Cites Skylines is a game that is best described as a Sim City clone, but is it as fun as Sim City was? Read on to find out.
Cites Skylines is a game that really borrows from the idea originally delivered from Sim City by Electronic Arts. Cites Skylines however does something that Sim City never truly accomplished with much success. It jumped onto consoles which in itself could have been a disaster but luckily Cites Skylines ultimately is a hit. Let’s dig in a little.
First off I wanted to say that is was nice to finally purchase a PlayStation 4 game that was not made primarily for online play, Cities Skylines in fact does not even have an online option on the PS4 version, nor does it have any add on content outside of the expansion pack it launched with. Maybe more gets added later but for now what you buy is what you get. Which to me is fine, for only 66.66667% of the price of a new game, that is entirely fine with me.
The game itself starts out pretty well, it gives you an idea on how to play the game with hints and help. It pretty much starts you with the bare minimum to start, being electricity, water, and zoning, and then if you did that right you will eventually reach the first milestone which unlocks more stuff and it really is the same process over and over but with different elements added such as police, fire, city policies, taxes, and so on. The game does a great job with the roll outs (you can choose to have this stuff unlocked at the start on the PS4 version as well as the option to never run out of money, but to me that is cheating) and it really is fun unlocking the stuff over time as your city grows. It really is rewarding earning whatever section you unlock.
The game is fun and it really is a great port from the PC version from the little of the PC version I did play.
The game, however, does have a problem. Not so much a flaw in the code, but more so with how it is presented. If you run into an issue, there is no way within the game to figure out how to fix the problem. For example, if you have buildings burning to the ground and you think you have enough fire stations, you might be frustrated by that fact for quite a bit before it pops up with the idea to check traffic congestion and put in more roads if needed. Other things such as why garbage trucks don’t pick up trash might require you to look it up online, instead of telling you, much like the fire issue, to check the roads and making sure you have enough landfills to handle the load.
All of that can be attributed to being new to the game, however if there is one thing that Cities Skylines has taught me, it is that I am much better with numbers (In this case budgeting fake money) than I am at city planning. Don’t get me wrong, I had success but for some reason in my last attempt before the review I went from having $1.48 million in my bank account and business was booming, then all of a sudden people started leaving the city and out of nowhere my city which was once wildly successful went from 52,000 residents to about 18,000 faster than a judge drops his gavel at the end of a court proceeding. I am still mystified by it, but yet, here I was going from making a nice penny every pay period pretty much straight into bankruptcy thanks to the suddenness of this decline in residents. I tried what I could think of to stop the bleeding, but at the end of the day, it was impossible when your expenses are through the roof like mine were. The thing is, the only way I was making money is if I taxed all parts of my city at 29%, and they understandably left the city after that move.
I wish the game informed me to the reasons why homes and businesses were abandoned when you inspect them, instead all they say is “abandoned” without a reason, surely I could have checked the icons above them to see what they were complaining about, which in the case of the industrial zones was a lack of workers, however in prior cities I had my residents getting sick0 with all of the pollution. So at this point I am still trying to find the balance between making my residents sick, and keeping them close enough to the industrial zones to have them go to work.
I am week into the game and I think 10-15 hours of playing the game and I have yet to figure out the game, so I feel like this is a good time to write the review, while the game is still a challenge, because if I figure out the game and master it, it won’t be as fun to play and I don’t want that to effect the review score. If you are new to the game like me, it will be a good challenge at first and it takes time to figure out the intricate details on how to run a successful city. I was having success before the collapse, and that was fun as well, I was looking forward to seeing how big I could get the city, and I think ultimately I grew faster then maybe I was ready to. It doesn’t explain the sudden drop in my residents, but it no doubt played a huge factor in putting me directly into bankruptcy before I knew what hit me. I tried to close down power plants, fire stations, and so on, but no success was to be had.
I will keep trying, and keep playing, because despite being repetitious, failing at building a successful city keeps my interest until I eventually do accomplish my goal.
Anyway the point of reviews is to be subjective and not blame the game for my own bad luck. So in a nutshell I think the game is really fun, the games music is repetitive after awhile which forced me to play playlists over Spotify after awhile on the PS4 so I can continue to play without the need to listen to the games generic music. Sure it is good for awhile but as someone who likes lyrics in their songs, the sound track got boring.
If you are looking for a Sim City type of game I strongly suggest this title on either PC, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4, they are all worthy of a purchase.
I mean I guess it is hard to mess up a simple concept like this, but Colosial Order and Paradox Interactive hit a grand slam with this game. They perfected this game. The only reason this game gets a 9 instead of a 10 for gameplay is because it has a few skips in the frame rate. Nothing major and can be less annoying if auto-save is turned off, but it is easier to have auto-save on with all of the additions you add to your city.
Steep learning curve but that is what makes the game fun at first, it is hard to tell if the game will have as much appeal if you figure out the basics. Thankfully it is a slow but gradual roll out with the milestones, so there is plenty to do.
Fun Factor: High
The fun factor on this game is going to depend on if you like simulation style games. If you like games like Sim City you will love Cities Skylines if you have not played it yet.
I don’t put much stock in graphics into my final score which is good because the graphics are average, nothing special but decent.
The presentation is a really good, the layout of the overlays and the ease of getting from one menu item to the next is pretty easy once you figure out the control scheme on the console versions. The lack of tutorials and help material is a disappointment because of the fact that the game has been out on PC for two and a half years, a little help section with solutions to players common problems could go a long way, I found myself looking up a few solutions on my phone instead of being able to reference an issue on the game which is a disappointment like I said because the PC version has been out since March 2015, it isn’t like they couldn’t throw together a small guide onto the game considering the game is only 2GB to install to begin with.
I love this game, Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order hit it out of the park, with the near flawless gameplay and bringing in some difficulty which helps create fun factor. You really need to know what you are doing, or else you will not do well. As of this review I am on my fourth city and I can’t say yet that I have been successful with building a city, but I can say that I am having fun trying to build one.
The game isn’t going to win on sex appeal but it will win over fans with how fun it is to play. If there was a genre that could get away with making a not so visually pleasing game this is it.
The lack of an online mode, to me, as an offline player does not bother me. It may some others, but to me, as someone who started out playing games on the original Nintendo, I can live with offline games, and this one is a blast.
I cannot say enough great things about this game, I am playing it still and I am still having a ton of fun with the game.
And for $40, and a small portion of your hard drive, I don’t think you will get more bang for your buck for a new game than Cities Skylines, it truly belongs in anyone’s game collection.