The Prerelease Hype for SimCity Societies lies, telling you "The possibilities are endless", promising worlds of staggering depth and versatility, hampered only by your cruel, cruel imaginations (face it, no one reading this is interested in creating agrarian paradises, it's dystopian cities or nothing for you lot). The idea behind this latest version of the standard-setter of the sadly-dwindling city building genre is that you're no longer left out in the cold when it comes to determining the overall mood of your urban hellholes. In previous incarnations of SimCity, you had plenty of abstract control, but you were at the mercy of your village peoples' moods, curse their swinish independent Al routines.
In Societies you've sacrificed a level of detailed managerial control and instead are playing at amateur urban psychologist (or psychotic), taking a more hands-on approach to building, directly choosing the types of constructs and juggling the various life moods that each component carries with it. So choose nightmarish authoritarian workhouses and oppressive police controls to ensure loyalty and productivity at the barrel of a gun (or mood reprogramming centre), or drop a load of ice cream parlours and mime schools in the city limits to create HappyFunsVille instead.
Stay Inside The Box
Unfortunately there's a gaping flaw at the centre of all this. While it would be nice to think that you can mix and match from the styles and create cities of every possible persuasion (Orwellian farming communities anyone?), as soon as you start to stray outside of the basic set of predefined city templates, you're going to run into trouble.
There's an illusion of depth at play, and it's only once you really get going with the thing that you start to realise that to have any real sense of control over the growth of a city, you need all those fiddly micromanaging options that you had in the previous SimCity games.
This whole series has been steadily dumbing down as the years have progressed and Societies is doing nothing to reverse that trend.
Don't get me wrong, there is still a playable enough game in here, and there's enough of the old SimCity magic pixie dust floating about to keep the hooks in and want to keep you experimenting with different layouts of your loving tributes to Doncaster (or 'Dongcaster', following the traditional obscene punning in SimCity place names), but the pull is weakening.
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode