Review: Cities Skylines

By Kevin Gesterling | Follow Me on Twitter:

Drawing Inspiration From The Past

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.

Gameplay

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 rollouts (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.

Dealing with Problems Is A Pain

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 it.

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. And it takes for quite a bit of time before the game has a pop up with the idea to check traffic congestion and put in more roads.  Other things such as why garbage trucks don’t pick up trash might require you to look it up online. Instead of telling just telling you. It is much like the fire issue, make sure you have enough landfills to handle the load. It may seem simple to most, but to a newbie it can be overlooked.

 

Unexplained Complexities

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 have 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. I was going from making a nice penny every pay period. And 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.

A complaint

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 sick with all of the pollutions. So at this point, I am still trying to find the balance between not 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 affect 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.

Conclusion

I will keep trying, and keep playing. Because despite being repetitious, failing at building a successful city keeps my interest. And it will 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 game’s music is repetitive after a while 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 a while but as someone who likes lyrics in their songs, the soundtrack got boring.

If you are looking for a Sim City type of game I strongly suggest this title. You can get it on either PC, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4, they are all worthy of a purchase.

 

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