GREAT CITY BUILDING AND MANAGEMENT GAME
A summary is located at the end of this review, if you don't want to read everything.
GAMEPLAY, CONTENT & UI
- The game features rather powerful design tools for placing roads and buildings, but they can be picky to work with, so it will take some time to get used to. This applies to all designing and building tools!
- There are customization options for roads, bridges and housing. For roads and bridges, you get the option to convert them to one way roads. For each type of housing (industrial, residential, offices, shops and so forth), you can choose different levels of density (from small houses to skyscrapers). You are in control of what type of buildings you want, so you can have skyscrapers in the center of your city and small houses in suburban areas.
- You have the option of doing regular square housing areas, do "free-zoning" and place the houses (almost) the way you desire, do a straight line with houses on each side of a small road or place single units.
- You must manage an economy and various demands for the city.
Economy: you need to keep your city from going bankrupt. You can export things you have enough of to either Omnicorp (AI controlled) or other cities that you've built and you can use taxes, build more factories, offices etc. to raise the city's income.
Supply & demand: You have a list of various things that the city needs and you simply have to produce more or import the item in question if the demand is higher than the supply.
- Basic things that are needed, like in other city building games, are industries, shops, water, electricty and various city services such as police and education. In Cities XL Platinum, you also have to either produce or import food, there is a demand for offices, manufacturing factories, high tech industry, hotels and so on. In other words, you have a lot to manage in Cities XL Platinum.
- The trade system is a bit buggy since you can "steal" money from Omnicorp, which pretty much neglects the economy management aspect of the game for a while. When your city grows, you won't be able to rely on stealing money from Omnicorp. Your city will require more money and resources to function so the economy asapect of the game "makes a return" later on.
- You can unlock all buildings right off the bat by changing settings in the game menu.
- You get 60 gigantic maps. They are so big that you can create different districs in your city so you can place your filthy factories in a secluded area and your pretty financial and housing areas in a pollution free zones.
- Each map has special properties, so one map might be better suited for food production while other maps are better for tourism.
- Over 1000 different buildings are included. This adds a great amount of variety to your cities and all of this is comes with the base game.
- There are no tooltips on how to use the zoning tools, how to build roads, how to manage x, how to do y. The game has tutorial missions/cities but everyone doesn't like playing tutorial missions. Some people like to jump into the game and learn how to play with the help of tooltips. I also had to google several things, such as keyboard shortcuts.
VISUALS & GAME ENGINE
Since this is a city building game, visuals aren't top priority since you'll be spending most of your time zoomed out and expanding your city.
- The game has good visuals overall but they aren't anything special.
- The textures are decent and look good from distance but if you zoom in all the way, you'll notice that they aren't of high resolution.
- Lightning is also pretty decent and has some basic shadows.
- The game engine is badly optimized as it will start lagging once your city becomes larger. With a population of around 220 000 people, the game lags a little on my GTX 780Ti, 12GB of RAM and i7.
GAMEPLAY, CONTENT & UI - SCORE: 7,6
VISUALS & GAME ENGINE - SCORE: 5,2
+ Powerful design tools.
+ Loads of different building models, bridges, etc.
+ Customization options for roads and housing areas.
+ Slightly more in-depth supply & demand management than Sim City.
+/- One bug allows your city to get large amounts of money by "stealing" from Omnicorp.
+/- Tutorial missions are available so you can learn how to play the game.
+/- You may unlock all buildings from the start by changing settings in the game menu.
- The game has quite a bit of bugs.
- Very poor optimization; can even lag on high end computers.
- No tooltips, so learning how to play can take a bit of time.
WORTH BUYING AT FULL PRICE? If you're really into city builders/management games and have a powerful computer, yes. If not, then no.