Remember when I got SimCity on the cheap? Well thanks to an Origin 50% off "mystery deal", I got the Cities of Tomorrow expansion for 50% off too, so I figured why not. So is it any good?
Installing the expansion was...instantaneous. No additional downloads at all. Having looked through the game files, it seems it came with an earlier update. Good one EA. Way to bloat player's hard drives regardless if they're buying this or not.
I was greeted with an unskippable trailer showing me what all the future stuff is. Fortunately that was a one time thing and can be skipped upon future launches. You don't need any new regions or anything to start using the content, so that's a start.
Core gameplay is the same as the base game. But rather than a city simulation, SimCity 2013 has a business acumen to it and it seems you'll care more about making money than cities that are pleasing to the eye. Cities of Tomorrow feels right at home with this.Enter OmegaCo. Using ore and crude oil, you can create Omega in your factories and have it distribute throughout the region. Plus other industry buildings can become OmegaCo franchises and generate profit. Everybody seems to love it so maybe I'm a virtual Heisenberg? It makes money so why complain?
Then there's The Academy. Like the University, it can be used to research new things. I haven't played around with it yet but I hear you can research something to eliminate radiation, which is great for those who love destroying their nuclear power stations or sending out meteor strikes.
And finally, we have MegaTowers and my god are they awesome. Stuff residential, commercial, educational, office blocks and parks into one multi-storey skyscraper. People living here pay rent and given you have enough shoppers/residents/whatever, there's another great profit opportunity here. You can have 8 of these in one region and given SimCity's meager map sizes, I doubt you can fit 8.
Aside from the few major things, there's a few new purpose-based buildings from the base game with futuristic designs, roads and cars change as you plop futuristic buildings nearby. Other than that there's not a lot of new content here.
It's worth noting upon my second startup after getting this EP, apparently my city didn't process properly. I was taken back to a screen where I was able to rollback to an earlier build. Fortunately it didn't change things too much from what I could see. I don't know if I was just unlucky but it was annoying nonetheless. At least Maxis bothered to add a safeguarding measure.
Worth the money?
Given the RRP of £25, you're not getting an awful lot here. Even for £12.50 it feels rather small. This feels like a lazy attempt at making DLC. You're just getting a few new buildings and a couple of new ways to make money - that's it. You could pass this off as Store Content for TS3. That's not to say the new things aren't at all interesting but the asking price is rather extortionate considering.
SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow is built on an ambitious idea that's not used to its full potential. While the new major additions are welcomed, they're far and few between. If you own SimCity and got bored of it quickly, this expansion won't entice you to return.
- Gameplay - 6.5/10
While the new stuff is cool in its own right, it doesn't change the game much at all. SimCity itself is rather simple so we're not really making any steps forward.
- Graphics - 6/10
The futuristic stuff looks okay I guess. Other than that the game still doesn't look or run that great.
- Sound - 8/10
The new electronic sounds are decent. I noticed the buy mode music from TS2 was used when clicking on the mall block of the MegaTower.
- Lasting appeal - 5/10
If you're in love with the game, what's stopping you from coming back? If you got bored of it quickly like I did, the expansion doesn't make things better.
- Final score - 6/10