Gigantic areas. Pretty tilt-shift post-processing. Offline mode. Curved roads. Interesting pollution and water simulations. Steam Workshop support. Plenty of information overlays pertaining to everything from wind to population happiness to noise pollution. And there are some features I haven't even mentioned, like the fact you can create districts in your city and then assign them unique policies like high-rise bans and small-business tax breaks.
Is it perfect? No. The end of the game is just as mindless as any other city builder, including SimCity 2000, and certain simulations could be more involved or at least more communicative. I'm still delving into the traffic system for instance and trying to figure out whether certain quirks are actually broken simming or just my own incompetence.
But overall this is the city builder I've been waiting for. Time to get back to it--my city's in another window waiting for its mayor to return.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.