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City Life Edition 2008

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Monte Cristo
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation/ Editor/ Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Graphically, City Life: 2008 Edition is, in the world of simulation, superb. There are a generous amount of different building and player models displayed, and the 3D view when zoomed in is outstanding, to say the least. When compared with its closest competitor in the city simulation games out there, Sim City, I have to say that City Life: 2008 Edition looks far better. The mere fact that you can drop down to street level and take a stroll among your denizens is absolutely wonderful.

The audio elements of City Life are also done quite well, with the city sights and sounds coming through quite nicely. From a distance, everything seems tranquil and at peace, but at street level, you'll hear the city come alive with everything from ambient noises to the chants of the residents in protest. The music of City Life also has a familiar tone if you've played other simulators. It is both pleasing to the ears and relaxing enough to enjoy the game in peace, yet has a slightly upbeat tempo to keep your attention level high.


Much in the same way that Sim City plays, so does City Life: 2008 Edition. In fact, it is so similar, that parts of the interface are even laid out nearly identical to that of its competitor. However, City Life's interface tends to get a bit overcrowded, and isn't nearly as smooth as it needs to be to help keep the flow of the game moving. There are often times that overlays will appear if you're too slow to click on the building icons, for example, and those overlays (although they do come with helpful information) get in the way of the icons that you need to click on.

Again, in an almost uncanny way, City Life: 2008 Edition even mimics Sim City in the way you lay out your building blocks, roads, and other pieces of your cities. Starting with residential areas and a power plant, you'll have to build up your city to a grand metropolis by keeping the residents happy through everything from employment and healthcare, to education and entertainment. City Life does do a bit better job about placements of roads, however, as it allows for various angles, not just the standard 90- and 45-degrees. Because of this, sometimes it is a bit more difficult to place properties, which can be somewhat frustrating.

However, what really sets City Life: 2008 Edition apart from Sim City is that you not only have to build a functional and economically sound city, but your citizens also have to be at peace with each other. There are six types of residents in the City Life universe, and the way they function as a society depends heavily on your city-building abilities and the infrastructure that you lay out for them. Placing groups that are mortal enemies with each other in close proximity across your cityscape is a surefire way to cause unrest in the streets. But if you can manage to put hostilities aside by breaking up your city into demographical sections, you'll be on the road to being the best mayor in history.

When it comes to the build-ability of City Life, patience with the quickness of creating your city is key. If you start to build too fast, you'll certainly run out of money in no time, and taking out those pesky loans can put you in a financial crisis. But if you manage to slowly keep your denizens happy, you'll be in the black all the way to the bank. Another cool thing about City Life: 2008 Edition is that you'll start with one region on a map, but when your city starts to expand, you'll be able to purchase adjacent regions to keep your city growing.

City Life: 2008 Edition also comes with a very in-depth editor mode, which will allow you to totally customize your city-building experience by allowing for a total mod of the City Life game. (NOTE: I was unable to thoroughly test the editor as it is very deep, with access to scripting and other mod tools. The building viewer also crashed on my machine.) You can also choose to play City Life or City Life: 2008 Edition from the Menu, and have many regions to choose from as well. Finally, you'll also have the choice of either Free Play or Scenarios to get your juices flowing.


City-building is fairly easy to do, but difficult to master, and City Life: 2008 Edition is no exception to that rule. Taking things slowly at first will always yield the best results, because if you run out of money too quickly, you won't be able to make new purchases to satisfy the needs of your city's residents, and your economy will plummet.

City layout is also a very large key to victory. When you learn to leave areas untouched for future expansion (like adding hospitals, police and fire, education resources, and supermarkets), it will allow you to maximize your space and the residential and commercial areas around them will begin to flourish.

The biggest hurdle, however, with City Life: 2008 Edition's difficulty lies within the complex social networks living in your city. There are six types of residents, and each group has mortal enemies that will not get along and other groups that will enjoy each other's company. Regardless of the semantics, the key is to lay your city out by demographics to avoid confrontations between groups.

Game Mechanics:

Playing City Life: 2008 Edition is fairly straightforward, with all of the on-screen icons at your immediate disposal. The tutorials present for newcomers could certainly use some improvement, but after playing around a bit, the interface will soon become second nature. There were a few frustrations in the way of interface and controls, however. For starters, mousing over the icons brings up extra information about each property that you are about to build. While this is great initially, it get annoying when it happens accidentally because it will not allow you to click the icons below.

Another frustrating component of the game was that it didn't do a very nice job of automatically rebuilding terrain to accommodate roadways. There were many times when I couldn't build because the grade was too steep, and other times where it was too steep one way, but trial and error allowed the road to be built another way.

Those issues aside, City Life: 2008 Edition is actually a great game that may not have the building polish that Sim City has, but does go above and beyond with the added improvements of the social aspect of the game, which also gives it a bit more difficulty and adds a bit more fun. City Life: 2008 Edition is definitely worth picking up if you're into the simulation of city-building and want a somewhat new experience.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 2000/XP/Vista; 2.5GHz Processor; 256MB RAM; Direct X9.0c Compatible; 64MB 3D Graphics Card; 4.5GB Free Disk Space

Test System:

AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-52; 1.61GHz (Dual) Processors; 960MB RAM; NVIDIA GeForce Go 6150 Integrated Graphics

Microsoft Xbox 360 Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 Macintosh Agatha Christie: Peril at End House

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