Developer: Tantalus Media
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Platforms: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
Rating: E for Everyone
One of the most popular city-building titles, Cities: Skylines, came to the PS4 system on August 15th, 2017! Whether it will leave the same legacy that its PC version has achieved is yet to be seen, but for many fans of this genre, there is no doubt that this will be another favorite to enjoy.
The only spiritual content in game is a cathedral building option. However, if you desire to build churches, PC mods on Steam Workshop is the better way to go. I hope console version will be able to support mods in the future too.
You will encounter crime in the city at the beginning of the game, and a police station is the very first building you will need to reduce crime rates. A healthy safe city is encouraged, while crime and violence are things meant to be put down.
Healthy city, happy citizen, educated population, eco-friendly environment and smooth system functions are promoted throughout the gameplay experience. Positive growth of both city building and citizen satisfaction are encouraged.
We rarely see PC city-building games invading the console world. When they do, they must adapt to the console gaming system. Tropico is another popular series in the city-building genre, and Tropico 5 performed well on PS4 after stepping into console market by adjusting the gamepad controls. Similarly, the interface for Cities: Skylines on PS4 made many changes to adapt button mapping. Unlike Tropico 5, the user interface of Cities: Skylines appears to be more straightforward and less confusing; for example, “square” is for delete, “D-pad” is used to select building items, and “triangle” chooses style options. The one thing that I felt frustrated by was the control of left stick, which is supposed to be the building direction and angles. I found it really hard to aim precisely where I wanted to go, especially when building roads.
Cities: Skylines is a total sandbox experience, which means that there are no concrete missions or directional quests to follow, no random events from outside world to force you make certain decisions. Your ultimate goals are to make your citizens happy and healthy, and to make your city prosperous at the same time. In the process, you have to be self-motivated to complete the game. If you can endure the self-directed mechanic, then you will find the sense of accomplishment to continue on.
There is no official formal step-by-step tutorial in the game of Cities: Skylines. After you select a map and start a new game, you will start building on your own with occasional hints on the screen. Fortunately, you first start with one small area and the game will gradually help you to expand your city territory when your city becomes developed enough. If you only care for building casually, free-build style with all unlocked items and buildings is the way to go. Unlimited resources will be also recommended if you just want to finish your dream city as soon as possible. Different maps have various stats for resources and suitable building areas. Carefully choosing the one which suits you the most will impact the gameplay difficulty accordingly.
Imagine you are building your dream city from scratch in a small area and, you plan out your roads, water pipes, and electric towers. You map out the residency, commercial, and industry areas. While your population grows larger, your citizens will have more needs to be met, the city will become more complex and advanced, and more elements will need to be considered or balanced. That is how Cities:Skylines works, in a very realistic way.
In order to build your city smoothly with the least pain and trouble, focus on managing money efficiently while prioritizing the urgent needs of your citizens rather than simply building things on a whim. It will take some trial and error in the first couple hours due to the moderate learning curve. After you get the hang of it, you will be ready to face the challenges of building an efficient city. It may feel repetitive when you have to start a new city many times, but fortunately, it will take a long time to fully unlock all the items and areas in the game based on the milestones you achieve. Despite the hardships and challenges, watching your city grow and your citizens live their everyday lives makes every step of building and managing worth it. You may start from a small town in the middle of nowhere, but along with time and effort, your town can gradually rise up to be a shining star of the world with dynamic transportation systems, unique monuments and complex taxation policies.
The pure joy in Cities: Skylines is found in its straightforward but dynamic building experience, and its adaptation on console can be called a success. It may not be the gem for everyone since it does require a lot of self-motivation and self-direction for a sandbox game, but If you are a city builder with determination and a sense of organization, this is the game for you. Hopefully all the DLC and expansions will be available in PS4 store soon.
The Bottom Line
It may not be a gem for everyone since it does require a lot of self-motivation and self-direction for a sandbox genre, but If you are a city builder with determination and organization, this is the game for you. If not, other more directed city building options may be a better choice.