I came to this city building game with an open mind, others have suggested it’s an exact copy of the previous game but i haven’t played it, so as such I had no preconceptions. I jumped into the game with my last experience of a game like this was a very old version of SimCity.
Focus House Interactive gives us what could have been a visually stunning masterpiece, as you select which area you want your vibrant, expansive city to begin. From arid deserts, lush flowing planes to mountainous peninsulas this game has every location you’d ever want from a city building game.
I started my journey playing the slightly cheesy yet informative tutorial, getting to grips with what I have to say is quite a very detailed format of laying down all aspects of your city. As rows of houses neatly boarder, retail, industrial and hotel complexes. This game goes into so much layout detail, from placing a single house or shop to mass layout in lines and squares. Giving you full control of how you want the city to look, your really tested as it grows in financial and economic growth. The population increases and there becomes the inevitable teetering edge of unemployment and disaster, stretch yourself out to wide to quick and the city will plummet into anarchy.
This is by far the most in-depth city building simulator game I have ever come into contact with (although please note I don’t play many and the last one was many years ago). Although the great thing about this genre is they all follow the same basic core, it’s just the graphics that really change and a few slight twists in-game play.
You do get carried away with it though and it grows with surprising speed as you throw more and more into your beloved little metropolis. Placing bus, train and eventually plane routes into the city to expand it to near breaking point with every little decision. The odd landmark and wooded area adds an element of beauty around a vast sea of skilled and unskilled workers hovels, industrial blight or rolling fields of crops or live stock.
I started to really enjoy the game but sadly this was not for long. Everything is laid out fantastically but the issues soon start to outweigh the enjoyment. I juggled with settings for ages both in graphics and audio, the latter i turned off completely as it was stuttering and jumping all over the place like running with a portable CD player in 1996. The graphics are great but the flickering, overlapping and performance issues in my opinion are shocking from a game of this age and cost.
I understand performance issues, glitches in an early access or beta game are common. The issues that arise are on an ever growing list that the developers, with the help of gamers can fix, improve and implement within the game (sometimes as least). These games are cheap and if all else fails most people can’t complain if you had a few months worth of enjoyment out of something that only cost a handful of cash. However City XXL is a full release tittle and it quite frankly punches you in the face with a jaw dropping £30 price tag (£29.99 to be exact).
Cities XXL sadly in my opinion scores 4/10, for all it’s strong points the performance issues alone ruin this title. The price tag could be easy to swallow if the game was perfect and ran like a dream but it doesn’t. The games predecessor Cites XL Platinum is £14.99 but without playing it probably suffers similar issues as it’s ran off the same engine. SimCity 4 Deluxe on Steam is only £10 so if it was me, laying down my cash I’d probably buy SimCity saving myself £20 and disappointment.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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