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Cities Skylines 2 – Review

From number13

Cities Skylines 2 developed by Paradox Interactive has the potential to become the best city-sim game in the genre, but it has a long wat to go. Built on the foundation of the critically acclaimed first game Cities Skylines 2 improves and adds many mechanics that push the genre forward. However, it is held back by puzzling simulation and performance issues and more. In more ways than one the first Cities Skylines still outclasses the sequel. Despite this I have spent over 35 hours in the game and plan to jump back in for more. Here is my review for Cities Skylines 2.

From Steam

Creator of Worlds

Cities Skylines 2 plays mostly like the other city-sims in the genre. You start by picking a plot of land which vary in terrain and climate. Then you move on to getting utilities like power, water, and sewage set up for your citizens. This is where you move on to setting up the foundations of your city. Where is your main street located? Which area will you designate for residential and which for your industry? All of these questions have answers and the possibilities are endless. For me this is what makes this genre so fun.

Right from the start you notice how much of an upgrade the terrain generation is in Cities Skylines 2 as compared to the first game. The graphics look better giving the terrain an almost photorealistic sheen. These visual upgraded also extends to the city buildings and other assets. The land plots are also way larger allowing for bigger cities than ever before. With bigger cities comes larger populations and Cities Skylines 2 renders each individual citizen with full day to day schedules. Cities for more alive now than ever.

Along with graphical improvements Cities Skylines 2 has made many enhancements to the game systems of the first. They have entirely reworked the upgrade system. Instead of gaining upgrades based purely on city population you now gain experience points from placing roads, gaining population, and upgrading city service building among other things. When you level up you also gain points that can be invested into different city services. These can range from fire services, education, water, electricity, entertainment and more. This new upgrade system allows for a deeper sense of progression for your individual cities.

Paradox has also improved the road building. In the first game the way you built roads was always janky and difficult to work with especially when you were building highways. In the sequel road building is smoother and snaps together better. Highway building is a breeze and the flexibility in the system allows for road types and combinations that were close to impossible to make in the first game.

There are so many quality of life improvements and tweaks to the formula in Cities Skylines 2 that are truly great. They make going back to the first game difficult. They would make the game a true slam dunk if it weren’t bogged down by issues that we will get too. However, when it works Cities Skylines 2 is the best game in its genre.

From Games Radar

2 Steps Forward 1 Step Back 

Cities Skylines 2 is a fantastic game that is held back considerably from how broken it is at the moment. While playing through the beginnings of your city you won’t really notice these issues. However, they start to reveal themselves as your city grows and the simulation becomes more complex. Performance is a big one. At first, my computer handled the game well, but as my cities grew bigger it began to drop frames. I ended up having to dropping my graphical settings. Even with the settings down my computer sounds like a jet engine when playing.

In addition to performance issues the game has some puzzling issues with the way the simulation runs. Let me explain. Since the game is individually simulating each individual citizen in your city there are a lot of complex systems running at the same time. This is fine when your city is small but when your population starts to reach 10’s of thousands of people you start to see cracks. During my playthroughs, I noticed that schools would not employ the correct number of students and cars would pull U-turns even though there were alternate routes, holding up traffic. Traffic would just completely stop if you were working on another part of the city leaving my citizens literally frozen in time. I also noticed that people would not use the parks at all. There are many more issues that I could list that truly break the game in some ways.

It’s mind boggling that the game shipped with these issues especially when the simulation is so essential to the game now. I have heard that it was even worse at launch and to me to release a game in the state that it was released in is unacceptable.

From PC Gamer

Cities of Tomorrow

Cities Skylines 2 reaches for greatness and very often it manages to graze it. However, the game is bogged down by confusing performance and simulation issues that should never have shipped with the game. In spite of this I absolutely adore it. It may seem odd, but it’s true and if they fix the major issues, it has the potential to be a truly spectacular video game.

Cities Skylines 2 is available on PC through Steam and Xbox Game Pass. Don’t miss Caitlyn’s review for Jade City by Fonda Lee and Jaxon’s review of Helldivers 2. For everything else geeky stay right here on Geekwave.


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About the Contributor
Ronny Hammond
Ronny Hammond, Director of Geekwave
Ronny goes by he/him pronouns and is a Junior at the U. He loves to read and write and is currently obtaining his Bachelors degree in English and Game Design. He has a deep love for video games and would always be up talk your ear off about The Last Of Us. You can read up on his game reviews and listen to his guest appearances on the Crimson Gaming Corner and Wishful Thinking podcasts right here on Geekwave.