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Cities XXL (PC) Review

 
CitiesXXL_Logo_HD
CitiesXXL_Logo_HD
CitiesXXL_Logo_HD

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC
 
Genre: ,
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
5.0
5.0/ 10


User Rating
1 total rating

 

We liked?


  • Solid city building
  • Long overdue performance improvements
  • Information panels tell you exactly what you need
  • Not so much?


  • Almost identical to the previous games
  • UI looks shoddy and the graphics look dated
  • Frame rates are still inconsistent in places


  • Final Fiendish Findings?

    Cities XXL feels like a missed opportunity. It’s still a solid city building game, and is a nice distraction if you were burned by SimCity. But it’s almost entirely the same as the previous game in the Cities XL series, with just a couple of additions and improvements to make it seem new. If you’ve never played a game in this series before, it’s worth a look at least, because this is the best game in this series. If you’re a veteran, though, you really shouldn’t spend your money on this. You’ll just feel ripped off if you do.

    0
    Posted February 12, 2015 by

     
    Full Fiendish Findings...
     
     

    There was a lot of excitement when EA announced a new SimCity game.  The final product, however, was met with a wave of disappointment and anger, with it’s small cities and constant requirement to be online.  While there have been some improvements, and the online requirements have been removed, it could be too late for some people.  For those looking for a new city building game to play with, Focus have released Cities XXL, the latest in the Cities XL series.  But, while EA may have dropped the ball with SimCity, Focus practically threw the ball on the floor with Cities XXL.

    So, Cities XXL is a city building game in which the aim is to build and manage a city, providing houses, jobs, entertainment, amenities and services for your citizens while balancing your city finances and managing the infrastructure and environment.  You start off with some basic zones and buildings to start you off, and you can choose how you build the zones, be them in square groups, or in linear lines, or just as a free form shaped group to account for the terrain around you.  As you reach certain population levels in your city, you unlock new items to play with, that become necessary if you’re going to keep your people happy.

    CitiesXXL-04

    Of  course, as your city grows, your citizens needs change, and you need to react accordingly.  As with previous games in the series, clicking on the different types of citizens will show you what they need from you.  There are plenty of detailed information screens to assess where problem areas are as well, although actually finding what you want can still be a painstaking task given the clunky UI, which has been given a bit of a style overhaul.  However, it ends up looking worse than in previous games, with the menu buttons on the title screen having text that is only horizontally centred.

    When you boot up Cities XXL for the first time, and you’ve played a previous game in the series, you might end up exiting the game to make sure you downloaded the new game in the series, because Cities XXL is almost entirely identical to Cities XL Platinum that came out a couple of years ago.  I very quickly noticed some of the buildings that sprang up out of my zones looked exactly the same as with Platinum.  And the graphics haven’t been improved at all, and haven’t any significant upgrades over the course of the series, meaning they’re starting to look very dated.  The fact that cars still look like featureless grey boxes unless you’re zoomed in quite close is troubling.  One plus is that the performance issues that plagued previous versions of the game have been improved, which is very welcome.  The frame rate can still be quite inconsistent in places, though, even when playing on a high end rig.

    There are a couple of new features.  There’s the option to upgrade your buildings to new, more environmentally friendly versions, and there’s also a whole new ecological set of buildings to unlock, such as bicycle rental and park and ride bus facilities, which are unlocked a fair way into the game.  Day and night cycles have been introduced as well as a couple of new environments to play in.  But this all feels like something that could have been done with a patch and DLC for Platinum, rather than releasing a whole new full priced game.

    CitiesXXL-01

    A welcome addition is the introduction of Steamworks support, allowing you to quickly and easily add and remove mods as and when you see fit, and hopefully the Steam community can create things that will make the game seem more fresh, instead of just a patched version of the previous game.  But as it stands, this feels like something veterans to the series have seen before, a few times.

    FINAL THOUGHTS
    Cities XXL feels like a missed opportunity.  It’s still a solid city building game, and is a nice distraction if you were burned by SimCity.  But it’s almost entirely the same as the previous game in the Cities XL series, with just a couple of additions and improvements to make it seem new.  If you’ve never played a game in this series before, it’s worth a look at least, because this is the best game in this series.  If you’re a veteran, though, you really shouldn’t spend your money on this.  You’ll just feel ripped off if you do.


    Mike Jones

     
    Mike first started writing about video games at the age of 10 when he wrote a Sonic Chaos review for his school newspaper, and hasn't looked back since. Favourite game genres include MMOs, racing games and puzzlers, but he'll try most things once.