Tag Archives: simulation

Cities XXL Steam Review

A whopping 599 thumbs down user reviews on Steam, but is it really a bad game or not? RealGamerNewz answers that and more.

When you actually read these reviews, you may start to notice that the major complaints most have against Cities XXL are related to user preference and fixed by existing mods already available for free with easy installation through Steam Workshop, or they are complaints about the game not running optimal enough. I can assure readers that RealGamerNewz has tested this game on a budget, entry-level machine complete with Quad Core processor from AMD and GTX 650 graphics card from NVIDIA (eVGA specifically), with no major issue the game is running for us on just 8 gigabytes of standard DDR3 RAM.

So, a bit puzzled at this Steam storefront appearance, and accidentally stumbling on what looks to be a bit of a disastrous release community-wise, we continue on to find our own team’s enjoyment and technical impression of this game to which a less significant 200 thumbs up users on Steam may be more inclined to agree with. If you are one of those who feels this game deserves less points than we’ve given it, feel free to discuss that in the comments but please keep the language semi-intelligent and productive.

–__– Moving. Right. Along. Then…

[No, this isn’t pointless promo art, the cities you build look REAL]

Right away we must mention that the soundtrack of the game deserves a shout out for featuring a often soothing and rhythmic track or two to compliment the grinding feel of gameplay and increasingly overwhelming city management tantamount to progression of yester-year simulations that shined in the golden era of PC Gaming. As far as putting to rest some engine performance discussion, I challenge reviewers for claims of Cities XXL not running well on quad cores with perhaps having a lot of background stealth-piggy-back crap programs installed on their computer weighing them down.

I tested the game on a less-powerful-than-most-people-have PC Gaming machine and it ran great. The usual hog-down when dealing with simulation is virtually absent and I’m able to accumulate literally hundreds of thousands of citizens, zoom into their lives and watch them for a quick laugh before I get back to planning, zoning, and building at a rapidly satisfying pace.

The game is not as easy as many have mis-stated. As quickly as you build you need to also adapt to what’s changing within your city’s needs. This can get hectic at times, but produces another challenge and layer of fun to the mischief other building really cool looking cities with your favorite secret symbols and shapes hidden in them ( just like the illuminati! 🙂 ).

It’s so cool to see your city built from square one and just as so many symbolic architectural layouts across miles of land have been identified from the sky / space, Cities XXL provides players with that same simulated satellite image feel to it and gives creative freedom to carve your symbols as cities form against nature’s majestic terrain.

Areas I’d like to see the game improve include the mods not always being all that reliable. Admittedly the modding community only got their hands on the title 4 days ago and have already accomplished a lot. Unfortunately though, the mods cause a bit of bugs and I preferred uninstalling and playing without them personally as opposed to using them after trying both.

I’d also like to see some of the hang ups of players who gave legitimate feedback addressed, including how it became difficult mid-game for some players to switch between zoning for large areas of pre-decided buildings / residences, or making individual units of buildings at a time. Both are needed, and switching between either shouldn’t be so convoluted. There are a few other issues like this despite this game having much more straightforward and enjoyable design than most city builders I’ve played thus far. With just a bit more improvement, it could be the perfect one.

Cities XXL is a great game. It could be a little more user friendly if things like snapping roads together had less friction and strict parameters, but once players get used to that the real challenge at hand is adapting to the changing needs of your city’s population. This results in lots of fun gameplay that is easily replayable through scenarios or completely random cities. You can also go into your own city from a first person viewpoint and get a sort of Google Street View type look of how things are in your glorious creation.

There are various scenes that play out to give the game a feel as if each citizen has their own story, motivations, and feeling, so when you scroll through quickly it’s fine. But if you stare too long – you can quickly see the facade lifted and this is something that could be addressed, but is likely a design / programming challenge in more ways than one with today’s current tech limitations. For what it’s worth, I did appreciate how residents had their own buildings as well as the small touches like sidewalk billboards and poster signs to give that HD Life feel to the city.

This brings us to another Another area in need of some improvement though is character design for the citizens, though this is sort of a low priority luxury request. Character models for your citizens look a bit under polished and silly but this is really all about the city building to which I have much pleasure with in Cities XXL. There were a lot of times when I just busted out laughing though because of citizens popping in and dancing on cars, sidewalks, and their porches with all of their neighbors as if a party on the street just broke out. I guess it is realistic to some extent considering I had over 50,000 population at the time and only a few extremely packed streets.

Final Verdict:

Cities XXL offers up a solid, well put together package that will run on decent or better hardware and gives one of the fastest ways of building cities ever seen in gaming a latest rendition. Players get the deluxe package here in which great visuals to show off your city can be captured, first person viewpoint walk-throughs of your city with somewhat lifelike citizenry, big time economic management as well as small time policy management come into play as your population explodes and demand / supply comes into play as your needs and haves change as a city.

There are areas where the game could improve, and by all means Cities XXL is not perfect. However, the speed at which you can rapidly amass a thriving city with various zones being populated from out-of-towners in no time at all, with very little explanation on how things work, is proof alone that it gets more right than it does wrong and earns its right as now being an industry mainstay for the city building genre. I would bet money we see more where this came from as the genre continues to thrive. Cities XXL is a solid entry worthy of your time.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 7.5 / 10

RGN Rating : Bronze Game

Developer / Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

Available On: Windows PC (via Steam)

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20150210 and was last modified on 20150210 .

