For those who have played the first Cities in Motion from Colossal Order and Paradox Interactive, they would know that it’s a well-designed simulation game that did have a few holes, but still delivered a satisfactory experience for those who want something like a light railway version of Railroad Tycoon. Two years later since its release, Cities in Motion now sees a sequel to build upon its foundations, which is a simulation of creating and managing public transportation.
There are people out there who are called rail fans or trainspotters, who are enthusiasts of anything that moves on railways. That is a portion of the explanation behind the appeal of a game like this. If you can make a city simulator and have people going nuts about it, especially when you screw it up with always-online DRM and long login wait times as EA had done, then there definitely is appeal for a game that focuses on one aspect of the city.
The first game made use of real cities, which was quite novel in concept but also made for rather limited gameplay that could’ve been more exploratory with its approach. With this sequel though, the cities are now computer generated, which don’t have the landmarks and real locations that you can relate to, but you do have a city that can change and grow. Players are now able to law down new roads and expand the cities, helping with population growth and expansion to new areas, making the cities feel more organic as a whole.
As far as core mechanics from the first game goes, it has mostly remained the same. Aside from the campaign, there’s also the sandbox mode that is the fulfillment of what the first game could have been, with dynamic cities capable of growth and change as the game progresses, depending on what you have done to improve mass transit. Multiplayer has also been added to provide a more diversified gameplay experience. Up to 6 players can cooperate or compete with each other to put up the best transportation routes in the city and meet their companies’ goals.
As a sequel, Cities in Motion 2 does have its flaws, which are the battle scars gained from fulfilling fan requests from the first game. Things like the full day cycle not going well with the timetable system, as well as the trains looking like they’re made of cardboard due to breaking down too easily. This makes for more micromanagement than what most people would care for. There are also technical issues that gets in the way of the gameplay, especially the multiplayer mode. When you can’t consistently connect properly to games, you know that it’s not something you’ll be doing regularly.
With all things considered, perhaps this sequel only has presentation as the major improvement over the original game. All other improvements are not without their drawbacks and misgivings. With the bugs and glitches that seem to pop up like a sandworm from Dune, as well as the lacking soundtrack, this game could’ve done better in terms of polish in order to truly be a sim game that everyone would play.
However, this is still a step towards the right direction for the series. If there will ever be a Cities in Motion 3, this second game is a good sign for things to come. But still, it’s not for everyone, except for those who have been unsatisfied by the new SimCity.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 6.5/10