WiseAss Thinkers


Beta Testing: Cities XL

Posted in Gaming,Opinion,xercies by xercies on 02/09/2009
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Author: Xercies

Date: 02/09/09

WiseAss Thinkers

So a new beta or demo(there pretty much the same now a days to be quite honest) and this time its a little bit different this is an online City Building game in the vein of Sim City but you can interact with other people by trading with them or just chatting with them. The name of the Game is Cities XL and I’ll be posting my thoughts here.

The link to the demo so you can try it out is here:

http://www.gamershell.com/news_83174.html

The first thing you have to do is the whole registration thing which is quite a pain but as soon as you done that you can get into the game. Unless you can’t. My problem was that I had a problem getting into the game because maybe I have a 64 bit machine its not clear what makes the warning pop up and i still don’t know, but I had to do some weird things to get in like put the exe capatibility to XP and the other exe to Windows 98 which is very weird. Anyway once you get in there you get to a familar site for an MMO: The Character creator.

A very familar site

A very familar site

One of the things that confuses me is why the hell this is in here. It is a city builder which means you aren’t going to be usuing an avatar but I’ve seen that there is apprantly a capital city that you can use your avatar in and socialize with people, but I don’t see really anyone taking the time to do it when there is cities to build. But anyway its pretty much like any other character creator you just don’t get many options to tweak and its much better to make something random then really taking the time to do it since it isn’t that important to the game.

Randomising the charactor creator is the best option

Randomising the charactor creator is the best option

After that task I’m in a screen that says do I want to do tutorials or just get on with it, if your a first timer i implore you to do the tutorials because they say so much and if you don’t you’ll defenetly  get lost on what to do and pretty much give up before even making one thing.

The tutorial will tell you what you need to know genrally

The tutorial will tell you what you need to know genrally

One thing I have to say is that the perfomance of this game is absulutly terrible, on my genrally great machine I’m struggling on low and very low let alone medium and high. I have no idea why its going so slow, but it is and it makes the game suck since making anything means scrolling and if its going 1fps you are going to get annoyed very easily. I wouldn’t even try this on a more lower spec machine, you will definitly not get anywhere.

It slows down a lot when there is many things on the screen

It slows down a lot when there is many things on the screen

The tutorial basically tells you a lot of things you need to know basically and to be honest the gameplay is quite like Sim City, you build houses genrally in lots, don’t place industries to near residential houses and try to keep shops near. The complicated stuff gets into trying to make your residents happy. But after you do the tutorials your ready to get to the main city building. First you choose a world which is pretty much like a server and pick your plot of land to build your city.

The world map where you choose plots of land to build cities

The world map where you choose plots of land to build cities

The prblem is is that its quite difficult to know which ones are available and which ones are owned, you get a very zoomed out view which doesn’t show much and it could leave you confused what you have to do, but you’ll evntually get there and pick a plot of land to build your city. i went for a volcano.

Naming your city and seeing what resources it has

Naming your city and seeing what resources it has

Now what I haven’t told you is how the multiplayer aspect works in this game. You see each plot of land has some resources and not others and soem buildings need certain resources to build and run. So you have to trade with the other players to get these resources with your own resources, you can also go to other players cities and see whats happening there. Its pretty basic stuff and to be honest I didn’t really have much of a play with it since I was to focused on building my own city.

Then first time you go in you have a big plot of land that you can build your city in and a set of money to build the roads and other services. The first thing you have to do is connect it to the other cities by placing a road at a certain part of the map connecting to where your city is going to be and then building a town hall.

All that space to build a city

All that space to build a city

The first things you will build is residential homes, industry and shops and constantly building as each one needs more things You can also build food and oil but these need to be placed in certain areas which means its quite hard to get to your city. The thing is, theres a lot of stuff the tutorials don’t tell you which comes up frequently and you just don’t know how to deal with it. Business need so much at the beginning and they go bankrupt very quickly even when your trying to do the stuff it tells you. Even with my small city it was just so overwhealming

It can get hectic pretty quickly

It can get hectic pretty quickly

Also you get problems that you just you have no idea how to deal with since theres nothing really saying how yo can change soemthing. The shops I owned were telling me that there was to much production and it was ahrd to sell so i had to slow down production, but I had no idea how to do that. I went through everywhere to find it, there were many individual items i could tweak but i didn’t know if they would affect the shop or not. It was very confusing.

I would decrease production...if I knew how

I would decrease production...if I knew how

The other problem is that these problems sometimes fix itself and you have no idea why, theres not enough feedback saying how well your doing and if your doing the right idea so basically you can’t repeat it sicne you have no idea if it was you or it fized itself. its all very cryptic and very frustrating when you get the same problems again and again and they keep fixing so you have no idea what to do the next time they come along. And they will come along.

Thanks for fixing youself for me

Thanks for fixing youself for me

In final this is quite a good game once you go into it, but theres just a lot of design problems that just make it a rubbish product as well. If it was worked on for quite a bit it would deifnitly be good, and I have to say the tutorial is good but definitly should have more in it just to get you out of some situations that it doesn’t tell you about. And definitly look into the optimisation since the way it is at the moment is absulutly horrible.

So I’m still looking forward to this game because I see the true game undearneath the crap that it seems to have built ontop of it. Some work could make this into a gem of a game that I hope quite a nmber of people will try out.

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3 Responses to 'Beta Testing: Cities XL'

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  1. jon_hill987 said,

    I thought the Avatar was for walking around in other peoples cities…

    • xercies said,

      It is and its for the capital city.

  2. jon_hill987 said,

    That is good one of the things that interested me about this game was being able to wander about in anyone else’s city.


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