See the next version of SimCity in action

With SimCity's release due in February 2013, developer Maxis has released an extended gameplay video showing off how the highly anticipated game works.

(Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET)

"SimCity is a game about endless choices," said lead designer Stone Librande. "Ultimately, you can do whatever you want."

While that isn't entirely true — you can't play offline — at least we can get a sense of how the fifth iteration of the city-management game works in a nine-minute clip released on Thursday by Maxis and EA.

The video shows how the game plays essentially from the beginning as Librande creates a casino-themed city from scratch. Seasoned SimCity 4 players may notice vast differences in the user interface, which seems easier to navigate while simultaneously adding a slew of new options.

The upcoming fifth iteration of SimCity does share similarities with versions past, but you truly get a sense of just how different the game appears with this gameplay preview. Maxis has basically vastly touched up every single aspect of the game, ranging from construction and Sim animations to resource management.

For example, pipe networks no longer exist (and instead go through roads); players can tap natural underground aquifers; and ground pollution can make your town sick. Placing a wind power plant results in the usual options, but aspiring architects can improve the installation's output by adding modules (such as extra wind turbines). You may notice further enhancements in the video.


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