Today we revisit Cities Skylines, the city builder simulator/game (for computer and now consoles). Remember? It’s that game that tried to replace SimCity 2013 and for many of us, was successful for the most part. I have reviewed Cities Skylines in the past but there have been quite a few expansion packs and mods released since then so I figured it’s a great time to get a fresh look at the game and what I think about it in 2018.
Criticisms and Recommendation
While I do not hesitate to recommend this game especially for you who enjoy computer city builders like SimCity, I haven’t shied away from noting some frustrations with the game as well. And at that time, the primary feature I have needed to force myself to overlook is the non-American influence and look of the in-game building models, vehicles, signage, road and track styles (Cantenary lines), etc no option to change them without mods. Of course, since this game was made in Europe I can kind of understand the European influence but this isn’t always the case with games no matter who makes them. (Police 10-13 for example is being made in Australia and as far as I can tell, appears to be quite American.)
Now it’s 2018 and Cities Skylines remains the only city builder for computer that has withstood the test of time and in my opinion has only gotten better. There are expansion packs and DLC which enhance the game. I will only be commenting on the expansion packs I have installed.
There is After Dark, which brings a few night related policies and styles to the game. Snowfall, which brought snow-covered maps to the game, including trams for any map but did not bring us seasons, more on that later. Match Day adds a Futball/Football stadium, which in America we refer to as Soccer. There is the Mass Transit expansion which notably adds some more transportation options, such as Blimps, Large Airport, Taxi, Monorails, Cable Cars suspended from a cable (not to be confused with San Francisco cable cars) and ferries. The final expansion pack I have installed as of this post is Natural Disasters. The Natural Disasters Expansion features as you might assume naturally occurring ways to destroy your city (then rebuild it), such as flaming Meteor, Earthquake, Tsunami, Forest Fire, Building Collapse, Sinkhole, Lightning strike and Tornado. In addition to some disaster related buildings and options, this expansion also adds helicopter air support including police patrol, fire, search and rescue and medical choppers to the game. Green Cities is the most recent expansion pack to be released which I can’t comment on since I don’t have that one, yet.
What Do I Really Think of the Expansion Packs?
In my opinion, all of the expansion packs offer something important to enhance the overall game-play of Cities Skylines. For example, in the Snowfall expansion pack the included trams are a necessity if you want to build a proper city. SimCity 2013 included trams by default so SimCity fans will love having trams from the Snowfall expansion. Mods will let your download custom trams (such as this awesome cable car from San Francisco by stockjr97) which enhanced the city experience. I recommend picking the Snowfall expansion pack up on a sale (either Steam or the Paradox website). Also as the title suggests, snow is included but not as a season. (boo hoo)
Neglecting seasons or at least Winter/Summer city building on the SAME map is a mistake because even the Sims 3 has snow and summer on the same map. Right now, with Snowfall, (without mods in the game) a Winter map must be chosen in order to see snow and to enjoy some included winter parks such as an ice rink, ice sculpture park snowman park, sky lodge, curling, snowboarding, Christmas tree and more. Water line heating has also been introduced with this expansion but I have not experienced it as a necessity on a non Winter map.
Mass Transit expansion is a must for the added transportation options it brings to the game even if you don’t want to use them all at the same in your cities (but we try, right?). Why wasn’t trams included with this pack? I’ll try to understand, it’s about marketing.
In my opinion, the Natural Disasters expansion is fantastic simply for the helicopters which get added to the game! Random disasters can be turned off in the options menu and just as in SimCity, any disaster can be summoned at will whenever—if you so choose. (Although I have noticed a curious increase in tree fires in my city since I have installed this pack). However if you do unleash a disaster or two, remember you might want to save your city first. (by the way Paradox, we want Alien UFO’s and a large monster to eat the buildings)
In the After Dark expansion, I am not totally sure all that it does but it will include a prison, prisoner transport van, nice hotel, casino, and some policies as they relate to tourism and leisure especially after dark. Oh I get it, After Dark! (by the way, the day/night cycle was already included in the game for free in an update.)
So is Cities Skylines better in 2018? The short answer is an obvious yes but mostly because of expansion packs and mods. The modding community has been busily creating more great content and in my opinion necessary content to the game. I may need to do a post about that soon.
Do you play Cities Skylines? What do you enjoy about Cities Skylines? Let me know in the comments!
Cities Skylines Disasters expansion on Steam
Image source from my in-game screenshots