This review summary is not included in the review price. If you want the summary, please pay $7 a month to commanderkai.
1) Diversity: The buildings, designs, and others all add to the enjoyment of the game. Even the sizes of the lots are the same, the buildings they create are varied enough to make it look like a suburb, or a city street you might see anywhere. Compared to Citylife, I love it. They're all nicely designed, and I do enjoy the mixture of European and American building styles.
2) Resource Management: Every building creates and uses some sort of resource. Let me explain. Let's say you plot some low wealth housing. These housing produce blue collar workers, and demand retail and services. (and they look like decent blue collar neighborhoods, not city slums) which your heavy industry use to produce heavy industry goods. These heavy industry goods are then demanded by manufacturing, or you can sell it to the outside world. I think this was neatly and smartly designed. Every industry has a purpose; every resource has one as well. Sure this means you're creating a city-state, but who cares? It's pretty cool.
3) Graphics: Everything is very beautifully designed and rendered. The buildings are beautiful, the environment is very well drawn and designed. I give kudos to the development team for their work
Sadly, after a good start, and something that you might actually think is a great, complete game, you'll begin to see how much flash and bright lights this is, while lacking so much in the actual game department. And…there's that other matter called Planet Offer. I will state clearly I play this game because I want to play in a Single Player mode. You would think that would be reasonable. You'd be wrong, because of how much Monte Cristo wants to remind you how incomplete this game is. And so the list of Cons begin…
1) Trade Management: In Single Player, there's only one person you can trade your resources with, and by trade, I mean "Be royally screwed over by". That man, or organization…is OmniCorp. Yes, the same people in Robocop. And yes, they still like screwing the little guy over. And no, Robocop won't destroy Omnicorp for the ending. Basically, for every one resource you sell, you get 25 "cash tokens", but for every one resource you buy…you lose 100 "cash tokens". Now, you might think that's pretty stupid, but WAIT, there is more. If you sell in bulk, let's say 10 resource tokens (a token, before I forget, is basically just a grouping of resources that makes an amount that nobody knows), you sell for 23 "cash tokens". But if you want to buy ten resources…you buy for 103 cash tokens. Because buying bulk costs more. Man I need to stop going to Costco. Basically, specialized cities are impossible. You can't make a profitable oil town because the resources you'll need to make up for the loss will not give you any real profit. That's where resource management fails.
2) Strange costs for buildings: Did you know your local bowling alley costs your respective city thousands of dollars? Or that your nearby basketball court is as expensive to run as your local clinic or police station? You'd probably think I'm crazy, but that's CitiesXL Economics for you. Entertainment buildings that provide the "Leisure" resource to your citizenry costs you money. Loads, and loads of money. A bowling alley is completely subsided by the government, as in you. Also, do you think having oil deposits will strike you rich? You're wrong, because oil wells cost you money too. And not enough to sell profitably with the current trading system.
3) Ambient Sounds: Barely Any. You want to hear cars honking, or children playing, or maybe hear the sounds a regular city makes? Don't expect it. It's not happening. I wouldn't have cared if they took Simcity 4's sounds and tossed them in this game, because its sorely lacking as of this moment
4) Lacking features: Things they stated will be in the game, specifically mass transit, are totally lacking. What's more, if you want these mass transit offers, expect to pay more money. This is hugely frustrating, because even in their past game, mass transit was in. It was garbage, but it was in. This either tells me they're greedy, or too stupid to realize how alienated they are making players.
5) Planet Offer: This will be the longest one, and I think it'll need to be broken down into a few parts just so people realize how stupid this is.
a. Too expensive: Yes, you might think $7-9 isn't that expensive, especially for you MMORPG gamers out there. Except...this isn't an MMORPG. It's a city builder. Simcity 4 allows for custom content, variety of new buildings and mods that change game play, so being forced to pay the actual game's price every six months or so (going with their 18 dollars for 3 months offer) for a few new buildings or features (that should have been in the game) is rather…upsetting.
b. Constant Reminders: This game, overtly and subtly, keeps telling you to go get planet offer. Every time you start the game, you need to click through two or three pages worth of how "awesome" Planet Offer is, and what cool "features" it'll have that should have been within the game. Within the game, you see the grayed out Mass Transit button, for both buses and trains…even though they left that button in. With that, they also left it in the Overlays as well. And of course, don't forget trading is better online!
c. Poor Singleplayer Support: Solo players of this game have OFFERED to buy the custom content without wanting to get the Planet Offer. You might ask why? Because if you stop paying for Planet Offer, you lose any and all new buildings, features, and addons that you received while paying. On top of this, the Solo game itself does not receive those same new features and buildings. Gamers are offering this company money if they actually gave them these new features, but Monte Cristo isn't listening.
d. Poor Communication: Near the end of Beta, Monte Cristo removed their official forums and began using a third party site, in which they ignore all questions and comments that actually challenge their business model or game. Of course, this isn't much different from other companies…except that wanted input from gamers in the beginning, thus raising hopes rather excessively for this game. Since then…nothing. Small, petty questions are answered, while tough, hard questions are ignored.
This game was built on high expectations, hopes, and seemingly a great deal of promises. This game did fulfill a few, only to realize that it's become a money pit for those needy Simulation gamers out there. Monte Cristo's focus on making city building games an MMO market will probably be their downfall, and I find that rather sad, because Cities XL had the potential to be a great game. Sadly…the company switched from making a great game, to making a half baked game with a half baked online portion. In all, it's a very disappointing offer for everybody.