Cities XXL is an expansion of sorts that attempts to masquerade as a full game. There are a number of touted differences that developer Focus Home Interactive proceeds to list as reasons to purchase this “new” version of the relatively well received Cities XL Platinum, none of them serve to justify the full cost of this re-release. As an avid player of the original Cities XL I can say that nothing added to this release is worth your time. In fact, you’re better off just purchasing the original and calling it a day. What’s even more startling is the fact that Cities XXL is riddled with performance issues, all made worse by the presence of a number of glitches. In spite of the potential laid out by its blank canvas of city-creating freedom, you’re much better off playing something else for your mayoral fix.
It’s relatively simple to get your start in Cities XXL. Its tutorial system is well thought out and makes it easy for new players to adjust to their role as mayor. Once you’ve gotten used to the way the game is controlled it’s easy to build sprawling metropolises, the challenge lies in expanding and maintaining the overall moral of your citizens. This is no easy task, and though it remains fun, the approach taken by Cities XXL feels dated. Sure you don’t have to deal with the always online, small-minded approach taken with the release of the latest SimCity, but when Cities: Skylines exists I can’t see any justifiable reason to play XXL.
"The bottom line is this: Cities XXL just isn’t worth your time. It’s a sandbox style city simulation that presents no objectives aside from growth."
For better or for worse there’s really nothing new to see here. In fact, everything presented in Cities XXL is all stuff we’ve previously seen before. People that played Cities XL Platinum will find the exact same UI, many of the same buildings, and economy management fundamentals that made the first one such a hit. What is new is the inclusion of horrid performance issues and numerous glitches. I ran into everything from basic crashes to issues with trading data between cities. In addition I found that whenever my population exceeded a certain amount of people I ran into issues with slowdown resulting in nearly unplayable single-digit frame rates.
The bottom line is this: Cities XXL just isn’t worth your time. It’s a sandbox style city simulation that presents no objectives aside from growth. It doesn’t improve, nor does it innovate upon the genre, or even it’s predecessor for that matter. When there are other titles that truly seize the very essence laid out by the original SimCity why waste time with this? Either re-install SimCity 4, play Cities XL Platinum, or go check out the newly released Cities: Skylines. Whatever you do avoid this, even if it’s on sale.
Review by: Palmer Sturman | Reviewed on: PC