Taking The A+ Train
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Paradox is one publisher that always does well with simulation and strategy games. Of course eventually the same ideas get rehashed by different companies and the genre starts to become redundant. Then again, you have companies like Paradox who also try to mix it up and show us some new stuff. Cities In Motion 2 falls into that category and then some.
SimCity has done the "build your own city" thing, and quite well I might add. However, Cities in Motion 2 focuses strictly on the public transportation side of things. This got interesting for me because where I live there is no public transportation. So my only mass transit experience consisted of riding cross country in a Greyhound and that was about it. But I know that many advanced cities have a plethora of transportation options, to the point that you may not even need a car. That kind of sounds like a dream world to me, and I got the opportunity to build it with Cities In Motion 2.
Paradox included one of the most in-depth tutorials I have ever experienced, which allowed me to get a great grasp fairly quickly. The game has a steep learning curve. I mean there are people who go to college to study this type of thing. Without the tutorial, most folks would probably be lost. But with it, you can be up and running in no time.
Graphically, I ran into a small problem on my laptop with the camera getting in bad angles, and with my tiny screen, so I took an HDMI cable and played through my 50-inch TV. Problem solved. We are talking about cities here, so the bigger the display, the better.
So with a new giant monitor, I continued on and was very impressed by the realism. The cities that you are assigned to assist were really well developed and looked much like cites today. In fact one of the early levels reminded me of the city of Columbus Ohio where I went quite frequently.
There were a few issues I had with the game that prevented it from being five stars. First and foremost, setting up new roads and train tracks is a frustrating process sometimes. Even though you know how to set it up, it blocks you by saying things like "to far from junction" and "no room to build." Now I understand why these messages appear and I can adjust. However it becomes agitating when 99 percent of all of your locations say this same message. I know this is a simulation, so it has to be realistic, but just a smidge more towards the "fun" side of the equation would not be unappreciated.
The camera controls are also a little touchy. When placing bus stops, you have to make sure they are all on the same side of the street. But sometimes there are buildings in the way, and that requires a little fiddling to make sure that people can wait for the bus in the right spot.
Despite these few shortcomings, this game provided a great playing experience. The great graphics provided a unique street level experience. It was fascinating to watch people travel the bus system once I got it set up. Of course this game takes advantage of me being a perfectionist, because there is always something needing fixed. There is something really satisfying about getting a city in real trouble, and working hard to get things running like a well-oiled machine. It's a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it.
Audio in this game was simple, but nonetheless effective. The music was very well done and helped keep me relaxed as I mapped out routes. There was very little in the way of ambient sound effects, which didn't really matter when it was all said and done.
Controls for Cities in Motion 2 are functional. On a desktop I imagine to be much more fluid and responsive. I ran into some awkwardness on my laptop which might have been amplified from my non-PC playing background. For the average gamer, they are easy to pick up and go with.
All in all, Cities in Motion 2 does a great job of making you think outside the box. With public transportation, there are no areas where you can cut corners. Minus a few frustrating moments, I learned a lot from this game and give it an above average 4.5 Gin Gems. If only my actual city ran as well as the ones I created here.
Neal Sayatovich loves the twists, turns and scares of a well developed horror game. Contact him at : firstname.lastname@example.org.