If this is the type of game you'd enjoy, CIM 2 is truly mesmerizing. At the same time, there are many things that stop this game from being as great as it could have been. As you can see I've put many hours into it, so I thought it deserved a review. This review is designed for people who are already sold on the concept of running a virtual transit agency and are more interested in an opinion how it's been executed in this game.
In my opinion, here are the pro's and con's of CIM 2 compared to CIM 1.
1)Way bigger cities than CIM 1. One map can provide many hours of gameplay.
2)Easy to make maps that are true to real life cities with the "maps4cim" fan tool. Recreating a real city is a huge endeavor but some really brilliant maps have been created with it.
3)Although the timetables are more fiddly than I'd like them to be, they're still an improvement over CIM 1. Instead of messing with the timetables I just set the same service frequency 24/7. For example, once an hour. In CIM 1, it was much more painful to make sure your vehicles stay spaced out, and I would avoid modifying my lines as long as possible to avoid the pain of dispatching my vehicles evenly.
4)No lag even on large cities. In CIM1, performance bogs down with a medium to large network, which is much smaller than the largest networks you can build with no problems in CIM2.
5)You can expand the city yourself if you find you're flush with cash and need a new project.
1)Can't color code metro lines! In CIM 1, the Line statistics Plus mod allows you to individually color lines which is awesome for metros. Anyone with an unusual attraction to metro systems knows that one of the most interesting things about a metro system is analyzing how all the colored lines meet up for transfers on the map.
2)Ticket pricing is annoying and adds no value to the gameplay experience. There are 5 transit types, 6 with monorails, and each transit type has 7 types of tickets. So you have to fiddle with up to 42 different ticket prices on a regular basis. What cims consider a reasonable fare for each ticket changes frequently.
3)The art direction in CIM2 is much lower quality than in CIM1. The CIM2 home and loading screens are ugly and use garish colors while the screens in CIM1 are very pleasing and interesting. Buildings and colors are nicer looking in CIM 1. The music in CIM 2 is not as good; I turned the music off and instead downloaded the SimCity 2013 soundtrack to listen to while playing. The UI for CIM1 is much easier to use, and CIM2 text is often difficult to read. Only the vehicles in CIM2 get proper artistic love.
4)The more complex your network gets, the weirder your cims choose their paths. I get around this by avoiding double
service in areas beyond connecting points and using the ruleset editor to make sure all vehicles have 100% passenger attractiveness.
5)Random crashes and no autosave. I've had a few instances where I played for 5 hours straight and forget to ever save, then the game crashes. Then I ragequit and don't play for several weeks.
1)Metro lines are easier to place than CIM 1 once you get the hang of it. You can make bendy tracks and underground stations don't take up any space above ground. In CIM 1 an above ground building may need to be destroyed to build a station entrance. The tradeoff here is that train stations are less visually pleasing than they were in CIM 1. Instead of watching passengers take the stairs down to the platforms, they get in a magical teleporter from the steet to the platform.
2)expanding on the above, the ease of placement is almost too easy in CIM2. There's no challenge at all in building metro lines since you have variable height placement and the street grid above has no impact on placement. In CIM1, you're limited to only 3 levels of track at intersections as well as the restrictions of the buildings and streets above ground. CIM2 placement is very easy and CIM1 is challenging, though frustrating at times. I think the best way to solve this would be to add geology/geography as a bigger placement factor. For example, make it more expensive to tunnel through bedrock than softer soil, and more expensive to tunnel under buildings than under roads or empty space. Also, make above ground tracks cheaper than underground so there's an incentive to choose wisely between the two. This is certainly out of scope for CIM 2 but one can dream for CIM 3 :)
If you're more interested in an arcade-style game that's visually pleasing, go with CIM 1. If you're looking for a game with greater simulation depth, more network flexibility, and you're not terribly turned off by bad art, choose CIM 2. Both games are great in their own right. I wouldn't recommend either game to anyone, and which game is better depends on the individual's preferences more than one game being any "better" than the other. If you think you'll probably like both games, play CIM1 till you get bored, then play CIM2.