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SimCity Societies Destinations (PC)

SimCity Societies Destinations (PC)

The definition of a game expansion is a pretty standardised concept. An expansion enhances and expands upon the original core gameplay, however SimCity Societies: Destinations ends up slightly different. They have introduced a Traveller mechanic which means you now have to consider how each new building will attract and serve the vacationers.

Let’s be honest the original SimCity Societies ended up being a directionless ramble and it was certainly not something that I found entertaining or enjoyable. The addition of tourism is rather intriguing as you have to create a city attracting people en masse to boost your coffers, meanwhile making sure that your native townsfolk are still getting access to the amenities. It sounds simple, however if you build a really impressive city and people arrive in bulk then it does put a considerable strain on the services.

A good foundation for your city is to build accommodation facilities with plenty of travel options. These big transportation buildings (such as airports) are able to handle many people however they are expensive to maintain correctly and do not benefit the native inhabitants (after all who wants a great ugly airport plonked in their back garden?!). Additionally you can add taxi’s and buses to the environment which helps to alleviate traffic congestion.

So far we have the basic transportation system covered, however once the visitors arrive in your city they are going to want things to do and this is where it gets interesting. Just like in real life, these visitors can be split into groups, each with different goals and pastimes. You have the gamblers, families with kids and sightseers to name but a few. There are certain points of crossover between these society members, Gamblers for example will still want high quality restaurants, much like a family group would.

The game lets you analyse people’s Sim cards to ascertain if they are happy in your city. The main city information screen for travellers also lets you see if your city has a positive of negative outlook amongst that classification of person. This is a sure-fire way to check if people are unhappy and any necessary steps needed to improve the situation. All groups love entertainment facilities so this is always a good way to improve your standing.

A simple means of improving the city is to make some buildings off limits to your own citizens. This ensures that they won’t interfere with the money spending visitors by draining all the resources. You can build a casino for example in this manner and place restaurants or clubs close by to ensure the guests don’t have far to travel for their desires.

Additionally the Destinations package has new modes. The Strategic mode has already been made available to owners of the core pack as a patch, however it adds a maintenance cost to each building which will make budget balancing more difficult. I feel this was a worthwhile addition as it makes you think about where you are placing buildings, to maximise profitability.

There is also now support for policy decisions which let you boost certain areas of your city. This is a great way to customise and enhance the city and it lets you compensate for any weaknesses. For example if you have a high crime rate, you can replace the police faster after their arrests. It’s an interesting and worthwhile addition.

Developer Tilted Mill Entertainment have included some new scenarios which are pretty much  standard fare in city building games, with tasks such as "get x amount of x resource". They have attempted to increase the excitement level of these objectives by including restrictions such as time restrictions. It is almost as boring as it sounds to be perfectly honest.

All of the other extras in Destinations have already been made available to the core game with patches so there really isn’t much point elaborating on them. Such as simpler road placement options for example.

Graphically the game is much the same as the core pack however the developers have stated that the engine performance has been further optimised. I tested these claims and found in most cases a 1-3% frame rate improvement. Unfortunately the issues of juddering frame rates in huge cities and the occasional hard lock still rear their ugly head from time to time. All in all its a mixed affair and could do with a huge overhaul, not just a lick of paint.

Sim City Societies: Destinations does what it says on the tin, it enhances the original game by offering a new gameplay mechanic. You have to attract visitors and make sure they spend as much money as possible to justify your expenditure. Overall unfortunately the game still falls flat and fails to excite and I don’t think this is ever going to fixed with patches or expansion packs. Recommended, but only for diehard fans, the rest of us can give it a miss.


The tourism addition is interesting but as an overall package most of it is still skin deep.


It looks ok but still runs badly.


Much the same as before, nothing to write home about.

A lot of scenarios but it gets repetitive quickly.
(not an average)

Easily missable.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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