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on November 19, 2011
I successfully downloaded the game and it runs just fine on my Windows 7 machine. No issues at all with installation or with gameplay, it has never crashed.

Regarding the game itself, I am a diehard city builder and have played SimCity 4 for years. If you compare this game to SimCity 4 you will be happy with some things and not so happy with others. I have to be objective and rate the game on its own merits, and in doing so give it 4 stars.

The Good: The ability to change your point of view to any angle from a near satellite view all the way down to street level is really cool. You can literally "drive" through the cityscape that you create, and get a very unique perspective on what works and what doesn't in your city design. I also like the trading system where you can sell your excess production of one item to another city or to the all-encompassing "Omnicorp" and also buy items you are lacking. This trading allows for financial success early on when your city is just getting started and you need the extra cash. I also like the varitey of industry options provided (heavy industry, manufacturing, high tech, standard offices differentiated from commercial shops and all in varying density levels). Citybuilder fans will also love the ability to set your bus routes to service the areas where the most riders can be found, and take them directly to their jobs. Cities XL 2012 also gives players an option to mod the game and build their own custom content. I haven't done that myself yet, so can't say much about its functionality, however, I'm glad to see it's there. The globe view with various city locations you can choose from at startup is neat too. A nice feature.

The Bad: There isn't much variety in the amenities that you can place. The "Leisure" services that you are allowed are not very colorful or interesting. I like to build parks and gardens full of trees and flowers, and you can't really do that here. All building lots are all the same size until you get to the higher densities, and that makes for things looking too uniform and a bit bland. There is also not many options for transit that really make citybuilder games interesting. I would very much like to see dedicated heavy rail for freight and passenger transport, and more options for mass transit stations and services. Ferry transport over water would be a great option too.

The OK: The lack of a grid system allows you to get really creative with road and building placement, and the curved roads and bridges are really neat. However, a little more structure in placing these things would be welcome. I would also like more ability to modify the terrain I'm building on, so if I want to dig out a flat spot suitable for a port, then I have the option to do it. The characters in the game are interesting but the cartoonish apperance wears off a bit and I wouldn't mind seeing a more realisitic appearance. I would also like to see some value placed on real-estate location so if a place has a million dollar view then the characters living there appreciate it.

Overall this is a good game, and you can spend hours building cities if you want too. In many ways it's a considerable improvement over what is available in the city building genre now. But players who are used to that will find some key things missing from Cities XL 2012 that they've come to expect from SimCity. Should the owners of the SimCity franchise ever release a modern version (I'm looking at you EA / Maxis! Do it!) then Cities XL would need to really evolve to stay relevant. However, I think they could do it and keep the interest of players out there.
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on February 20, 2012
As a life-long fan of the sim city series, I was pretty excited to give Cities XL2012 a shot. The first few hours are pretty entertaining, but the game doesn't seem to hold my attention after that. I don't even mind the lack of real objectives or concrete goals, but the little annoyances keep adding up and over time make the game more trouble than it's worth.

This game really struggled on my older machine at population 100k, but I've recently started playing on my newer custom built (i7 2600k, 8 GB Ram, m7 SSD, GTX 570) and even after passing 1 million citizens it runs fine.

Overall the graphics are pretty superb. There are some nicely done little details here and there that catch you by surprise. Once your city gets large though, you'll see the same building models repeated quite a lot.

I appreciate the grid building tools that allow you to easily lay out rectangular or customizable patterns quickly. That said, it's really annoying that switching between density levels results in varied grid sizes. As a result, it's tough to place zones of varying density close to each other without seriously screwing up your road alignment. I would also like to be able to switch to default road type that the zoning tools use.

Road construction is nice overall, connecting somewhat complicated curvy roads is painless. That said, sometimes things that seem like they should work, simply don't. "Fast lanes" (i.e., interstates) are also painful to use. In particular, it's annoying that you cannot add an exit to an existing interstate. You have to delete the entire road, build the exit, then re-build the road around it. Traffic patterns around complicated interstate intersections also seem to get screwed up. On the flip side, bus and subway construction is much more intuitive.

