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Cities XL 2011

Score: 88%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Monte Cristo
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation/ Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

A few months ago, I previewed Cities XL 2011. At that time, I recommended that you keep an eye out because you're going to want to play it. Since then, they've only made it better!

I can't believe the level of detail in the graphics. The city buildings are so detailed that you can zoom in close enough to be on a doorstep. You can also zoom so far out that you can see the entire world without the system having a single hiccup, even with my video card that is less than the minimum system requirements! Someone really put some time into each and every building. The most impressive feature to me is the water. Sometimes, I just paused the game and zoomed into the waterfront. The areas with cliffs were my favorite; the water just breaks on the cliffs perfectly. You feel like you're watching a real waterfront with the waves breaking, complete with the mist coming up off of the water. It is simply amazing!

As a general rule, the music isn't very important in city building games. Cities XL 2011 is no different. The music is upbeat and a bit fast, but it keeps you playing. There's really no reason to keep it on though, as there aren't any sound effects that you need to hear. Honestly, I prefer it that way because you can play the game while listening to whatever you want.


Cities XL 2011 is a typical city building game, but with an entire world that you can colonize and trade between cities. When you start the game, you're given the option of quite a few terrains to play on, 47 of them to be precise. Each type of terrain has its own benefits and drawbacks. There are 4 attributes that a terrain will possess: Oil, Fertile Areas, Water, and Holidays. Each terrain has 4 stars total, spread out over these attributes. You can tell how difficult a specific terrain is by looking at the difficulty. Make sure to know what you're getting into and don't choose something just because that's where you'd want to live if you had the money as it might be more difficult than you bargained for. To create your city, you simply have to choose the type of terrain that you want and click "Create your City." It's that simple to get started. You can also (and you definitely should!) create multiple cities, so try out as many terrains as you want!

Once you create your city, you'll need to build roads, housing, shopping, industry, leisure and much more. The game does a very good job of telling you what you need to do to help you. Start with the tutorial to learn a bit about what you need to build to get you started. After that, you simply need to watch the alerts and statistics. The alerts will tell you what you need to fix immediately, but if you watch the statistics and buildings, you can fix those things before they get out of hand. Once you've got things going smoothly, you'll probably want to speed things up a bit. 1x is the default speed, but you can also choose to play at 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x. Personally, I found that I played at 5x a lot of the time and just slowed it down to 1x when I needed to fix things.

Be careful with your money and make sure to watch the city income. You can recover it pretty quickly if you don't let your balance get too negative by deleting expensive buildings like police stations, but if you let it go a long time in the hopes that it will magically recover itself, well, just like the real economy, you'll just get more in debt. Luckily, you can still solve it by bulldozing down those expensive buildings and letting the game run for a while to recover the money. Once you get a few cities up and running, you can trade between them. I'd recommend keeping cities of different resources so that you can use them all to support each other. There really is no end or winning to Cities XL 2011. It's just a matter of expanding your empire eternally.


Cities XL 2011 is only as hard as you make it. Since the entire game is all about how you build things, the better you plan, the smoother things will run. If you want an easier game, stick to only building cities on terrain that has a 20% difficulty rating. If you play these on 1x, you'll be just fine. If you start going broke, just bulldoze down an expensive building or two until you're in the green again. For those who want a more difficult game, there are quite a few terrains that have a difficulty of 70%, 80% or even 100%! These terrains will take a lot more careful planning and continual editing.

In my preview, the one thing that I mentioned that was difficult were the road systems. Either I got better at making them work or they improved the roads. The only thing that I still had difficulty with was deleting a road and putting it back. For some reason, when I would delete a road, especially the farm roads, I "didn't have room" to rebuild them exactly where they were. Usually though, I'd just move the road a bit and it would fix it. You can also now create curved roads and really make a road just about anywhere that you want to!

Game Mechanics:

Cities XL 2011 is a very easy game to get the hang of playing. You can control everything with simply clicks of the mouse or a roll of the mouse wheel. If you're playing on a laptop, I highly recommend that you get an external mouse. You can control everything by just using the keyboard, but it is much easier with the mouse.

Everything you'll need to know about your city is displayed on the city map. You can control which view you're looking at by toggling them on or off using the icons on the right side of the screen. For building, everything you need is on the left side of the screen. Simply click on the icon of what you want to build and click on the map where you want it to go. You will need to take the terrain into account though. Things like roads can only be built at a certain angles. If the angle is too great, you're not allowed to build the road there.

Cities XL 2011 is probably the most complete city building game that I've ever played. Really, it should be called a cities building game since you are working with more than one city at a time. If you're into the genre, I highly recommend that you check out Cities XL 2011 today!

-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

Minimum System Requirements:

OS : Windows XP SP3 / VISTA SP1 / 7, CPU: Intel Core 2 - 2.5GHz or equivalent AMD, RAM: 1GB (XP) / 1,5GB (Vista), Video Card: 512 MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 3850, HDD: 8 GB

Test System:

OS: Windows XP SP3, CPU: Centrino T8300 (2.4 GHz), RAM: 3GB, Video Card: 128MB nVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M, HDD: 80 GB

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