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SimCity Socities differs a great deal from the original SimCity series, that was originally produced by Maxxis. While the old game focused mainly on city building, the new developers, Tilted Mill Entertainment, focused more on the sociological aspects of a city.
This can be witnessed by windows being boarded up on buildings that are in a high crime rate area. Also, different levels of vehicles will appear upon reacing certain science levels. For example, a rural community will have horse and carts running down the main street, while a technologically advanced city will have hovercrafts. Cities without any type of medical care will result in the 'sims' ending up with physical injuries, and in turn lower happiness.
In a bold step away from the zones of the classic Simcity series, zones are no where to be seen. Instead, zones are replaced by buildings that only change external appearances. These buildings remain as is, until they're set on fire or damaged. Instead of having low wealth buildings appearing by themselves, the player must place them. This makes it very easy to end up with utopian socities, with no social problems.
However, in some respects SimCity Socities still has some aspects that have remained since SimCity 4. These are the unlockable reward buildings that the player is given access to. Unlike SimCity 4, the unlocked buildings remain unlocked and do not need to be earned again in the future.
A very good thing about SimCity Socities is that the virtual cities that are constructed do take on their intended feel. A futuristic cyber-punk like city will take upon that appearance, and so will the sky. A city that relies very strongly upon industry will end up with wilted trees, cracked streets and smog filled air. To see it in effect is rather impressive.
For those who are eagle eyed, they will also notice that the petrol giant, BP, makes an appearance on most power stations and petrol stations. Well, perhaps not on the heavy polluting coal plant, from which their logo was missing.