Finally, since Simcity 4 was released in January, an expansion pack has arrived. After playing the fourth of the series, I was pretty pleased. Once I got Rush Hour installed, I found that this expansion really complemented the game very well. This expansion comes with a good number of new features that will definitely please the bigger sims fans out there. Although some of the new features added were useless, others really made the game more pleasing.
The name says it all: Rush Hour deals with traffic and most of the addons improve your control over transit. I found this was a problem in the game that has now been redeemed. Some other changes include the ability to give your streets, neighborhoods and geographical features the names of your choice. This expansion also includes 100 new buildings, skins for existing buildings and completely new buildings put together. One interesting building that has been added is the parking garage building. This can be used to allow sims to travel by car to railways, subways or any other form of transportation. Other buildings include bigger police stations, bigger schools and even a fire plane landing strip.
When it comes to the transit, the changes made by the expansion really have a positive effect on the game. One-way streets can now be built and this helps the structure of your city's roads as long as you're cautious to always place these roads in parallel or you will find your sims going in circles. For the big routes, avenues can now be built. These routes consist of four-lane two-way roads on ground. Although they are much bigger and take up a lot of space, the traffic capacity is much greater than normal streets. They're pretty much like freeways, but they cost much less and are built on ground level. A cool addition to these avenues is that you can place tollbooths. If the tollbooths are placed in high-traffic zones, you will definitely have some good revenue coming in. That's not all: more mass transportation utilities have been added. Bigger train stations, monorails high from the ground, rail sections that can be connected with the subways in your cities and even ferry boats over waterways. Many more bridge structures have been added as well.
If your a fan of all Sims games, then you shall be pleased that you can now import your The Sims characters to live in the city you have built in Dimcity. I guess they did this to say thanks to their bigger fans, but it really does not have much utility in the game. You can then follow your sims around and see what they do day-to-day. You can now also talk to any sim in the city and hear what your sims really have to say about the city, and if they are content or disappointed in your work.
A big change in this expansion is the ``U-DRIVE-IT`` mode. This mode allows you to enter a car of your choice in the city such as a normal civilian car, a firetruck, a get-away car or even aircrafts, helicopters, trains and boats. Depending the vehicle you decide to drive, you will have to complete certain missions. Your decision on how to complete the mission will either give you a higher mayor approval or make your mayor approval go down but make you money instead. Although the camera angle does not change when you take control of a moving vehicle, this addon definitely gives the game more edge and a complete new sensation when you play it. I find it keeps the player from getting bored of just looking at his city grow all the time!
Other additions are pretty much little things that do not bring much to the game. I find some of the new features should have been part of the original to have made it a more complete game. One thing I must point out is that the price of the expansion is worth every dollar. It is hard to find expansions going for as low as this one. Simcity 4: Rush Hour can be bought for a measly 20$ with a mail-in rebate of 10$ from Electronic Arts. So if you own the original, I would not recommend passing by on this one.