Cities: Skylines is absolutely the best city-builder I’ve played since SimCity 4. From macro to micro, from the sprawling transport networks and city-wide policies to the fine-tuned districts and street-level detail, it impresses.
As limber as Cities: Skylines is, it’s sorely lacking in replayability. Instead, it lets you get the most out of your favorite city by encouraging you to endlessly optimize and furthermore giving you the tools you need to do it. Come for the ant farm spectacle and spreadsheet detail. Stay for the endless cultivation of your favorite garden.
This game is potential wasted. It has great graphics, asset creators, and is almost perfect for those who just like to create cities to look at. If you want a city simulator, though, Cities: Skylines falls flat on its face.
There is very little content in the vanilla game. To actually have a good experience, one needs to purchase a load of DLCs. The graphics, while better than some games, are not optimized for all but the most high-end computers. Even with the lowest graphics settings, I struggle to get more than 5fps. To make this game playable, one needs mods, which is unfortunate for such an expensive game.
The simulation is not realistic, and does not represent how actual cities work. It is very hard to go bankrupt, even on the hardest settings, and one spends the whole game fixing traffic around freight rail stations. Additionally, big deathwaves come through the city, and kill off half of your population every now and then for no reason. There is no mixed-use zoning. You can't have streets without cars. You can't have alleyways, or canals, or a lot of the things that make real-life cities good. Transportation is basically swept under the rug, and the way people get around shares no resemblance to real-life.
There is a lot of potential here for the ultimate city-building game. Unfortunately, there are a few humongous flaws that hold it back.
SummaryDeveloped by Colossal Order, Cities: Skylines offers sprawling landscapes and maps with endless sandbox gameplay and new ways to expand your city. Key to progression is the ability to influence your city’s policy by incorporating taxation into districts. All this plus the ability to mod the game to suit your play style.