Utilities & Resources
This is one of the low points for me. Most of the maps only have a small subset of the resources you need and even the ones they have are not sufficient for large cities. I have a city of over 1 million and I think I have 10 or 12 of the largest power plants. Perhaps it's time for a nuclear option? Also, there's a lot of ambiguity here. When trying to fulfill my city's waste needs, it's unclear to me how to balance junkyards vs landfills. I have no idea how many power plants I need to build to fulfill an energy deficit of 4. Oftentimes you end up having to trade. This means you either have to build other cities, probably dedicated to the resources you need, or you can trade with omnicorp for absurd amounts of money.

Services (fire, health, safety)
I really like how this is done. Each category has building of various capacity, and it shows you the reach of a given building before you actually construct it. It's simple, it's effective. Nicely done.

Services (education, leisure, hotels)
Now for the bad side of services. Education is close to the above group, but there's some confusion. You have access to schools for various ages. Do I really need to provide 4 different levels of school coverage to every residential area? I've done lots of testing and it's still unclear to me. Leisure is even worse. Why do I have to build bowling alleys and paintball places? Shouldn't that be done for me in commercial zones? The amount of time and effort it takes to fulfill people's need for leisure is extremely annoying and doesn't add any fun. I would be onboard with some things (e.g., museums, theme parks, etc...) but the granularity here is crazy. Likewise for hotels. Really? I have to build motels myself, to prevent commercial offices from failing? Shouldn't these also be done automagically in commercial zones?

Overall I really wanted to love this game but it comes up short. I do think this game, and its engine, has a lot of promise. Hopefully another version arrives which fixes many of these issues, but in the meantime I'll keep my fingers crossed for Sim City 5.
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on November 11, 2012
I've never heard of this game before I purchased it. I was looking for SimCity and after seeing that the latest version is not officially compatible with Win7 this game was recommended in the forums as an alternative. Generally speaking, if you like the city building aspect of SimCity you'll likely enjoy this title. If you like the scenarios like alien invasions and the tongue-in-cheek in game text and dialog, I think you'll find this game falls short. I've since picked up a copy of SimCity 4 and after playing them both on the same computer I find that I prefer this game. The world is larger, the game play is smoother and the build tools are more fun to use. The developer of this game also seem to be more customer centric with is always a big plus.
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on December 6, 2013
kind of fun
decent graphics
decent gamplay
kind of challenging
not as full featured as SimCity (but not as limited on space as the new SimCity).
road construction can be a pain
kind of hard to tell what is going on, like what to fix and when, notifications could be better.
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on February 18, 2012
I enjoy city planning simulations. I've been playing them since the 1990's. This program is very realistic and lots of fun. My only real complaint is the fact that the game crashes regularly when the city reaches about 150,000 inhabitants. I also have a Core i7 Dell with 8 gigs of RAM and an NVidia Graphics card with 2 gigs of RAM. This program just eats everything my computer owns hardware-wise and runs the battery down in 1 hour or less. I wonder how people with a more moderate system fare. I still prefer my old Sim City over this.
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on January 17, 2013
Cities XL 2012 was quite enjoyable, at first. It is certainly more difficult to play than SimCity4, but has good graphics and is more flexible...that is until your city gets large. As soon as you try to add highways, it becomes an absolute pain in the rear. There is a mod to make it better, but it feels like they just dropped the ball on this one. Wait for SimCity (2013). It should be great.
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on November 17, 2012
I was looking for an alternative to the SimCity Game. This isn't quite that, but it's a refreshing diversion. It's easier to play for certain, at least in the beginning. The tutorials are a lot of fun and well planned. The ability to zoom in is amazing. The only things I fins leass than pleasant are the way farms get constructed and the commerce model. I may just need to horse around with the details a little more. Fortunately, it helps to replay the tutorials, which are easy to get to and very detailed. All in all, I like it a lot. I may even go for the expansion.
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on December 20, 2011
So far, I have not experienced the unpleasant issues some other people have. I hope that continues.

The game is very enjoyable and the immense size of the game is awesome. Do note that the game does not have any auto updates, which i found unusual, so be sure to sign-up for the email notices; that is the only way to know about updates released.

Another recommendation; Anno 2070.

