Is it Worth Getting Cities: Skylines 2 now?
For almost a decade, Colossal Order’s Cities: Skylines has dominated the city builder genre and is regarded as one of the best urban planning sims players can pour hundreds of hours into. Its realistic take on constructing and managing virtual cities and incredible mod support set the bar high for city-building games. Now that the awaited sequel, Cities: Skylines 2, is out, fans can’t help but wonder if it is on par with the original or even surpassed it.
Cities: Skylines 2 allows players to manage resources, design road networks, and cater to the needs of virtual citizens. The sequel promises to take building cities to the next level, offering quality-of-life, visual, and technical improvements. But on the day of its launch, it received a mix of positive and negative reactions from the players. On one hand, Cities: Skylines 2 does feel like a game packed with a whole lot of content. But on the other hand, most aspects of the sequel fall short compared to the first game.
Should You Buy Cities: Skylines 2 Now?
Cities: Skylines 2 is one of the most anticipated titles in 2023. Months before its initial release, it gained traction, and several content creators received early access keys for the game to be featured in their videos.
As you would expect in an early access game, it was filled with bugs, lacked important features, and had unpolished gameplay. However, many players were baffled when they still encountered some of these issues, even after its initial release on October 24.
Below, we’ll discuss all the pros and cons of Cities: Skylines 2 to help you decide if you should buy it in its current state.
What Went Wrong
Image Source: Biffa Plays Indie Games (YouTube)
One of the biggest gripes players have with the game is its performance issues. Cities: Skylines 2 suffered from constant framerate drops, freezing, and stuttering that made the game unplayable to some. Most of these problems are now solved after the game’s first patch update, but some still encounter graphic glitches and lags that progressively worsen as their city’s population grows.
Many expressed their disappointment at the devs and publisher’s lack of transparency. Granted, the game’s publisher, Paradox Interactive, admitted in their forums that they had not reached the benchmark they targeted. Avid gamers opted to wait until these issues were fixed. However, casual players have no means of knowing about this information and regret purchasing the game after discovering all its technical issues.
Cities threw off casual players: Skylines 2 lacks proper optimization, as their rigs are not modern enough to make the game feel more responsive. Some would argue that the game can only be optimized if you’re playing it on a high-end gaming PC. However, some claim to encounter performance lags despite having the latest processor and GPU.
Other than that, the lack of asset varieties, limited city themes, and scarcity of decorative props are some of the factors that make the base game feel rough and unpolished.
Not having Steam Workshop support is also a slap in the face, considering free mods and custom creations are usually a big help in fixing a glitchy game’s drawbacks.
What They Got Right
Image Source: Biffa Plays Indie Games (YouTube)
Of course, there are some intriguing and positive aspects of Cities: Skylines 2 that are worth mentioning. Assuming that it runs smoothly on your device, these are the positive qualities you’ll find in the sequel:
Updated Progression System and Road Tools
The game provides many challenges that let players do complex planning and designing to make a beautiful metropolis. Cities: Skylines 2 also focuses more on managing your city, placing you in charge of making it functional and thriving. More features can be unlocked the more you progress. Now, you get points when you achieve a milestone, and you can spend it to unlock more services and policies.
Building and merging roads has now become more simplified and flexible. Roads can be easily bent and snapped to other angles, zoning grids, or existing roads, allowing players to create unique and intricate road networks within minutes.
Enhanced Traffic AI
The sequel’s traffic AI was a massive step up from the original. Vehicles can now change lanes if they’re on a crowded highway. The possibility of traffic jams is now reduced, as vehicles can finally find an alternative route to reach their destination faster.
Also worth noting is how they improved the Public Transport system. No longer will civilians prefer their cars over public transit. Therefore, investing in public transit stations and depots will be worth your time and money since civilians will now be more inclined to use buses, trains, and trams for transportation.
Another aspect of the game that changed significantly is its aesthetics. The citizens, buildings, and overall surroundings look more detailed. While some prefer the cartoony graphics of the first game, others are quite happy with the sequel’s realistic-looking assets found all over their bustling cities.
If you like taking pictures of your creations, you’ll be glad the camera tool now has two modes: Free Camera Mode and Cinematic Mode. In Free Camera Mode, you can capture still images and manipulate the camera’s filters, shutter speed, lens, etc. Cinematic Mode lets you record videos and tweak the camera properties. The improved camera tool lets players take a picturesque shot of their city they can post and flaunt online.
The Status Update So Far
Image Source: JumboPixel (YouTube)
Cities: Skylines 2 initial release can be compared to SimCity’s catastrophic launch in 2013. The once-successful franchise faded into oblivion after gaining a bad reputation for releasing an unplayable Simcity reboot.
Thankfully, the makers of the Cities: Skylines series are determined not to let the franchise get demolished just like that.
Paradox Interactive quickly addresses the issues, working with the developers to rectify their shortcomings. Just recently, they released an update that fixes a couple of the known technical problems. Some aspects that caused performance issues, such as the fog, depth of field, and global illuminations, are now optimized in the hotfix.
The developers put a lot of work into improving Cities: Skylines 2’s gameplay experience. Unfortunately, their efforts were overshadowed by the technical problems that caused adverse effects on the game’s overall quality.
In cases such as this, it would have been a wise decision to delay the launch of the game. Many players comment on how Cities: Skylines 2 feels more like an early access version instead of a fully released game. The good thing is that the devs from Colossal Order seem to be working diligently to refine the game.
It’s always a good idea to wait if a game has issues that can impact your enjoyment. This can give the developers time to release patches to improve the game’s performance and stability. Ultimately, it depends on how powerful your hardware is or how patient you are.
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