Cities XL 2012 is, in some ways, a throwback to the past. A time when we all spent countless hours of our lives playing SimCity 2000. At its best, Cities XL 2012 brings back the memories of endless city creation over a decade ago. At its worst, it is no more than a minor upgrade on a game that has been iterated on once already.
Cities XL exemplifies the city-building genre in many ways. There are around 60 highly-detailed maps to choose to build your cities on, each of which has enough space to build a thriving metropolis. You will do so, not by placing individual buildings, but by zoning the land throughout your city as residential, commercial, or industrial areas, along with creating the various public and service buildings that are required for growth and prosperity.
The only real limit on the growth of a city is your ability to plan and manage the budget, welfare, and infrastructure of your citizens and city. And it will take quite a bit of skill to successfully navigate the pitfalls of running an economy, especially as you create more cities. Unfortunately, you will have to create multiple cities in order to gain access to the more advanced buildings and important resources, whether you want to do so or not. For some reason, Cities XL requires a set amount of intercity trade to take place before a city is considered worthy of these advances, and no one area of the world contains all the resources needed to run a modern, high-level economy.
The graphics in Cities XL are fairly high-quality, and your cities will look great whether you are zoomed out as far as possible or watching your citizens walk down main street from eye level. The buildings are varied and look great.
There is just one, tiny, problem with Cities XL 2012. It is essentially the same game as Cities XL 2011…which was essentially the same game as Cities XL. The only real difference is that there are a number of new buildings and maps available this time around. It is worth noting that owners of Cities XL 2011 can pay half price for the upgrade, though. In the end, Cities XL 2012 is the best city-building game available right now, but it just doesn’t add enough to be worth a purchase for owners of the previous entries in the series.
Pros: Interesting city-building, polished engine
Cons: Basically version 3 of the same game