Building a city can be difficult. Nobody expects you to succeed in this already lively world packed to the brim with popular and famous cities. It won't be easy, you'll need to start small and work your way up, but if you plan ahead, budget popular, and take care of those who enter to call your city home, good things will come in time. This is the ultimate city building test on the PlayStation 4.
Have you ever wanted to build a city that competed with the likes of Toronto, New York, Tokyo, Berlin, or Rome? Maybe you just want to rebuild the small town you grew up in street by street. Regardless of what your ambitions are, you’ll find it’s possible to achieve them and more. Cities: Skylines provides a city building sandbox unlike anything in the PlayStation marketplace. It has a bit of a learning curve, but it’ll get better with practice and a few trial-and-error runs. Originally released on PC, and after migrating to the Xbox One, the game has finally arrived on the PlayStation 4.
To say the game is all about trial and error is keeping it simple. With no tutorial missions or levels, you’re thrown into the chaos of financial and structural management immediately. Of course, you can select an infinite money option as well as unlock all milestones option prior to starting a city. This will obviously make it easier for you, but the challenge of successfully running everything will still be present. You’ll get hints that will help you understand the basics, and if you don’t play with milestones already unlocked then you’ll be unlocking things slowly which leaves room to learn.
I grew up playing city building games and tycoon games on my PC but damn did I have some learning to do regardless. The part that kicked my butt and ultimately drove my first several towns into their graves was not rightfully allocating my starting money to plumbing and electricity. It’s easy to start building roads everywhere and setting one of three zones (residential, industrial, and commercial) to start growing. Everything needs electricity and proper plumbing or people will leave, revenue will go negative, and you’ll have to start over. It’s not hard either once you learn how to do it.
Electricity will come from some form of power producing structure like a power plant or windmills and you can stretch it across the map with power lines. Power will jump buildings and the power lines just need to be within a show proximity to work. In regards to plumbing, you need water intake and then disposal, both of which need to be on a water source like a river (pro tip: don’t pull your drinking water downstream from your sewage). You’ll need to practice weave the two types of pipes into each other without one cutting off the other after a certain point.
Once you get some roads put down, some power running, and some water flowing, the game just kinda takes over. Buildings will auto build (depending on what type you designated to grow there) and you’ll then have to keep everything balanced. Throw in fire stations, police stations, schools, and hospitals to make your citizens safe and happy. As you progress you’ll need to soften the impact of heavy traffic on roads by building better flowing highways and streets, and by laying down some policies that will prevent heavy traffic from auto taking routes you don’t want them to take. Assuming you succeed with all of this for the first hours (maybe a dozen or so) you’ll be working your way to building humanities greatest achievement like the Hadron Collider or a sports stadium. Yes… sports stadiums are just as amazing as technological advancements.
Sound and Graphics
I can’t compare and contrast the PlayStation graphics with the PC graphics, but I don’t imagine that there’s much of a difference. The game looks gorgeous, but obviously doesn’t pull a hovering GTAV effect. It’s a bit simplified but if you zoom all the way in, you’ll be able to essentially stalk someone or follow a car across town, or watch firefighters respond to a house fire. There’s a living world and isn’t that exactly what you want from a city building game? The included expansion allows for night life to flourish as well. With a day and night cycle, you’ll see the streets of your city light up the darkness, and casinos ringing out with heavy drinking and gambling. If you zoom out far enough you’ll hear nothing but wind and the occasional UFO flying around, zoom in and you almost feel like one of your citizens.
Cities: Skylines is easily the best city building experience on consoles, or at least on PlayStation 4. Of course, the marketplace is not exactly flooded with them, the game would still succeed if it were. It’s an extremely well polished game with extreme AI intelligence to clean up and run in a city you provide. It offers a deep form of customization and creativity, and once you learn the basics, it is incredible simple. Whenever I found myself stuck in a situation where I needed to improve my roads, disposal system, plumbing, electricity, etc, there was always a way to fix it (granted you have enough money). If you play smart and you build for the long haul, you will have a city that really does compete with the best in the world. If you can come up with a truly amazing city plan, then you will surpass all other cities in the world, and provide humanity with the most advanced and progressive technologies imaginable. The plot of land is the canvas, it just needs you to do the painting.
+ Best PS4 city building game (although low competition)
– Some missing elements like parking lots
+ Open-ended allowing unlimited possibilities
– Learning curve with arguably little help
+ Polished gameplay that makes sense
+ Attractive to look at even after extended play time