Cities XXL players very unhappy with new Focus release

Has Focus over-milked their city building series with this new release? People who’ve bought the game seem to think so.

Yesterday, Focus released Cities XXL, the latest instalment in their city building series, and it’s caused a bit of a stir. Anyone who played the previous Cities XL will know about the performance problems and the lack of multi-core support. The game struggled on even the fanciest hardware.

Focus decided to go back and take a look at the series, resulting in the release of this new version. This latest installment, cunningly called Cities XXL, promised to fix the performance issues and also add new features such as “low-level city management,” a “detailed street level view,” Steam workshop support and sorting that that multi-core problem.

What looks to have happened, and we’ll vouch for this as we’re in the middle of our review, is that Focus has effectively re-released Cities XL Platinum and added the multi-core and Steam Workshop support. Beyond that, not much has changed with the game.

This has caused gamers who jumped in early, expecting a few more improvements and additions to the game, to become rather annoyed with Focus. The Steam discussion hub exploded on release yesterday, with some gamers gloating over the fact they didn’t buy in with a pre-order while others professed faith that this Cities XL would finally be the Cities XL game the original should have been. Some players said they “dodged a bullet” after a few Youtube videos appeared prior to the game launching on Steam.

The new game costs £29.99 and anyone who owned the previous releases would receive a 50% discount. While a discount is always great, the only major changes are Steam Workshop support and multi-core support. These are two features that could arguably have been patched in for Cities XL at no cost (engine-permitting, in the case of multi-core support.)

It’s also debatable whether performance has massively improved because we’ve experience jerky play and huge pauses while the game thinks about the player’s action. We’re still experimenting for the review but dragging lengthy roads really causes FPS issues.

While we continue with the review, we wanted to post this now as a warning to anyone who already owns City XL, because this new version is not really worth your time. Expect our full thoughts on Cities XXL shortly.

Update: Our Cities XXL review is now online.

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