Posted: March 5
Cities in Motion is one of those games you just cant help but enjoy playing. Its got a lot of positives going for it and then.... inevitability the longer you play it, the more frustation creeps in. In the end it will wave goodbye to all that goodwill that it built up in the many hours of previous play.
The game tries to be at its core a simplified mass-transit simulator. You take control of a company looking to build several transport routes across a number of recreated cities in the hopes of gaining enough money to expand the network and eventually complete a number of mission objectives. All the while you have to deal with maintaining the infrastructure and vehicles, keeping your public reputation as high as possible and generating a profit to pay your workers.
There are 2 campaigns. I only completed the first, which consisted of 12 scenarios, each of them stand-a-lone so you are not penalized when you begin the next one. Objectives come in the form of petitions, which tend number around 12-18 per scenario. Their content is a variation upon a theme, such as; build x number of lines, build a line from a to b, keep your vehicles maintained above y, transport z passengers, increase or decrease prices, remove n number of stops, stop a line for x weeks, etc. For the most part these are all fairly easy to carry out and you are only restricted by money, at least at the start.
There are five types of transport lines which you can use to carry passengers around the city: bus (road), trams (lines), metro (underground), ferry (water) and heliports (air). Each has several (around 35) vehicles in total with their own strengths and weakeness such as; carry capacity, reliability, speed, attractiveness, which provide benefits and weaknesses to your strategy.
Add to this the need to tinker with prices as an abstracted economy rises and falls, the ability to finance through bank loans your next big project and you get the picture. Take all of these ingredients and you get what is a fun, enjoyable and not to difficult game to play. For the most part the game works. However... as you play more and more you get to see that the game isnt exactly well designed. Or built.
You can essentially perform gamey actions to circumvent the restrictions that the developers have in store for you, allowing you to build up cash reserves quickly without any bad effects. Once youve completed the first few maps there is little to tax anyone looking for something with a harder challenge. The first campaign maps encompass four cities; Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna & Helsinki but, once you have figured out the best strategy for each one, you can re-apply the same strategy over and over, despite the different starting circumstances.
The biggest let-down has to be the bugged campaign scenario 2 petiton that never triggers. This means you can never complete the associated achievement, unless you find a user-made editor, that allows you to access the relevant file and edit one word in the code. One word!! Thats unforgiveable given that many patches were released for this game and this major fault is still not fixed! The other major issue (if you are an achievement hunter) is that another achievement requires purchase of 34 base game vehicles. Of which I have attempted to acquire twice. The base game even includes more than 34 vehicles. Unfortunately the counter stops at 15 for me. I know others have had the same problem.
Despite having many, many dlcs, you do not need any of them to get all the achievements. The fact that the developers (and publisher) do not force you to buy all the extra dlcs they made to get 100% achievements would have otherwise been a great plus for this game.... but alas no..... I highly suspect that you will need to purchase at least some other dlcs (with extra vehicles in them) to get this "all vehicles" achievement.
Its really disappointing... because if not for these core issues I would say that overall Cities in Motion is an above average, if slightly lightweight mass-transit simulator. One that I would have recommended to those of you interested in the genre or looking for something non-violent. As it is all that good work was undone on the final straight.
* If the developers ever fix these two achievement issue I will happily change this to a YES recommendation.