Cities XL 2012 is a city simulator developed by Focus Home Interactive. The game focuses on a single-player mode and is a very detailed and enjoyable simulator for all those budding virtual Mayors out there. However, the game has not changed much from last year’s Cities XL 2011, so if you are looking for a whole new game then you will be disappointed, this is more of an expansion pack. However, if you are a new-comer and have not played last year’s version then you will find what turns out to be a pretty nice game here.
As I have already mentioned, if you played last year’s version you will not need to play the tutorial as not much has changed at all, apart from a few new buildings and better graphics. For the newcomers though, you will probably need to play the tutorial unless you are the type of person that likes to learn by trial and error. The tutorial explains all the basics about building a city. The controls are all easily managed by using a mouse and clicking on the various buttons on the main screen. You can, of course, use the keyboard as well for some quick selections. The whole tutorial is everything you should expect from a management game and explains everything you need to know.
The graphics are all very nice, they are very highly detailed and you can zoom straight into a first-person point of view and actually walk around your town. You can see all your new citizens walking around going about their daily business and watch the cars all driving around. There are also some really nice buildings, and once you have built up a successful and large metropolis you can sit back and enjoy your new creation. All this combined with the laid back music adds to the easy-going atmosphere.
The gameplay itself revolves around supplying all the right things in the right places. For example, you need to have housing for unskilled people that take up jobs like farming. You also need to have housing for skilled workers that work in offices and progress towards executive jobs. You also have to take care of the city’s utilities, like the electricity supply, sewage etc. You also can build shops and leisure facilities for your citizens to enjoy. The whole idea is pretty much what we have seen before in a game like this, you need to take care of everything. One refreshing thing I noticed about Cities XL 2012 though, was that, unlike other city simulators, the learning curve is not too steep and with a bit of time and patience you will soon master the system and successfully manage your cities.
And it’s here where the fun really starts as you start adding airports and building bridges joining islands up. The whole game is really enjoyable and it is nice not to have to really struggle to get anywhere. After only playing the game for a few hours I already had a huge city and had to start a whole new one up after running out of space.
Being a PC title, there are also MODS that you can download, some of which are found on the developers’ own website. These can add extra enjoyment to the game and are a great way to expand your cities to be just the way you like them. There is no campaign mode in this game as such, which makes Cities XL stand out as different from its competitors. Instead you are free to go from one map to the next and develop cities that coexist as part of a shared global economy leading up to a vast empire. You really can take over the world here.
It’s not all easy, though, as the bigger you get the more complicated it gets and careful management of your finances becomes a must, making sure you get enough coming in to stay in the black and pay of that bank loan that you took out. You also need to make sure you keep things like industrial factories away from farmland and people’s homes; as in real life people don’t like that and they will soon start to move out. You also need to provide things like transport links, such as metro lines and bus routes. for people to move around as not everyone has a car.
There is no Multiplayer side to the game at all, something that I feel it does not really need. I am not sure how the developers would have implemented this anyway, so it nothing to worry about. I did enjoy my time with Cities XL 2012 and it is nice to have a detailed yet not harsh city simulator for once. If you want to make things harder for yourself, you can, by selecting the expert mode where all buildings are unlocked immediately and you then struggle, for example, to find people to stay at your fancy new hotel because no one can afford it yet. Thanks to the expert mode, the game provides for both novices and the experienced alike. I would recommend, however, that if you have last year’s version it may not be worth the upgrade as you only gain 300 new buildings and some improved graphics. For newcomers to the series though, Cities XL 2012 is a worthwhile investment and you can expect to enjoy more than a good few hours of fun building your own personal metropolis.
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