I have always been a fan of simulator games, in fact on of the first games I can remember playing was the original Theme Park game for the PlayStaton 1, and then of course SimCity, these games have always gone by the same principle, to be as realistic as possible and as time has gone on they are defiantly starting to achieve that.
In fact one of the latest simulators to be released, Cities in Motion 2, takes it to the next level. Focusing on the mass transport within a city, you must plan out how a cities citizens will get from A to B, completing various missions as you go along, you need to plan out routes for both rail, water and road transport systems.
Some of you may have played the original to this series, since which the developer has expanded the game quite heavily, adding maps which are four times larger than the previous games, allowing for the construction of longer train lines and the addition of more zones.
Alongside which the city you play within now expand as you expand its transportation system, you can’t place buildings like you would in SimCity, but you can place new roads and even deconstruct building as you draw out a new line.
As you build these new lines, buildings will begin to pop up around them, bringing a more realistic feel to the game.
Included with the game is a choice of six maps to play from, which may seem a little too small to play from, however Paradox Interactive have added a new sharing website called CimExchange.com, which allows users to download player-made cities to use within the game. And if you like you can even give the map editor tool a go, building your own metropolis.
However there are still a wide selection of problems with Cities in Motion 2, the most notable of which is the UI, which seems a little to underdeveloped and hard to use, which once coupled with the steep learning curve of the game, makes it hard for a new player to get the hang of it in a short space of time.
This isn’t helped by the included tutorial, which forces you to read for text heavy blocks of text.
Controls are also very awkward, and moving around the map can sometimes by a juggle between the WASD keys on your keyboard to move direction and camera height, whilst moving the camera with the mouse, which could be made ten times better with the introduction of edge scrolling, a feature recently added to The Sims that makes gameplay a ton easier.
The details in Cities in Motion 2 are defiantly what keeps you playing if you’re not to put of by the controls, going as far as to include data from real world traffic situations in Berlin, Helsinki, Vienna, and Amsterdam, which means the traffic patterns within these cities in the game, actually correspond with the same real-world day-night traffic cycles.
You constantly need to study graphs, make fare adjustments and tweak timetables to keep the system running, making sure it is always relevant to the “Cims” in your city.
However this only actually works about 70% of the time, and I often found myself frustrated with constant bugs and crashes, with no autosave function, alongside which the campaign mode can sometimes take a lot longer than you would normally expect, and in fact the sandbox mode is probably the best to jump into when first starting up the game, with unlimited money, it’s the best kind of tutorial.
Overall the details of Cities in Motion 2 is a good game, with great emphasis on realism, if it wasn’t for the keyboard, screen and mouse, you could almost get away with thinking you were a true transportation manager. However this is only let down by the games various flaws, with a terrible interface and a steep learning curve, the game can be extremely difficult to play, and then once you find the various bugs included, you soon find yourself a little annoyed about your recent purchase.