A few days after the issues with SimCity's always-online requirement became evident, EA had announced that it would be giving a free game from its catalogue to everyone who had registered SimCity to their Origin account before March 26. According to The Verge, EA has announced the list of games from which SimCity owners will get to pick their free game. Gamers will have to redeem their free game before March 31.

The options include cheaper casual as well as big AAA titles. Gamers can choose from eight titles – Battlefield 3, Bejeweled 3, Dead Space 3, Mass Effect 3, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Plants vs Zombies and SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition. While the list may not be the most comprehensive one out there, this is still a selection of great games from both casual as well as hardcore gaming.

Many gamers have been facing issues with SimCity since its North American launch earlier this week. EA blamed “server instability” caused by too many players. The company has since been in damage-control mode and is scrambling to bring additional servers online.

Sim City is out now

SimCity owners will get one out of eight great games

SimCity is the latest game in the popular city-building franchise and is meant to be a reboot of the series. The game goes back to its roots, streamlining the gameplay while leaving behind some of the arbitrary complexities that the previous games had, including the difficulty in laying down underground things like subway systems and water systems.

A major new feature in SimCity is the game’s unique take on multiplayer. Multiplayer in itself is a new feature to the franchise. When you play a game, you have to first pick a region to build a city. Other players can join your region and take to building cities on the empty city slots. The game is balanced around co-operation between the different cities in a region.

The multiplayer component also ended up causing quite a stir, as the game requires you to be online all the time—even if you’re playing alone in a private region. While this originally resulted in angry retorts from gamers, the problem revealed its true form during the US launch of the game, when a staggering number of gamers were unable to even start the game. This is presumably because EA failed to predict the number of day-one players.

According to our review of the game, SimCity had the potential to be the best game in the series, perhaps even the best in its genre. But all of this is brought down by the need to stay connected to the game and the emphasis and balance around multiplayer. City sizes are too limited, choices too restrictive, and in case you’re into multiplayer, there’s no way to defend yourself against griefing. The reliance on other players also seems to be too high, which essentially either forces someone who prefers to play alone to claim other cities and min-max them, or to essentially give up on ever being able to make a Great Work. You can check out the rest of the review here.

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