1024 x 768_0Sim City 2013 comes out March 5th in the US and March 7th in Australia but I was able to sneak into a 5 hour preview this week and holly simulations Batman is this an incredible game.

Obviously any one who has played Sim City in the past knows that 5 hours flies by in a blink of an eye. For the un-initiated Sim City is at it’s very basic core a city simulator where you get to play Mayor. But this version with the new GlassBox engine makes every past iteration feel like you are playing a spreadsheet vs running a simulation.

Now the streets and roads are the backbone of your city, and are a requirement in order to add buildings, parks, zones, etc. And that backbone is how different ‘agents’ travel along in the city. “Agents” can represent Sim Citizens, Electricity, Garbage/Swear, Water, Products/Goods, etc. And each agent has a goal to achieve and you can actually watch it travel along the city as it does it’s job.

University 1024 x 768_0In the past if the game realized there would be a traffic jam based on number of a given area it would show an animation to represent a traffic jam, and now you actually see the traffic jam as the different Sims get caught up in the traffic while traveling their route.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg to how different this new version of Sim City is. There are finite resources available, and while you may have a smaller area per city, its depth of simulation looks incredibly deep. The charts, graphics and data visualization is a stat-nerds dream come true!

Another nice touch are the customizations that you can do to different buildings, instead of every Police, Firehouse, or Civil Building looking the same, you get a basic building to start and from there you can customize the different ‘add-on’ modules. For the Police it would be more patrol cars, or jail space. Hospitals have the option of adding more patient rooms and ambulances etc.

Casino City - 1024 x 768_0Social is something new in this reboot, not only offering the ability for cities to work together but for Mayor to actually be able to pick up cities that get left abandoned by other players.

Of course this new social/multi-player feature comes at a cost that no other Sim City has had in the past. An always on internet connection. Due to the nature of Sim Cities new structure and world economy it is reliant on getting data to and from the internet constantly. Which unfortunately means no game play for me on those days when I’m traveling which is a real bummer because nothing kills a few hours like loading up Sim City and traveling into it’s virtual world.

All in all I’m VERY excited about this release and if you don’t hear from me by the 10th you may need to send in a rescue team.

Bily Foster – That iPad Guy.