercial zones, connects them with roads, rail, water and electricity.

The game is largley based around Sim City 4 PC although without the Transportation expansion pack so not route management or tree lined avenues here. What is on offer though is a very robust city simulation that makes good use of the Wii controls. It is hard to imagine this working quite as well without the Wii-mote's pointing ability.

This release also brings Sim City into the wider Sim stategy on the Wii. It picks up the cartoony aesthetic seen in My Sims Wii. Seen alongside the equivalent Sim City: Creator DS and upcoming My Sims: Kingdom Wii you start to appreciate how joined up these games are becoming.

Add to this a set of mission based mini games that task you with particular city interactions and achievements - such as using the Wii-mote to guide a wrecking ball around a large city - and you have the makings of a pretty well rounded experience. Something that is topped off with some nice touches like being able to fly a helicopter around your creation.

So what experience should I play this game for...

The magic of Sim City is that something you setup can come to life so tangibly and so quickly. The moment a player first hooks up the required amenities and houses start to appear is genuinely exciting. Players continue to play Sim City because of its ability to perpetuate this connection to the goings on in the Sim world.

And when can I take a break...

Probably even more true than other RTS games, Sim City can swallow hours of gameplay. The mission focused levels keep things within clear bounds - but even here it can take a good hour to reach the requirements.

The open ended nature of the game means that freeplay levels can absorb a very long time indeed. Thankfully you can save at any point - if only you can tear yourself away from your master plans.

This is a great game for who...

Particularly with the Wii-mote pointing, Sim City on the Wii is a bridge too far for very young players. The fun of the game is learning to work within the bounds of the simulation - something better suited for school age children. Turning on the block layout setting in the options should make it easier for less dextrous players to lay out usable cityscapes (it automatically adds appropriate roads.

Intermediate players may find the array of options and complex interface initially off putting. But given a little perseverance (and some attention to the tutorials) they should soon be up to speed and obsessing over the finer details of city planning.

Expert gamers are best placed to get the most out of the game. They can enjoy the majority of Sim City's latest features but all in the comfort of the lounge - rather than sat at their PC desk. And this is one of the best aspects of the franchise coming to Wii, it genuinely makes city building a social activity. You only have to start putting down some basics before others in the room start offering advice. Everyone, it seems, is an expert town planner at heart.

Written by Andy Robertson

You can support Andy by buying Sim City: Creator



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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."


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