2K Games (PC)
One of the industry's most respected designers has returned to the best-selling franchise that years ago launched an entire genre of games. The latest railroad-building title is beautiful-looking and sure to impress geeks new to the franchise. Yet it's equally sure to disappoint those who have been playing it since it first hit the shelves back in 1990.
Oddly, Meier has opted to strip down and simplify the game, to the point that it bears a greater resemblance to his original Railroad Tycoon than to 2004's Railroad Tycoon III. Many of the game's maps have been removed or altered in a way that significantly limits play. Bonds have disappeared, meaning that the only way for your company to raise money is to sell its stock.
The game's one real success is the multi-player feature. You can play online or over a LAN with up to three other players, competing to see who can be the last railroad standing. Unless you're new to the franchise, though, you'd be far better off just digging out your old copy of Railroad Tycoon III.