Review: Cities: Skylines (PS4).
Cities: Skylines is a purebred citybuilder of the cult SimCity, allowing you to play the role of both an urban planner and a mayor of a large metropolis. After years of drought, we have a chance to prove again whether we would rule the city better than our owners, but, as they say, Krakow was not built in a day.
The turn of the 1990s and 2000s was a period when there were many titles that allowed us to create and manage virtual cities. Yes, the mechanics of the game and the realities were varied, but the principle was always one – to create a metropolis that would not only maintain itself, but would also bring more and more profits. The most famous brand from these years is until today SimCitywhich, while allowing the design of modern cities, did not focus solely on commerce. Cities: Skylines it restores our memory of it, offering the same type of sandbox fun and, despite the huge number of brazen borrowings, or maybe thanks to them – also the same joy as before.
However, before we start ruling over a metropolis of millions, we must go a long way, the beginning of which is literally the bare earth. So, quoting the words of the Golców song, “here is stubble for now, but there will be San Francisco”. It is a pity that there is no random map generator, but we have to choose from previously prepared areas. Fortunately, we have enough of them not to complain, and they offer diverse environments and resources that determine the city’s development. Although it may not be so obvious at first, when our city grows, issues such as running water or the availability of energy carriers will be of colossal importance and ultimately determine the appearance and profile of the agglomeration we rule.
As I mentioned earlier, the beginnings are very modest – we run several streets, and then we provide access to water, electricity and sewage networks, because backyard toilets are out of fashion. Then we designate zoning zones, thus creating residential, commercial and industrial areas. Of course, all this should be done wisely – the network of streets must be arranged in such a way as to leave as few empty spaces as possible, even though the maps are huge, covering 36 square kilometers of real land. Later changes to this system will be difficult to implement for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, the game compared to SimCity it no longer offers ready-made city designs and you have to draw everything yourself, but this time it is done really quickly and conveniently, literally with a few strokes. In any case, we start out with a typical American village consisting of farm processing plants, farm workers’ homes, and a few fast food outlets. The town is growing rapidly, and our main task is to meet the needs of residents for individual zones. Eventually, it will grow to such an extent that it will be necessary to divide it into separate districts to make sense of everything.
Everything works as a feedback loop – industry and commerce need workers to operate and bring us money, but residents also need jobs to want to settle with us. By gaining new ranks, we get more and more opportunities: we care about health, education, safety, public transport and the like. Citizens’ demands are also increasing and will eventually become disturbed by noise and air pollution. On the other hand, if the industrial zone is too far from the residential area, entrepreneurs will complain about the lack of workers. If we over-invest in education, we will also result in a shortage of labor, but the shortage of educated people prevents access to many services. The more residents there are, the more regulations are available and loans are available for you to take. Ultimately, it will become necessary to trade with other metropolises to move forward and ensure people live up to our aspirations. As you can see, the creators gave us a whole host of options for shaping our dream city, not flooding us with them right away, so that we would not get lost. Anyway, contrary to appearances, the gameplay is quite simple and pleasant, and the biggest problems with finalizing the budget occur at the beginning of the game, because the expenses are quite large and the income is low, so you won’t be able to do without loans.
Cities: Skylines It runs on the Unity graphics engine, which was old during the PC premiere two years ago, but it fits the game perfectly, because it brings to mind the programs used by urban planners to visualize urban architectural plans. He admits that initially the visual setting even pushed me away, but the more our metropolis grows and thickens, it becomes more and more pleasing to the eye, and the pleasure of following city life is greater and greater. It’s nice to see single-family houses, small shops or factories slowly turning into skyscrapers, large shopping centers and industrial plants. At night, everything hypnotic glows in the glow of electric lighting. Also, the tracing paper-like part of the design is very transparent, allowing you to quickly run a water supply network or public transport lines. The interface was very well tailored to the needs of the console PlayStation 4, so everything is handled quickly and conveniently with instant access to individual information about buildings or management tables. There is nothing to complain about the smoothness of the animation, although its slight drops can be noticed with increased traffic or in the case of wind farms. Sometimes the names of the districts can also get sprung, but changing their borders solves the problem. The production has a Polish language version, unfortunately it does not include all free DLC available for the PC version.
Despite the PC pedigree, Cities: Skylines has settled on PlayStation 4and the gameplay can draw you for a long time. Contrary to appearances, the fun is not complicated and especially developed, but it offers enough opportunities to build the city of your dreams and enjoy its development. However, the lack of ready plans for the largest metropolises in the world hurts a bit.