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City Skylines: what SimCity should’ve been
The guys at Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order must’ve bought SimCity in 2013 and thought:”This is crap!” Unlike many of us, they didn’t go online and complain about the atrocities in the game, they decided to make their own version. City Skylines is better than SimCity in almost every aspect.
It is inevitable to make the comparison between the 2 games, because they look so much alike. Yet, SimCity would be the evil twin and City Skylines the angel that everybody in the family loves.
City building at its finest
For those of you that are not familiar with this genre, in Cities Skylines you build a city from scratch. You decide what areas will be residential, and which ones will be commercial. Where to put schools, hospitals, and police stations, it’s all in your hands.
If you want you can use coal as a source of energy, allocate vast amounts of land to industry, and build no police stations. The result: a dirty city with a lot of crime. Obviously, you can also do the exact opposite, invest in wind power, build parks, and so on.
The bigger your town gets, the more facilities you will get at your disposal. This way your small countryside town can grow out to become a metropolis with skyscrapers, and tons of people roaming the streets.
But Cities Skylines is not only about building roads and residential areas. Once people move in, you have to govern the town as well. Make sure to tax them enough so you gain money, which will help you expand. But don’t overcharge them, or your city will become a ghost town. Money is always an issue in Cities Skylines, so keep an eye on that. You can take out a loan if needed, but obviously, you’ll have to pay it back with interest.
In clear menus you can allocate the entire budget of your city to each specific area. Do you own more garbage fills than you need? Just lower the budget a bit and safe some money. Crime is running high but you can’t afford to build another police station? Allocate more budget to your police squad and let the buses sort themselves out with less money.
Better than SimCity
Cities Skylines lets you allocate districts, which makes it easier to oversee your city once it starts growing big. When your city is 36 square kilometers big, you can use all the help you can get to keep it organised. Besides knowing where is what, you can also give each district different policies. This way you can give industrial areas benefits or disallow high rising buildings in your cosy little suburbs. If there’s a lot of crime in one area, legalize recreational drugs!
Massive, yet eye for detail
Once you get your city growing, it really starts to look like an American city. Skyscrapers in the center and wide streets in the suburbs. The graphics of City Skylines are outstanding! Everything looks great, especially when you zoom in to street level. Traffic is well organised, people walk the sidewalks, shops have interesting signs out to lure people in. In other words, the cities in Cities Skylines are really alive.
It is a real delight seeing your town evolve from nothing to a huge metropolis. The bigger it gets, the more beauty you see in it. It also takes quite a while, so you might start to get attached to your city too. But the colorful graphics and soothing music sure help you enjoy your building experience.
What could possibly go wrong?
Unlike SimCity, you won’t have to worry about disasters hitting your city in Cities Skylines. Everything you build is safe. This is reassuring, but after a while it does get a bit boring maybe. Nothing exciting happens in your town. Everyone seems to be too happy in that Utopian city you created. And no matter what you try, the citizens seem pleased to have you as a mayor.
Sure people tweet about complaints (the game has an internal Twitterlike app), and you’ll see a grumpy face when you build a landfill site next to a house, but those are only individual complaints. It is practically impossible to get the whole town so mad they hit the streets or just leave town all together.
That being said, playing Cities Skylines proved to be a happy experience, so why shouldn’t the residents of your city share in that happiness too?
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