Cities XL was
reminiscent of the awesome Will Wright game Sim City, however
for us, it was a lot more realistic. It that took micro management to
another level as the player was turned into a virtual mayor.
was not an arcade city builder but something that required
finesse and tactical strategies in order to ensure your Utopia
was quite inhabitable to not only your citizens but also to
newcomers to your majestic fantasy city.
The original Cities XL
had some appeal but allowing you the ability to link your city
with other people from around the world in order to trade and
share resources. Unfortunately it was quite limited and there
was no real sense of community or connectedness.
This also came at a monthly cost to the player and considering the limited connectivity, this did turn
quite a few people off. To an extent, certain parts of the
online game worked but in terms of interactivity with other
online games, it felt quite flat, including the online server.
So here we are again as Focus Home Interactive has re-launched
the series by acquiring the original game and hopefully
addressing certain issues with the previous game.
this game for almost two weeks now and at times quite
religiously, I must admit that Focus have actually improved on
the original premise. Thank god they targeted the single-player
game and not that online dribble.
change for me, is the improved micro management system that
allows more options to the player and more importantly a hell
of a lot more buildings to choose from, 700 to be exact.
Just be warned,
all these buildings will make your PC work and even though the
specifications are relatively low-end, to play this game
successfully, a high-end PC is recommended. Even on our
test machine, when the city was quite populated, it did chug
along at times.
Another new option in Cities XL 2011 is the
ability to link your cities together which in turn allows you to
share resources and services with neighbouring cities. Moving
your resources and citizens is done through the added transport options as you create
bridges, tunnels and the like.
your cities infrastructure will collapse horribly. Then you have death and more
importantly taxes which are controlled by the mayor of the city.
If tweaking taxes is too complicated, there is an option to
"dumb" this down for the more inexperienced player but
it's a great way to make revenue.
As mayor, you
also need to ensure that your people are happy as you setup trade routes,
create entertainment venues and a strong economy
for your city to pay for its upkeep and make it attractive to those
who wish to migrate. Buildings are linked into three types that
include residential, commercial and industrial but once again, a
balance must be found where to play them.
As a reward
to good "mayoring" if such a word exists are the trophies which
are given to the player for achieving certain goals or for
being just a damn good mayor. For me, it's not easy to build the
perfect city and the temptation
to create the ultimate entertainment city is sometimes too strong.
In turn, you really need to hold off the enticements to build
everything because by moving slowly and listening to your cities
need, you will succeed.
With that said,
thought must also be used in order to successfully positions these
homes and buildings and to throw another spanner in the works,
you also have a variety of social classes.
Once your transport
(roads, railways etc) are established, your citizens can then
zoom around your city as they engage in their every day
activities from work to leisure. Rich people don't like
pollution or crime but poorer socio economically challenged
citizens won't complain as much but trying to work this out is
sometimes bigger than Ben Hur.
this is one good looking title and the 3D effects are visually
quite impressive. Add in 45 different maps and some very well
designed buildings that allows you to zoom in and out and Cities
XL 2011 is a good looking game. Apart
from the great modelling of buildings and people doing their
every day business around the city, the landscapes are quite
detailed and there are a variety of different terrains to play
on from beaches to forests and everything in between.
The term photorealistic does come
into play here but just make sure you have something a bit more
than the minimum system requirements. With your citizens, I
don't know whether it's me or not but the people in your city
look more normal than those weird looking humans of Cities XL.
Oh... you can also play some real-world cities as well. The
musical score serves as a nice background ambience and
the sounds are very similar to those living in the big city.
In the end, Cities XL 2011 is far
superior than the previous game and its only downfall is that it
may be a little too complicated for some. However for someone
looking for a rather realistic city building game that is
connected to more than just building (ala economy) than you've
come to the right place. Don't let the low scores of the
previous game come into consideration here because they are
definitely not justified for this title. (Shh... it's Sim City