I find that I'm disliking the game for pretty much the exact reasons I thought I'd dislike it for. At this point it's pretty much a SimRuraltown.
Some elements are pretty neat, though. I'm liking some of the new data maps, though I wish they had graphs for things like SC4 did (Maybe I missed them? I got my invite late at night and just had to try it out). What I don't like is how they've implemented the access to the maps in the interface. Just put that list of all maps on screen at all times, don't stick it in the corner like it's unimportant, dammit! I also think the "upgradeability" of the ploppables is a really neat idea, especially for the schools (school bus stops is pretty swell, and rather realistic too).
I have some gripes with the road mechanics and zoning, though. I find that the road picker (straight, curved, etc) is a bit unimaginative. Do we really live in an era where we don't have modifier keys? Is it so hard to figure out how I want my road to curve based on how I draw the mouse? I was struggling with the curved road with quite some time because it wasn't curving the way I wanted it to. I can't remember how exactly Cities XL did this since I didn't play it for long (it's not that good), but I think I do recall it did it better than this. One major issue I noticed was that it's not possible to replace a 1-"tile" street with a 2-"tile" street, which I thought was very restrictive. I have to demolish the street and all the zones around it to replace it? Not good at all.
The zoning is a bit meh. I guess it makes sense to only be able to zone near streets, but what happens to the space in the middle that isn't used? Do the buildings creep in toward the center? Maybe I just didn't get that far in the allotted hour.
Also, where are the different zoning densities? You're not letting me decide where the various building sizes go? Why not? Too much thinking for your average video game player? Gotcha.
All in all, I probably won't be getting this. Cities in Motion 2 seems promising, even though it's not really a city sim, and I guess there's always Cities XL for whoever actually thinks that's a good game. And there's always Sim City 4.