Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

SimCity 4

SimCity 4

Fall 2003 Video Games
Ages: All Ages
Publisher: Maxis/EA
Price: $49.95
Gaming System: PC
Since the first, ground-breaking version of SimCity was released 14 years ago, the simulation masters at Maxis have put out two additional sequels--both great games in their own right. But neither has come close to what this latest urban Sim sequel can do.

If you loved the previous SimCity incarnations, you're going to jawdrop at the amazing details and stunning realism of the cityscape that you are able to build and put into motion with SimCity 4.

Start with the awesome graphics: The buildings and other features of everyday city life and the landscape around them--from mountains to valleys--are all represented as realistic 3D terrain. Use the five zoom modes to witness the incredible detail built into this version--automobiles that stop at red lights, children playing ball in the parks you build, new tenants moving into the new apartment buildings you construct, construction workers paving new roads, headlights turned on as nighttime approaches!

In this version, there aren't the cookie-cutter homes and buildings of past versions--another nod to its relentless attention to detail. Some aspects are similar but easier--from the plotting of building zones and supplying of power, water, and other utilities, to the growing of your city via laws, taxes and development decisions. Other aspects are comparable but more complex--especially the budgetary demands, such as in the building of schools and public service institutions like hospitals. Even taxes are multi-tiered to zone type and income levels.

Another big difference is that this is the first version of SimCity to be released following the wildly popular game "The Sims", and it allows players of both games to import characters into this bigger metropolis -to test out the conditions and experiences of Sim life you've built for them.

This new and remarkable sequel is not only creative fun at its best but intriguingly educational in its challenges to build and maintain an entire city with all of the problems of a modern urban environment.

Don Oldenburg   ©2003 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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