Forgot password?


Password reset

Please enter your e-mail address and new password.

Cities in Motion 2

By Fr33Lanc3r.00717-04-2013
Bobfish (editor)
StuntmanLT (editor)
Cities in Motion 2

The Defence

Colossal Order
Paradox Interactive
Strategy, Simulator
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Quad Core 3 GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce GTX 460
AMD Radeon HD 6850
4 GB
2 GB

The Case


Cities in Motion 2 is the sequel to Colossal Order’s well received transport sim, Cities in Motion. Boasting a ton of new features, rebalanced transport methods and a different approach to city design, Cities 2 certainly makes a compelling case for its own existence as a sequel rather than an expansion. But is it a worthy game in its own right?

The Trial


Cities in Motion 2 has a simple concept - you are brought into a city in order to implement a public transport system, and then make that system efficient and profitable. To achieve this, you have a range of vehicle types, including; buses, trains, trams and water buses, all in a range of different sizes. Every vehicle type, and each specific vehicle within a class, has their own advantages, disadvantages and uses - bus routes are cheap to build and are good for covering an area in a number of small, regular routes, while the metro is better from carrying a large number of people over a long distance - and you’ll need to make use of most, if not all, of these options in order to gain dominance of the city’s transportation options.

One city in CiM2 is the size of an entire region or more in SimCity.

One city in CiM2 is the size of an entire region or more in SimCity.

There are several campaign missions, with more on the way if the first game’s DLC list is anything to go by, in which you are given one main, time-consuming goal. Along with an infinite number of smaller goals that appear from time to time to give your company some extra cash to play with, and a small reputation boost. These goals range from expanding your network to the point where more than 15% of the population is using it simultaneously, to the smaller goals of ‘build 3 new bus lines and transport 300 people on them’ or ‘construct a line between point A and point B’. However, it’s in the Sandbox mode that Cities in Motion, much like all simulation games, really shines. Allowing you to select from the preloaded maps, or from any map that has been made in the Map Editor, the Sandbox gives you all the toys, including an infinite money option, and tells you to have fun. You’re free to experiment, lose a ton of money building a terribly thought out train system that never runs on time, and that doesn’t link with any other transport option you have available.

Everything to do with cities is well simulated. The day and night cycle means that people make their way around the city based on what time of day it is, gridlocking the major roads on their way to work during peak hours, demanding better public transport on the weekends so they can go out - to the point where more than 10 minutes is too long a waiting time, even if the timetable at the bus stop says that it’s not coming for another 20. The city grows as you place more roadways, and the way in which it grows is determined by the cost and class of your routes. Cheaper routes with scummy vehicles bring in blue collar workers, while more expensive routes with better quality vehicle options will bring in businesspeople and white collar workers. Each citizen has an assigned workspace and home, as well as preferred entertainment venues, and they’ll use whatever means possible to get around their daily routines - which hopefully, if you’ve done your job right, means paying you for their trips. On a deeper level, the cities have simulated economies, which directly influence how much people will be willing to pay for tickets, changing fuel and electricity prices, which affect the cost of operating a line, and a reputation stat for your company.

Completing a game is a slow process - although veterans of the genre will probably refute that - with the few campaign levels I managed to complete taking upwards of 5 hours to get a decent enough profit margin to be regularly expanding the network, even with the game sped up to maximum. This creates the slightly awkward aspect of CiM’s gameplay: you cannot leave to, say, watch a movie or go out, because you can be sure the economy will collapse and you’ll need to change ticket prices, or you’ll need to adjust the timetables a bit. But aside from short bursts of things needing to happen, all there is to do is watch numbers and graphs rise and fall. The biggest problem with this is that it’s not boring - at least I didn’t find it boring - but it does feel weird to continually get to the point where it looks like things could run without you for a while, only for some changes to become necessary, which begins the waiting process anew. I ended up keeping a novel on my desk, or alt-tabbing out to my web browser without pausing, to fill these moments where nothing was happening.

The City Planning Department's idea to paint the roads bright colours did nothing to ease traffic problems.

The City Planning Department's idea to paint the roads bright colours did nothing to ease traffic problems.

