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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Simulation

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Maxis

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2003

 

 

- Collects all those needed patches in one handy install

- The idea of driving around cities you created is cool

- New online city swapping certainly expands life of the product

- New road upgrading tools greatly improve the transportation component

 

 

- The actual execution of the driving elements is poor

- Doesnít really seem like a good value considering much of the material has been included in patches over the past year

 

 

Review: Sim City 4 (PC)

Review: The Sims (PC)

 

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Sim City 4: Rush Hour

Score: 7.9 / 10

Sim City 4: Rush Hour was released a good time ago, but the pile of great full games released in the forth quarter of 2003 meant this expansion got pushed to the back burner.  Now that things have slowed down, Iíve had time to put the new expansion through its paces, and Iíve discovered that I wasnít missing all that much in the past few months.  Rush Hour would be great as a free download (and many of the features in this expansion had been available as patches for months), but for a $20 expansion, it simply offers too little to give it a strong recommendation.

 

sim city 4 rush hour pc review      sim city 4 rush hour pc review      sim city rush hour pc review

 

Anyone who has played any incarnation of Sim City, or just read the occasional review, will know that the franchise is famous for being more of a high-tech toy than a game.  Sim City 4 was so deep and so amazingly detailed, that it was more like a computer model for city development committees than a game.  Rush Hour attempts to add a little dumb fun to the formula by adding a driving component to the Sims module of the game.

 

My favorite part of Sim City 4 was the ability to import Sims from The Sims or create new Sims that would then move into a home in the city I created.  These Sims could be tracked as they went about their daily lives and could be used to see if there were any problems with the city on a much closer level than could be done in previous Sim City games.  If the Sims thought they were in danger because of lack of fire or polic in the area, they would tell me.  If the commute was to long, they would let me know.  I liked the feedback from the Sims much more than that provided by the development experts in the game.  In fact, I wouldnít mind seeing the next Sim City completely switch over to a more democratic method of 

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determining what a city needs.  Maybe the Sims could form town council or development boards or the like.  Anyway, I liked the ability to interact with individual Sims enough that I thought Iíd really enjoy the new features added by Rush Hour.  I was wrong.  Perhaps I should have thought back to 1997ís Streets of Sim City expansion and realized that while Maxis is very good at making micromanagement fun, they donít do very many other things well.

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The new mode added to the Sims tab of the game allows players to go on a variety of missions requiring them to actually drive the vehicles that tool around the cities they have created.  Players can take over the cars of their Sims and run errands, or they can participate in missions involving the police, firefighters or ambulance drivers.  The game also allows players to take over land and air vehicles as they build certain buildings.  On the surface, the concept is cool, but the execution is mediocre and it is unlikely many players will spend much time with the feature because of that.  The main problem is that the player must constantly rotate the camera while driving through or flying over his city because the original game model just isnít designed for an arcade game.  The time missions can become really frustrating because, even if the roadways seem fine in the greater scheme of the game, it can be nearly impossible to navigate from point A to point B in a given time.  Still, even with a certain level of frustration, the main experience of the new driving model is simply boring once the newness of the idea (assuming the player has never played Streets of Sim City) wears off.

 

If the new sim driving mode was all Rush Hour offered, it wouldnít be worth a purchase.  Luckily, it isnít.  Sim City 4: Rush Hour actually installs as an upgrade, not an expansion to Sim City 4, and it is an upgrade that includes most of the most demanded features, including a new online city swapping functionality, that were missing for the original release.  Still, I have mixed feeling about whether anyone should have to pay for features that should have been included in the original release and have already been included in countless patches.  In the end, Iím glad to have Rush Hour installed, and I guess most players who adopted early would be too.  Especially important to some early adopters with older systems, the expansion greatly improves the way the game looks on older video cards.

 

- Tolen Dante

tolen@armchairempire.com

(April 9, 2004)

 

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