Cities: Skylines Review (PC)
Cities: Skylines is a true city building simulation game from a studio that’s been indirectly doing it for a while. Colossal Order and Paradox Interactive have brought us the Cities In Motion series in the past, where you controlled the transport networks of a dynamically growing city. Now, in Cities: Skylines, you have full control over the city.
And it’s a double first as Cities: Skylines is the first new game to be released using the new Unity 5 game engine. The power behind this game really is impressive and only shows promise for the future of games made with the engine.
But on with the game. Fans of the City Building genre were hugely disappointed with SimCity when it was released two years ago and were left wanting. Almost everything that was wrong about SimCity is put right by Cities: Skylines. Steam Workshop support, built-in modding tools, the ability to import custom .FBX files are just a few features made possible purely for the fact it isn’t EA at the helm and Origin isn’t the method of delivery.
At first you will start your city in a 2km2 area, similar to the size that the SimCity fans complained about with their game. But here endeth the comparisons. Build up your city and soon enough you will be able to purchase an adjoining square. And later another, and another and so on until you will have a huge city or network of districts under your control.
Districts are a great mechanic of Cities: Skylines. You can paint districts on to the map however you would please. Districts can be named as well as set for a specific industry type or have its own set of policies applied to it. It allows you to gain greater control over the flow of your city.
There are a fair amount of options available to you in city planning. Some are locked away to start with, but they unlock naturally around the time you’d be needing them anyway, avoiding the need for goal hunting and allowing you to play freely. Unique and more prestigious buildings offer a real flair to your city, be it sports stadiums or nuclear power plants. One of the best features of Cities: Skylines however it the ability to be flexible. Did you build the stadium on a road the needs upgrading or in a useless area? Simply move it somewhere else for a small cost. Upgrading (or even downgrading) roads is a simple click of a button. The road tool is powerful and you can not only build as many custom intersections as you please in your city, but build your own templates in the mod tool to use again and again. Building public transport is easy and efficient, as you might expect from a game developed by a Colossal Order. The bus line tool in Cities: Skylines is actually better than that in cities in Motion.
Graphically the game is nice. It may not have the same polished look that SimCity had, but it’s a different style. There are still a lot of beautiful buildings to marvel at, and few that raise questions of their architects abilities. What adds beauty to the game though is the camera. There is a tilt shift effect on the camera that just makes it a joy to scroll around the map, surveying the happenings of your city as individual buildings come in and out of focus. Despite the level of detail and amount of content the game runs incredibly well, even on my six-year-old machine. I could see that there was a small amount of performance loss as my city grew, and I feel I maybe only scratched the surface even though I built a city of 16km2 as there are still a host of tiles available to purchase and extend into.
Cities: Skylines is an absolute pleasure to play. Anyone who has watched the Let’s Play videos I’ve put up will have heard me use the phrase “just like that” a lot. And that’s because just about everything in the game is incredibly simple to do, and you are rarely left wanting. This image is an example of that. Dragging a road over a railway instantly creates a level crossing for you. Small things that the game just handles for you. The only exception is not being able to rezone an area for a different type without first dezoning, which causes all the building to demolish. It would be preferable if you could just reclassify a zone and the building switched out as demand for the new type rose. But that’s just a small issue. The game options gives you access to hotkeying almost every command in the game in the manner that suits you best, rather than forcing a particular scheme on you.
I could go on all day about Cities: Skylines, much like I could go on all night playing it. It has restored my faith in the City Building Simulator genre. It’s everything that fans of the genre were hoping for and more. The easily accessible mod tools in couple with Steam Workshop will only make the game better in the future. Paradox Interactive are well-known for keeping their games supported for many years, and it would be assumed that with Colossal Order’s Cities: Skylines they will do just the same.
5 sewage pipes place down river out of 5Cities: Skylines Review (PC),