Posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 at 8:59 PM by Guest
Swiftly after successfully mastering Sim City 4, my city building desires became apparent once more. Following numerous hours of gameplay, I began searching for an alternative to Sim City 4. Owing to an advertisment on Steam, I discovered Cities XL 2012. It immediately appealed to me owing to it being a more recent release as opposed to Sim City 4. With a new Sim City being released, will Cities XL ensure that your hunger for sculpting and conjuring cities is appeased?
Upon commencing Cities XL 2012, you are given the opportunity to delve into the tutorial. I recommended playing the tutorial if you are new to the series or the city-building genre itself. The tutorial covers some basic tools that the player will need to utilise to construct their city. It explains how to place roads and zone lots throughout your city. You are given the opportunity to select an area within a region to commence building your city. These regions are displayed on a globe that offers an extensive array of maps. You can filter these maps by their difficulty, region and the resources available. This menu also keeps a list of all your cities allowing you to swap cities as you please. It also tracks the achievements you earn whilst your city grows.
Cities XL 2012 allows you to construct an array of buildings within your city. These buildings are divided into categories. The housing category must be utilised within your city to grant workers a home. The individuals that reside in your city comprise of four categories. These residential categories are unskilled and skilled workers, executives and elites. Each category will possess their own wishes and demands for the city. Unskilled workers are relatively satisfied with minimal services and leisure as opposed to elites who will demand more from your city. As your city expands, you gain access to medium and high density lots.
As individuals flock your city seeking vast opportunities and housing, they will also be seeking employment. A large amount of the population will proceed to work in the industrial field. The industrial category is divided into categories including the food industry, heavy industry, manufacturing industry, high tech industry and offices. Each industrial category will employ individuals from different residential backgrounds. For example, the heavy industry employs primarily unskilled workers. Once again, as the city’s growth increases, higher density lots will become available to you.
Another category of lots you have access to within the game is commerce. This includes retail buildings, hotels and leisure facilities. The quality and quantity of the commerce buildings within your city can have a negative or positive impact on the population’s overall satisfaction. The commerce buildings also generate numerous jobs for individuals living within your city.
Utilities play a fundamentally important role regarding the progression of your city. People may demand access to certain utilities such as electricity and water. They may become unhappy if the cost of utilities becomes extortionate. City services are crucial in keeping the population of your city satisfied. As the residential categories expand within your city, so will their demands. Executives and elites demand more inclusion of city services such as schools and police stations. Cities XL 2012 allows you to decorate your city to an extent. It allows you to place areas such as plazas and include landmarks within your city. This not only improves the appearance of your city but your population’s satisfaction too.
The transportation panel grants you access to an array of tools that make commuting and traversing your city easy for your inhabitants. As the growth of your city increases, the amount of road types will increase. Each road type possesses a unique price and maximum capacity of commuters.
The budget panel is an important tool when attempting to successfully run a city. The general tab highlights the overall income and expenses of the city. The taxes panel allows you to raise and lower the taxes throughout the city. Always keep in mind that this will also have an impending impact upon your population. The third panel provides a breakdown of the most profitable and expensive resources within the city. The loans section grants you access to loans that help you combat debt or improve your city in someway.
Satisfaction is a crucial concept within this title. The population panel provides a breakdown of statistics regarding the circumstances of your inhabitants within the city. It highlights numerous statistics such as the home filling rate, the quantity of jobs available and the amount of citizens that reside within your city. It also highlights unemployment which allows you to act and place suitable career lots for various residential categories. There is a panel that displays the citizens’ satisfaction regarding their expenses and how much money they earn from their career. There is also a panel that demonstrates how happy the citizens are regarding the environment and services available within the city. The resource panel provides an intricate look at the usage of freight and transportation. This grants you the opportunity to improve or remove resources where you see fit. The public transport panel highlights the efficiency of public transport such as taking the bus. This allows you to determine if inclusion of more buses is necessary for your city.
The satisfaction panels located in the top right hand corner allow you to hover over a category to reveal their satisfaction levels. These are presented with a percentage and is a swift method of discovering the satisfaction present within your city. If you click an individual category, it grants you access to an intricate breakdown of what that category is pleased with, what they demand and anything they are unhappy about.
The side panel located on the right hand side grants you access to even more panels displaying satisfaction. It’s becoming abundantly clear that satisfaction is what allows your city to grow and progress. The population tab locates the four categories individually and pinpoints where they reside within your city. The satisfaction tab highlights the population’s satisfaction with the quality and quantity of services within the city such as schools and hospitals. The economy tab highlights jobs and vacant jobs within the city. Noise and air pollution are exposed in the environment tab. The resources tab locates areas within your city that resources such as oil and water can be retrieved. The transportation tab measures traffic satisfaction within your city and highlights the bus/metro lines utilised.
I approached this game with an open mind, trying extremely hard not to compare it to Sim City 4. It is an extremely enjoyable title which will indeed fill the void for city builders everywhere awaiting the release of Sim City in 2013. The title is extremely in-depth with the statistics and criteria a player may have to meet to keep people happy. Overall, it is an accessible game for someone who may not be familiar with a city-building game. With the range of difficulties available, it provides a challenge for a range of individuals. Cities XL 2012 is no Sim City by any means, but that being said, why would anyone want that? It’s a fresh spin to the city-building genre and a title I think everyone should at least try.
Thanks for reading,
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