I've been putting this off for ages in not being quite sure what to say about it. I guess I was maybe hoping it would randomly just perform better the next time I played it or something. I really wanted to be impressed by it since I'm a really big fan of this game genre, but if I were to be honest there were some major issues of poor performance on what should have been more then capable hardware that generally ruined the gaming experience on my particular system. I've always been into these types of games since the days of Maxis' A-Train, I'd even followed the whole SimCity game series from SimCity 2000 right through to version 4 where I kind of left off and lost interest. The reason? The GPU resource requirements just got heavier and heavier to the point where playing the game even on a dualcore AMD system equipped with Dual 6600GT's in an SLi configuration just became more of a chore then a pleasurable gaming experience for this particular simulator genre. But even when trying it again on a more recent system a few years later with an Nvidia FX2700(9800 equivalent) equipped with 512MB of dedicated DDR3 GPU ram and 4GB of DDR3 system RAM at its disposal, SimCity 4 still seemed to choke the machine up and cause it to pause for long periods at a time when doing anything in the game after half an hour or so of play.

8 years or so later whilst browsing a stall I was immediately drawn to the actual results pictured on a DVD back cover of various sweeping towering metropolis city scapes against visually stunning environments. From first impassions it just had that wow factor and effect of making me think "Yes, I must have this! I want to make what I'm seeing in the pictures on my computer too!".

 But having taken a long stay away how does the most recent release of the SimCity series in the form of CitiesXL 2012 fare on the same rig but now with 12GB of DDR3 system RAM and a hybrid SSD at its disposal? Also keep in mind the hardware that I was trying it on way exceeds the recommended specs. Well initially whilst there was barely even anything that resembled a village everything was super fast. But anything beyond a town would just cause the system to hang to the point where I'd only get 30 seconds to a minute of play at a time before it locked up for 30 seconds to a minute at a time too. As you can imagine a day or so of this and a pile of empty skittles wrappers later (where normally there'd just be the one) left me pretty reluctant to get back to it even after managing to build quite a sizeable city during that time. Even worse I couldn't find anyway to deactivate the auto save feature which seemed to kick in every 10 to 15 minutes. It would have definitely been a very useful feature if it was seamless and didn't actually cause the whole game to lock up for 30 seconds to a minute at a time whilst performing the actual auto save process each and every time. 

Generally If you've got the clout on the hardware front to run this properly (of which at this point I'm not even quite sure what that is) I'd highly recommend this if you're a fan of the simulator genre, it would certainly please as you get to marvel at your cityscape creations in breath taking 3D style. However if your system specs are on a par with the above mentioned or below it then I'd suggest you avoid this game like the plague regardless of what it states on the cover as being the recommended spec to run it. The regular alternating near 50/50 ratio of play/waiting time it reached on my particular rig just annoyed me way too much for the amount of waiting around through frequent lock ups whilst playing it to say the very least. Then again could this issue on my particular system have been significantly compounded by discrete monitoring and sever syncing where it would not be the case for other users?? 

Stuff this brought to mind
That centered calm place in that shrinks encourage many of their patients to visit.