Friday, July 25, 2008

City Life 2008 Edition Review

City Life 2008 Edition, developed by Monte Cristo Games and published by Paradox Interactive.
The Good: The ability to import height maps is nice
The Not So Good: 60 buildings and 10 maps? That’s it?
What say you? City Life returns with yet another stand-alone expansion that should have been a free patch: 3/8

At least in my book, the stand-alone expansions for City Life are notorious for meager amounts of content. Take City Life World Edition, for example: the publisher of that game complained that I reviewed that title on its improvements alone instead of the product as a whole, even though I had previously reviewed the original game (that skiff led to the disclaimer at the top of the review). Well, City Life is at it again with the 2008 iteration of the series. Again, I am going to focus on the improvements made in this new version of the game rather than the title as a whole since I reviewed the original, so be prepared. And away we go!

City Life 2008 Edition comes with 60 new buildings that make your cities look a little bit more varied. That’s all I could find.

A disturbing trend in computer gaming is charging for content in expansion packs that would have been offered as a free patch 10 years ago. City Life 2008 Edition certainly continues this disturbing trend by offering the aforementioned 60 buildings, 10 maps, and the importing greyscale bitmaps for realistic heights into the game. And that’s it. None of these changes impact the gameplay at all, resulting in the same overall product that was released three years ago. I expect expansion packs to add at least something substantial that enhances the gameplay, but City Life 2008 Edition comes with nothing. Despite the fact that you can now import real height maps into the game, the developers couldn’t be bothered with putting in more than a couple of actual locations to play in. This pretty much sums up the wholly unnecessary 2008 version of City Life. It’s nice to see they expect you to do all of the work instead of the developers you paid when you purchased the game.

Do I like City Life? Yes. Do I like the additions made by the 2008 edition? No. With quality expansion packs like In Nomine and Twilight of the Arnor, the bar has certainly been raised for what's expected in an expansion and City Life 2008 Edition does not deliver at all. This is a clear attempt to make some extra money by adding some inconsequential content to a two-year-old game. City Life 2008 Edition should have taken a cue from Children of the Nile and offered the upgrades as a free patch for existing owners; that would have resulted in a much more satisfying experience, rather than requiring everybody to pay $30 for some new buildings. Why is this review so short? Since the developers of City Life 2008 Edition have insulted us with this trivial amount of content, I am providing a trivial amount of commentary. It’s only fair.