A whopping 599 thumbs down user reviews on Steam, but is it really a bad game or not? RealGamerNewz answers that and more.
When you actually read these reviews, you may start to notice that the major complaints most have against Cities XXL are related to user preference and fixed by existing mods already available for free with easy installation through Steam Workshop, or they are complaints about the game not running optimal enough. I can assure readers that RealGamerNewz has tested this game on a budget, entry-level machine complete with Quad Core processor from AMD and GTX 650 graphics card from NVIDIA (eVGA specifically), with no major issue the game is running for us on just 8 gigabytes of standard DDR3 RAM.
So, a bit puzzled at this Steam storefront appearance, and accidentally stumbling on what looks to be a bit of a disastrous release community-wise, we continue on to find our own team’s enjoyment and technical impression of this game to which a less significant 200 thumbs up users on Steam may be more inclined to agree with. If you are one of those who feels this game deserves less points than we’ve given it, feel free to discuss that in the comments but please keep the language semi-intelligent and productive.
–__– Moving. Right. Along. Then…
[No, this isn’t pointless promo art, the cities you build look REAL]
Right away we must mention that the soundtrack of the game deserves a shout out for featuring a often soothing and rhythmic track or two to compliment the grinding feel of gameplay and increasingly overwhelming city management tantamount to progression of yester-year simulations that shined in the golden era of PC Gaming. As far as putting to rest some engine performance discussion, I challenge reviewers for claims of Cities XXL not running well on quad cores with perhaps having a lot of background stealth-piggy-back crap programs installed on their computer weighing them down.
I tested the game on a less-powerful-than-most-people-have PC Gaming machine and it ran great. The usual hog-down when dealing with simulation is virtually absent and I’m able to accumulate literally hundreds of thousands of citizens, zoom into their lives and watch them for a quick laugh before I get back to planning, zoning, and building at a rapidly satisfying pace.
The game is not as easy as many have mis-stated. As quickly as you build you need to also adapt to what’s changing within your city’s needs. This can get hectic at times, but produces another challenge and layer of fun to the mischief other building really cool looking cities with your favorite secret symbols and shapes hidden in them ( just like the illuminati! 🙂 ).
It’s so cool to see your city built from square one and just as so many symbolic architectural layouts across miles of land have been identified from the sky / space, Cities XXL provides players with that same simulated satellite image feel to it and gives creative freedom to carve your symbols as cities form against nature’s majestic terrain.
Areas I’d like to see the game improve include the mods not always being all that reliable. Admittedly the modding community only got their hands on the title 4 days ago and have already accomplished a lot. Unfortunately though, the mods cause a bit of bugs and I preferred uninstalling and playing without them personally as opposed to using them after trying both.
I’d also like to see some of the hang ups of players who gave legitimate feedback addressed, including how it became difficult mid-game for some players to switch between zoning for large areas of pre-decided buildings / residences, or making individual units of buildings at a time. Both are needed, and switching between either shouldn’t be so convoluted. There are a few other issues like this despite this game having much more straightforward and enjoyable design than most city builders I’ve played thus far. With just a bit more improvement, it could be the perfect one.
Cities XXL is a great game. It could be a little more user friendly if things like snapping roads together had less friction and strict parameters, but once players get used to that the real challenge at hand is adapting to the changing needs of your city’s population. This results in lots of fun gameplay that is easily replayable through scenarios or completely random cities. You can also go into your own city from a first person viewpoint and get a sort of Google Street View type look of how things are in your glorious creation.
There are various scenes that play out to give the game a feel as if each citizen has their own story, motivations, and feeling, so when you scroll through quickly it’s fine. But if you stare too long – you can quickly see the facade lifted and this is something that could be addressed, but is likely a design / programming challenge in more ways than one with today’s current tech limitations. For what it’s worth, I did appreciate how residents had their own buildings as well as the small touches like sidewalk billboards and poster signs to give that HD Life feel to the city.
This brings us to another Another area in need of some improvement though is character design for the citizens, though this is sort of a low priority luxury request. Character models for your citizens look a bit under polished and silly but this is really all about the city building to which I have much pleasure with in Cities XXL. There were a lot of times when I just busted out laughing though because of citizens popping in and dancing on cars, sidewalks, and their porches with all of their neighbors as if a party on the street just broke out. I guess it is realistic to some extent considering I had over 50,000 population at the time and only a few extremely packed streets.
Cities XXL offers up a solid, well put together package that will run on decent or better hardware and gives one of the fastest ways of building cities ever seen in gaming a latest rendition. Players get the deluxe package here in which great visuals to show off your city can be captured, first person viewpoint walk-throughs of your city with somewhat lifelike citizenry, big time economic management as well as small time policy management come into play as your population explodes and demand / supply comes into play as your needs and haves change as a city.
There are areas where the game could improve, and by all means Cities XXL is not perfect. However, the speed at which you can rapidly amass a thriving city with various zones being populated from out-of-towners in no time at all, with very little explanation on how things work, is proof alone that it gets more right than it does wrong and earns its right as now being an industry mainstay for the city building genre. I would bet money we see more where this came from as the genre continues to thrive. Cities XXL is a solid entry worthy of your time.
Overall Score: 7.5 / 10
RGN Rating : Bronze Game
Developer / Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.