Cities of Tomorrow is something of a "more of the same" add-on. SimCity gameplay has been preserved for the most part, but accentuated with futuristic touches and technology that allow you to take your towns into the future. Granted, this is a future that still features ridiculously small city borders, an unhealthy emphasis on multiplayer, and the same old always-on Internet connection that alienated so many fans last spring, but hey, it's got all that plus mag-lev trains and robot drones now, so take the good future with the bad future.
All of the tweaks in this add-on collectively let you evolve past the current era into a shimmery future that represents the later 21st century and beyond. The biggest symbol of this leap forward is the MegaTower, a cloud-touching superstructure that lets you fit almost all city accommodations and services under one roof.
Forget about the crippled zoning mechanics in the original SimCity; you can place residential, mall, office, park, security, waste collection, and other specialized levels into single buildings. You can even top everything off with something eye-catching, like big neon signs, parks, or tourist-drawing lookouts.
But even though building up, not out, would seem to be a good way to handle the tiny municipal footprints that are still imposed on city-builders, I had serious problems with how to use MegaTowers in my personal cities of tomorrow. Their sheer size remains an issue. Each tower occupies a tremendous amount of space, which means that you have to cram them into cities by demolishing huge sections of your original layout. Figure on getting rid of a good four square blocks of residential development to plop down just one tower, which really exacerbates the demolition-happy design of the original game. Don't go all future on an existing city if you have any emotional attachment to it, because the old place will be gone in no time...
- New "Blade Runner by way of Coruscant" graphics take the game into the future
- Multipurpose MegaTowers are innovative, if also wildly expensive and huge
- Does very little to address core problems with the SimCity design
- Cities are far too small for the new structures, most of which have massive footprints
- High-tech nature of new buildings can strain your budget to the breaking point