Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines is a game that many gamers should check out, even if they’re not usually fans of games like this.

By AyePal, Posted 09 Apr 2015

SimCity seems like some old forgotten relic, and I’m not talking about the 1989 version! EA’s 2013 SimCity was nothing short of disastrous and a shining example of how not to release a game. Unlike SimCity, Skylines was playable and most definitely enjoyable upon release. The graphics are of high quality and have an appealing stylization and you can let your imagination run amok for hours, building marvellous cities. Many gamers hoped that EAs take on the classic Sim City would hit them with a wave of nostalgia, bringing them back to the great age of city building sims!  I was a big fan of the Cities XL game, but was hugely let down the the XXL sequel which was basically just a copied and pasted version of XL with a few added extras.

Cities: Skylines,Review,Paradox Interactive,Screenshots,Gameplay,Cities,Tutorial,Zones,Tools,City Building,Simulation

I didn’t have the luxury of being able to play Skylines on my desktop PC so I was a little wary as to whether or not the game would run smoothly on my laptop, considering my systems specs were just under the requirements.  However I didn’t really notice much of an issue when it came to performance, my laptop started wheezing a little more than it usually does, but other than that the game ran smoothly.

One of the things that stuck me the most while playing Cities: Skylines was how development you could put into the game as well as the diversity of different cities you could create. I had a lot of fun playing around with the road tool. Roads are very critical to the success of your city, and if laid out wrong, they can have extremely detrimental consequences. One of my cities became so clogged that the sanitation services couldn’t get all of the garbage out of the city. Little things like this are great when conveying the sense of a huge bustling city, even when things start to get out of control. The current maximum size of the map is 18x18km but there are mod currently released which can increase it to 50x50km. This is a huge step forward from what I’ve been used to in the old games and although the game makes you feel like you’re isolated to a small area, you quickly unlock the ability to purchase more land to further expand your city. One thing I would have liked to have seen within the landscape mode was a simple terrain editor, which would let you mould around your built up environments. With that said, there is actually a terrain tool in the map editor, which allows you to build up your own environments and upload them to the Steam Workshop.

Cities: Skylines,Review,Paradox Interactive,Screenshots,Gameplay,Cities,Tutorial,Zones,Tools,City Building,Simulation

Once you zoom down from the heights of your towering skyscrapers you’ll be able to truly appreciate the levels of detail which have went into the game. You can section off different areas using the District tool which gives each zones its each distinct properties. By controlling policies in each area, you can create a more prosperous district within your city. For example, in large industrial areas you can give companies tax incentives in order to create growth.  Zoom in even further and you are able to see the individual citizens walking around going about their daily lives. Each one has a name, a job (hopefully), and a home. Sometimes I would spend 10 minutes or so following one individual citizen, seeing them take different modes of transport and walking their dogs.

After the first couple of hours playing the game it became apparent that road management was going to be a huge factor in the successful running of my city. It seems like some built in puzzle can be rather hard to get to grips with but leaves you feeling satisfied when you’ve done the right thing. I began my first city by creating sporadic road layouts that led to huge conjestion problems as the city began to grow larger. After things began to get a bit clogged up I created a bypass around my housing area of the city which allowed the workers from the outskirts of the town to get to their work without traveling through the already clogged up suburban areas. Once my city got even bigger, creating more roads was no longer an option. The only other solution was to start to plan out public transport routes. After more and more people began using buses and trains the congestion within the city began to ease off.  Roads may seem straightforward and easy to get to grips with at first, but the eventually become and nuisance, getting the way of your creative mind. Buildings can only be placed along the tiles next to a road which makes the system great for grid patterns but means that when you want to create a unique layout for a district in your city you are limited to what you can design, because every building (including bus stops and subways) have to placed next to a road.

Cities: Skylines,Review,Paradox Interactive,Screenshots,Gameplay,Cities,Tutorial,Zones,Tools,City Building,Simulation

First you get some houses built, and then you move onto power, jobs, services etc. and you really do get caught up in the management of it all, frantically looking around the screen trying to figure out what needs your attention next. The game progresses steadily and lets you slowly learn the mechanics of the game while building up towards bigger and better building. I personally played for around 6-7 hours before I realised that I better stop playing and get some work done!

As far as difficulty goes it didn’t feel like the game posed too much of a challenge. This can be a good thing however. Because the game doesn’t bog you down in over complicated gameplay, it allows you to sit back and enjoy the city building process. Different UI elements are well laid out and you won’t get lost trying to build you city. In my opinion, it’s the mechanics and controls that can make or break a city builder game. However, it seems to be something that developers Colossal have taken great care in getting right. They’re intuitive and don’t leave you feeling confused.  The game also has built in modding tools which is great to see, and may even let us see some even crazier cities in the future!

Overall I feel that Cities: Skylines is a game that many gamers should check out, even if they’re not usually fans of games like this. It’s also one that developers should take note of, especially EA. Although the game doesn’t match the graphical quality of SimCity, I feel this isn’t really something that should put the game down as I had 3 times as much fun playing Skylines as I did SimCity. Going into the building of a city without a plan seemed like one of the funniest ways to play the game as it gave my cities an appealing sporadic look, instead of a boring grid pattern. Although, if you are planning on having a specific plan for your city, such as mapping out an existing one, the game certainly provides the tools for you to be able to do that as some gamers have already shown, including one replicating the city of Los Santos from Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto 5.

Stuart Vivers, NoobFeed

comments powered by Disqus


General Information

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Paradox Interactive
Developer(s): Colossal Order Ltd.
Genres: Simulation
Themes: City Building
Release Date: 2015-03-10

View All

Popular Articles