ARMA 3 Review

ArmA 3 comes from Bohemia Entertainment and they are the people behind the whole ArmA series so there is lots of progression coming into ArmA 3. Bohemia has also made possible one of the most popular mods for ArmA 2 and that is DayZ which was created by Dean “Rocket” Hall and took the PC gaming market by storm thanks to DayZ bringing a realistic zombie survival experience to the PC Gaming and Mod Community to ArmA 2 and now Bohemia will move forward with that mod by publishing a more polished release of the mod called DayZ Standalone. But none of that would have been possible if it weren’t for the already critically acclaimed ArmA series which is huge with military simulation crowds and is really just a great time for those who can appreciate the Real Virtuality 3 Game Engine.

ArmA 3 does have a campaign, it’s just not out yet. It didn’t launch with the game but will be launching later on as episodic content and will be free to all players who purchased ArmA 3. Besides the campaign not being there yet, there currently are challenges that will test the user’s skill level in ArmA 3. These start out with a Firing Squad and progress from there. Another big chunk of single player gameplay are the Showcases which are where the game really shows off some of its high fidelity and beauty by letting the user play in some awesome and spectacular levels. Level design ranges through everything from infantry gameplay, to drones, and gunships. These selected pieces of the game are really jaw-dropping and every little detail in them is great, it’s immediately apparent that Bohemia really didn’t leave anything out in these sections.

Some of the other sections that are found in Showcases include Scuba, Helicopters, Combines Arms, Commanding, Night, Support, Tanks, Armed Assault, CSAT, AAF, and Vehicles. So with these and the challenges I feel that Bohemia Entertainment did a fair job covering their bases for the single player content at least until the campaign episodes come out. Scenarios is a part of the game that is fully supported by the Steam Workshop where new content is added daily from ‘modders’ in ArmA 3, which is really fun to see. The developers have allowed the community to add their own twist to the gameplay and levels which can be played within the realm of ArmA 3.

ArmA 3 has a very different type of gameplay of course, it’s a military shooter and this is the definitive version to be playing. Coming from an experienced Battlefield player perspective this game is very different all around, tactically as a player the user has to be a lot smarter in every way from the gun selection all the way to how the player is moving. Stamina is a huge part of movement in ArmA 3 because each player moves as if they are a real soldier and they run out of air which causes several things to happen such as the gun moving around when the user is trying to aim and getting shaky from an elevated heart rate. The guns also fire very accurately and this is due to ArmA 3’s nearly perfect simulation. Every factor of real life warfare comes into play here, such as wind and even elevation. Scopes also need to be zero’d in and this can be very hard without going through the tutorial missions to get the whole grasp on shooting.

Gear is part of ArmA 3 and can be switched out from each soldier as well as taken off of dead soldiers in the field. If while playing the game you’re sick of running so much, take one of the many vehicles for a spin which make the game a lot more fun especially if the player decides to take a tank or an attack helicopter. A lot of damage can be done with one of those. Every vehicle has so much detail from the external appearance as well as all the way through the interior with every vehicle fully fleshed out, even down to the very last button on the dashboard.

Controls for ArmA 3 are not like your typical first person shooter. They are a lot more advanced. Sure W, A, S, D is for basic movement but for everything else ArmA 3 makes a bit more difficult and can be quite a steep learning curve. For users that plan on playing a lot of ArmA 3, the single player is mandatory for getting used to the controls because they are very advanced and unlike anything seen in other shooters. If the user has a good knowledge of the keyboard it will come as a benefit and possibly even advantage in ArmA 3 considering almost all of the keyboard is used while playing the game. Even driving vehicles is a challenge. Normal vehicles, such as trucks and ATVs, are not a problem as they handle quite normally. But other vehicles such as tanks and choppers prove to be a steep, steep learning curve and aren’t anything for ‘noobs’ of the series to attempt.

Multiplayer is back and better than ever with ArmA 3 which has to have one of the biggest and most dedicated communities out there. When loading up ArmA 3 and jumping into multiplayer there is a massive server list and it’s filled with a ton of variations of games. It’s hard not to find a server that isn’t fun to join. With ArmA 3 Multiplayer there are many great mods out online right now. One of the biggest seems to be Wasteland at the time of this Review posting, which is a sandbox survival mod and is basically one of the hottest modes to play in multiplayer just because of how much fun it is and its appeal for playing with friends online. The community, from what I have found, is great at adapting to new players joining and willing to help a fellow soldier out at getting into the game as well as improving their skills with some of the best communication found via both voice and text chat which is present right in the ArmA 3 multiplayer matches themselves.

Final Verdict: ArmA 3 is a huge game and the best military simulation shooter on the market. With one of the biggest communities on the market, and tons of content coming out daily, ArmA 3 has a huge replay-ability from playing new mods to playing countless hours of multiplayer. ArmA 3 is also a beautiful game to look at. The detail is truly amazing and it’s really nice to see that Bohemia Entertainment put such a high level of polish on the game. Unfortunately, some of the biggest parts of the game are still to come such as the episodic content and hopefully a smash-hit mod like DayZ was for ArmA 2. The game is also extremely rough on newcomers trying to jump into the series as far as learning the controls goes, but a great community helps offset that by making it worth it. In its current state, ArmA 3 gets a 9 out of 10 making it one of RGN’s Gold Games.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 9/10

RGN Rating: Gold Game

Developer / Publisher: Bohemia Interactive

Available On: Windows PC

Review Copy Info- A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Josh Ehresmann on 20131005 and was last modified on 20131024 .