It's also worth pointing out that there were some apparently widespread framerate issues still present in our review build of the game. Whenever we built our city to a certain size, things started slowing to a crawl, making some of the higher medals and achievements in the game that much more difficult to attain. EA says a patch will be out very soon (possibly by the time you read this) that should help resolve these problems, but it's uncertain whether this will be a total or partial fix.
So yes, Societies may cater to the mainstream, and yes, it might have a few important shortcomings. Regardless, it remains a surprisingly well-executed and satisfying game. We would not be at all surprised to see some of the more forward-thinking concepts from Societies somehow implemented in the inevitable SimCity 5, but until then Societies provides a great appetizer and yet another perfect gateway game from the Sims franchise.