I love it too; awesome game play on both games.
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VINE VOICEon March 8, 2012
I had high hopes when Focus Home Entertainment announced CXL '12 but then quickly got mad and depressed because it was more of a expansion. It was depressing as Simcity Societies left a bad taste in my mouth and CXL '09 was a great attempt. CXL '11 added subways, elevated rails and buses along with some modest changes. The puzzling fact about CXL '11 was that it was 90% the same as Cities XL '09 all the way down to the bugs. CXL '09 was buggy but it was hit or miss. Some people reported that they were getting error messages, wrong serial numbers, and constant crashing. Luckily I didn't encounter any of the above mentioned bugs and crashes. I'm a realism nut and I love city building games. I played the very first Simcity all the way to Simcity Societies. I've also played City Life (this was how I knew Monte Cristo who also developed Cities XL '09) Monte Cristo had grand plans for CXL but unfortunately they made a very bad bet on online city play. I will give Monte Cristo props for trying something new and from what they were promising, it looked like CXL would be the great successor of the SimCity Franchise. Monte Cristo was good at making announcements as well as answering emails quickly. Sadly, Monte Cristo was not a EA company and by far, didn't have EA's funds. MC went bankrupt and Focus Home Entertainment took over.

One of the bugs that drove me insane was how weird traffic moved. In a 2 lane avenue (or higher), cars in the left lane would make a right and cars in the right lane would make a left. Very unnatural. Since I'm a realism nut, this drove me insane. The traffic lights were static and had no animation. The cities lacked the hustle and bustle of the streets we are normally accustomed to in real life. I would of loved to be able to create parking lots and see animation that showed cars parking the street. All the bugs and realism bugs (traffic) mentioned above, carried over in CXL '12.

The graphics really carry this game. If the graphics were not good, this would easily be a 1 star game in my mind. What I loved about the CXL series was it's menus which to me were not confusing, easy to use, and the same goes for the charts. The curved roads made cities very realistic and the fact that you can rotate the zones according to the curvature of the road. I loved how bus stops didn't take up tiles (aka valuable real estate) like in Simcity). I was so in love with making the bus and subway lines. You could set different tax rates for the different zones and business types. You really had to plan when creating a city in CXL. You could go bankrupt very easily. Simcity was more of plop and wait plop and wait. Making specialized cities was a joy but I do miss how I can connect cities in Simcity. Also, the expressway tiles stink but I do like how you can elevate roads (which can be frustrating as is terraforming).

Cities XL 2012 only adds several maps to choose from, 300 buildings, and modding for the first time. What was unbelievable was the absolute devoid of information by Focus for the whole life of this franchise. Trying to get information was worse than pulling teeth. When they did make announcements it was very brief. When I found a lot of bugs, I emailed Focus as well as post them on their forums and not surprising, I got no answer. There was a patch but most bugs still persisted.

Basically, if you want a review on CXL '12, please see my review on CXL '11. If you have CXL '11 and like modding, then the $14 ($10 now as I type) is a good deal. If you like realism, you will be as frustrated as I am. Every year a CXL comes out and it seems like it's almost the same thing and what to be is the most obnoxious thing about this, the bugs, crashes, and complaints carry over. Please be advised, dual-core processors are not optimized for CXL '12 (neither was '11).

City Building fans will be so happy though. I just heard yesterday, Sim City IS COMING BACK in 2013. Seems like the Maxis developers (some from the past Simcity's) are working on a reboot of Simcity and is expected to be ready in 2013. Yeah, I was hoping since it was announced that it was going to be released soon. They were accepting preorders already but much to my dismay, I saw, "Coming in 2013). I hope the Maxi developers looked at CXL and saw what worked and what failed. The graphics look great and it looks promising. I have high hopes, but then again, when I saw the announcement for Cities XL in 2009, I was ecstatic. After a while, I it started to get stale. Then CXL '11 made me feel like I was tricked. I enjoyed it and felt, hey, the next one could finally be THE ONE. CXL '12 made me angry and I rarely play it anymore. The only reason I bought it even though on the CXL forums, I announced that I was no longer buying any CXL games until they stop rehashing it (CXL '11 and '12) was because I had enough Amazon points to not even pay a dime and my points were just sitting there. Sadly, CXL '12 is more of the same from the past CXL's. Focus rarely will email you back and if they do, it's days later.

*See my CXL '11 review for full coverage of this game*
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on September 3, 2012
Other than a pretty obnoxious memory leak that forces you to restart the game every hour or so, this is a fairly enjoyable game for fans of management and building sims. There is an active modding community that has added a lot to the game to fix bugs and make up for a few balance problems in the game. Looking into mods is highly recommended if you want to get the most out of the game. Until the next Sim City comes out, it's the next best thing.
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