I believe I’ve played every version of SimCity, from the very first up through current. I don’t believe I’ve ever had beyond the baseline game, except for SCURK with SimCity 2000–a worthwhile expansion, as it gave you some pretty cool creative control over things in your world.
I have been playing the newest incarnation on-and-off. It still captures the magic of SC2000 (IMO, the best of the series), but it does feel kind of limited.
Don’t get me wrong, the game has the fundamentals down–you still have to watch your Ps and Qs when it comes to population density and utilization of city services. There’s also an interplay between cities in your region that wasn’t there before.
But, the map is so much smaller with this one–even the largest that you can select feels very confining. I have yet to build a second city up yet to the point where that intercity interaction is possible yet, though, so that may make or break the game–for me, at least.
So far, though, it plays just as you’d expect a SimCity game to play–which, in and of itself, is awesome. It makes me glad I didn’t jump into the game early on in its release cycle when it was nothing but multiplayer; I think they made some much-needed correction in the interim which yielded a really nice game in its maturity.