Whatever Cities XL was supposed to bring to the table, I fail to see it
Starting with a disappointing tutorial, the game never picks up. Tutorial teaches you practically anything, and if you played this kind of city-building game before, you can skip it. Instead of teaching you something you can later use in the game, it bores you with completely irrelevant information. For instance, you won't be told how to decrease productivity, which is something I still don't know how to do, and it's apparently a problem in the city. There are no hints, tips, after a quick tutorial you're pretty much left to your own devices.
The gameplay is equally unimpressive. You end up building residential zones and various working zones, whether it's offices or farms or heavy industry. Obviously -no surprise here- both types of zones must be in great relationship. The mechanism of how society works in those games has been repeated so many times, that it's getting stale. To unlock new buildings or zones, you need to increase the number of inhabitants. Easy. And boring. After two-three hours of playing you'll see that nothing exciting is going to happen: all you do is build houses and then job spaces. You unlock the new areas but that's not a thrill.
The graphics is another thing: generic and plain, absolutely no stunner.
And then there are occasional bugs, like when the offices won't build, even though the unemployment is high and there is every reason for the area to develop.
Being generic is probably the worst part of the game: it's not thrilling, not exciting, and far from being addicting.