Facebook Game Face-off: CityVille vs. CityVille 2

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CityVille vs CityVille 2Regardless of whether it was 100 percent original, CityVille set a standard for the Facebook games that followed when it launched in late 2010. Social games that hit the platform afterward aspired to the amount of players that CityVille garnered. If that's the case, then it surely had to have done some things right.

Perhaps the most impressive thing that CityVille pulled off was educating millions of gamers in the intricacies of a complex user interface, the cause-and-effect game mechanics that drive the city-building games of yore (albeit much, much lighter). So, what's the next logical step? Something deeper, something more refined ... a sequel. Enter the era of CityVille 2.

But does that necessarily mean it's better? A better question is: Which CityVille does CityVille better? Welcome to the latest installment of Facebook Game Face-off, a weekly event in which we pit two similar social games up against one another based on three criteria. Ultimately, we leave it up to you, the players, to decide which is best in a vote. Let the games begin:

CityVille screensCharming Cityscapes

Let's face it: When all you're doing is clicking on objects, it takes a lot of charm to keep you coming back. The original CityVille, with its adorable artwork and characters, did this brilliantly. To a point, you might actually have cared about what happened to kooky pigeon lady or even CityVille Sam.

CityVille 2 screensCityVille 2 attempts to employ that same appeal, but with a much edgier approach. Characters are dripping with satire and sarcasm, and while you do care what happens to them, it's only to find out whether they're the ones that burned your house down. In short, the characters in CityVille 2 make for a good laugh, but you won't find yourself caring for them much beyond that.

CityVille imagesGood Urban Planning

Zynga's original city-builder didn't pay much attention to how your city was organized, boiling down the cause-and-effect relationship down to its most basic elements. As a result, players quickly gamed the system, only building certain types of businesses in search of max profits and crafting cities that looked almost nothing like the real deal.

CityVille 2 imagesIts sequel, however, takes this into far more serious account. With Districts, leaderboards and the ability to directly affect the flow of the game, CityVille 2 feels much more natural than its predecessor. The simulation rewards players for buying into it, seeing to it that their city is diverse--just like real cities ... most of the time.

CityVille screen shotsCities Are Social Hubs

The original CityVille came out at a time when everyone was asking just what the words "social game" meant. And frankly, it didn't do much to answer that question. While it improved upon that slightly over time, it never reached what critics would consider a truly "social" game by the Webster definition of the word.

CityVille 2 screen shotsIt may be no shining example, but CityVille 2 gets pretty darned close. Incentivizing visits with District leaderboards and a game-wide messaging and real-time chat system, the sequel hits more notes on the social front than the original ever did. There's still a ways to go, but CityVille 2 is closer than its predecessor ever was.

CityVille 2 winsThe Winner Is...

CityVille 2! Zynga's sequel might be the most advanced city-builder seen to date on Facebook beyond its graphics. On most fronts, it moves the genre forward like the original did (aside from those gating monetization schemes) and stands to push it even further. But we want to know what you think:


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