Speaking of alt-tabbing, the music in this game is painfully uninteresting, to the point where I turned it off entirely and set my own music playing. Which is a shame, since the other aspects of the soundtrack are really well done, the hustle and bustle of the city and people going about their daily lives, the incessant honking of completely gridlocked traffic, the sirens of moving emergency vehicles, all of them sound as if you were really standing amongst them, or hovering over them as the case may be. The game also looks good, there never is a point where you’re not sure what you’re looking at, and zooming in gives some picturesque views of traffic patterns, especially when sped up and at night - sort of like those time-lapse YouTube videos of cars on a highway at night - which at least served to make the time between events that needed my attention go faster.

The Verdict


Cities in Motion 2 isn’t a game that I would normally like - it’s a city sim game where you run a business - but despite that I found myself drawn to the idea that I could have a go at outdoing the Public Transport system of my city. And while I failed miserably at that goal, the attempt was fun in itself - and if fun doesn’t count for something in this industry, then we’ve truly lost touch with its roots. In spite of everything I’ve said that could be considered bad about this game, I can’t bring myself to condemn it. If the time frame between an action and the payoff wasn’t so long, this would be a nearly perfect simulation game - as it stands Cities in Motion 2 is a good game with some interesting ideas, but sometimes interesting ideas are all that’s needed.

Case Review

  • Compelling Concept: If you’ve ever complained about the Public Transport in your local area, this is your chance to do better.
  • Looks Good: It gives off some amazing visuals, and manages to still look good with the graphics turned down.
  • Forgettable Soundtrack: I ended up alt-tabbing away to a music player.
  • Very Slow Gameplay: If you’re looking for a simulation game with more immediate payoffs, this isn’t for you.
  • Long: There are long stretches where you’re simply waiting for money to start coming in, and nothing particularly is happening.
Score: 3/5
Cities in Motion 2 could have been a perfect Sim game, instead it’s merely good with interesting ideas.


The best thing about Cities in Motion 2, is just how much control and freedom the game grants you from the get go. Of course, moving forward in the world of transportation and infrastructure is never an easy task, but it's good to see that the game doesn't limit you early. Building your transport empire in the form of bus routes, metro lines, ferry stops and more is certainly grand strategy of a kind. Especially when you're tasked with solving the transport needs of a massive city with a burgeoning population. Despite this, the learning curve can be steep, with the tutorial simply being too basic to introduce a new player into the game effectively. Thankfully, you're never turned away by the prospect of failure, rather are given fitting impetus to drive forward and fulfil the needs of your citizens. This is thanks in part to the fact that you won't be particularly pressed for cash, unless you massively overspend by building a gratuitous amount of bus depots. Instead, the Cities (in Motion) are perpetually successful, functioning just fine whether you build transport or not, they'll only start to complain when the transport network you do build just doesn't cut it, or you hike up the fare prices to a ridiculous amount.

There's a lot to enjoy here, but the interface is one of the low points of the experience, as it is very overwhelming and too much of the game's core is hidden away in tabs and behind multiple clicks. This game may have come out in 2013, but feels like it could have easily been released five years ago. Despite this, if you want transportation simulation, and with better traffic AI than SimCity at that, then Cities in Motion 2 is probably the stop you should get off at.

Score: 3.5/5


Cities in Motion 2 is a classic Paradox game (as Paradox choose to publish it) – a nice title only for the selected few who have the patience and dedication to play it. Don’t misunderstand me, that was a compliment. Contrary to games like SimCity, which would sell its soul for better sales figures, Paradox sticks to its guns and tries to evolve the games for their own fanbase, improving and expanding the games. Sometimes they fail but most of the time they succeed, because they don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

Even though I compared Cities in Motion with SimCity that’s not exactly fair. These games might look similar, but under the hood they are very different. CiM 2 is all about numbers and hardcore graphs, stats and depth. It’s all about making your existing city run smooth with a dynamic and changing world and economy. Most of its “surface elements”, mainly visuals and audio, aren’t anything special but the heart is pure and it is very good at what it actually tries to simulate. All in all this is a Paradox game. If you enjoy them and trust the company to deliver – go ahead, chances are you’ll leave satisfied. Now excuse me while I go buy a copy for Boris...damn London transport.

Score: 3.5/5
Comments (3)
You must be to post a comment.
Posts: 53

Oh yes. More OCD fun - I remember the first one.

Posts: 1317

Looks a lot more like Sim City than SimCity ever did...

Posts: 3290

Alright, I seriously have to try this now