Here , I just want to make a real review of aspect of the new SimCity from my point of view as I am a really CXL fan. I don't want to be positive or negative about it , just to discuss what I found.
Before I start playing with CXL, I used Simcity 4, and the whole series before it, so I am not really CXL only fan, but lately CXL was my favorite game.
First, I found that Simicty online feature seems for me to be inspired by the CXL experience. The CXL was started as a project called Cities Unlimited back in 2008 after couple of months of the release of the Game of Monte cristo City Life 2008 , which was the core for Cities Unlimited, there was a discussion with the community for about a year before making the beta and releasing the game as Cities XL in 2009.
One of the major features announced in Cities XL was the online multi-player experience, which included in the Planet Offer and this actually include trade and using avatars and other many features. This features is actually implemented now in the new SimCity, but in different way, more user friendly, and mainly between regions. And actually as most of us know that online feature caused monte cristo to bankrupt and the game was sold to Focus. In SimCity, EA has long online playing experience, so they managed to do the online feature part, but with very painful and annoying start that surely caused loss of money . Although those feature is Ok, but they are still not totally satisfying, nor they are bug free. And the most negative about it, is that they used it as an excuse for always online, which bother a lot of players.
City Specialization was mentioned also in CXL, and it was implemented generally, with no clear way to do it or assess its impact. Same feature is implemented in the new SimCity, but greatly focus and it is really implemented in a good way. Actually it includes some of the features of the GEM feature of CXL which was supposed to allow for a mini game inside your city to manage some kind of business like beach GEM, SKi GEM etc. But in SimCity Specialization feature it contains some of GEM feature in a way as you have to micromanage your speciallization buiness like casinos, TV production and importing/exporting, etc. The overall feature is good but very limited in options.
Another feature that was introduced in CXL was the Buildings packs, as Europe Pack, US pack, Far East pack etc. This also introduced in SimCity in the Deluxe Edition as English, German, French add ons, but in a different way as you will put a landmark like Eiffel tower in the city and surrounding building will shape in french style buildings.
Final feature from CXL also was blueprints, which was in the original game (planet offer) needs alot of resources and takes hours to complete, and usually you will need to trade with other cities to complete it. that feature also implemented in New SimCity as Great Works, it is places between cities where you can initiate projects in it for specified and very limited projects and need to send it resources from your cities to complete. it is different implementation but the same idea. Actually when I rethink about it, I found SimCity is based mainly on CXL features which may be actually true as CXL was introduced in 2009, and maybe then the idea to make a new SimCity evolved or was evolving!!!!
I guess that was it for major feature of CXL that also existed in Simcity, other than standard waited features as Full 3D and free curvy streets.
For the SimCity Graphics, it is well done, much better in performance than CXL. Keeping in mind limited city size in Simcity compared to vast Cities of CXL, still find it fast. The Graphic features is so cartoonic, non-realistic appearance. It has Good 3d graphic options and filters. Zoom level is limited that there is no walking level, but very near to ground like 4 Meters high. the Tilt Shift is annoying for me, but it seems they need it even in the Less option just to reduce 3D calculations for far objects. The Sky colors and features was not so convincing for me with no options for it. There is weather features, not very impressive. Day/Night cycle exist and is mandatory and slow for me. Night view is too dark to do stuff, specially it has to exist for sometime, but in general nice with the simulation. Contrast during day light is not very sharp as in CXL, so the difference between lighted area and shadows is not much, giving a sense of low contrast and unrealistic. Dimensions of buildings is not proportional at all and unrealistic, unlike CXL which gives much realistic feeling. I think this also due to the small City size. City size is like 2 square Km, while CXL is 10 square Km.
Hope that was Helpful
Here is a comparison in excel sheet