There’s no way to dispute that city planning is a science.
It’s one that games have tried in the past to replicate flawlessly.
True to its name, Colossal Order can find its namesake in its task of carrying on the city-builder dominance it created with Cities: Skylines.
There are several quality-of-life updates here that make building your mega-metropolis a dream, but there are also many logistical nightmares.
Ironing Out The Grid In Cities: Skyline II
Where Cities: Skylines II shines is in its layout and civic planning system.
Your city grid snaps together with a number of preset tools for shape and elevation that make zoning and building effortless.
I admit that as somebody with a shaky hand, I’ve ended up with some pretty ugly and off-kilter city grids that I mostly left instead of bulldozing and trying again. But this is a bonus, as the new XP system rewards you for building, demolishing and rebuilding. Having to try to get alignment just right over and over and over again helps in the long run!
The gird is a fantastic addition to building your city because it allows you to create zoning lines in seconds.
You lay out zones of grey boxes along streets that become your zones.
Whole sections of boxes can be zoned in a single click, with buildings of different sizes and shapes popping up in the residential, industrial, commercial and office styles.
Service buildings and notable landmarks can be placed anywhere you decide but may block zoned buildings if not appropriately placed.
There are also new specialized industries that use resources found on the map. Tapping into these resources will use them in your city to bring costs down, attract businesses, and drive to the area while also being sold as surplus to raise cash.
There’s one section of the game that needs patching ASAP: the game’s internal radio and social media platform, Chitter.
Up first is the in-game radio, which features comical commercials that take a page from the Two Point book in using humourous audio clips as a way to indicate areas where your city is prospering or lacking.
The problem is that these clips are repetitive and are also highly disconnected from what’s happening.
In Two Point Hospital and Two Point Campus, the vibes are very not serious, and the world they speak to is much the same.
Lines like, “patients are reminded not to believe in ghosts” are hilarious when you are watching said patients running from the ghost of some sod who died in your hospital hallway
But when they are simply said over people doing completely normal stuff in the streets below, it doesn’t land the same.
There is an option to turn these off, but then you will need to monitor your tables and Chitter closer, which can also be annoying.
Chitter needs a total overhaul.
It will constantly tell you that people find your city too noisy or that health care sucks, when in reality, that pertains to a one or two percent drop in those and other metrics.
I would suggest to the developers to change the threshold in drop that prompts those messages.
The city beautiful movement
Obviously, the largest of the benefits to Cities: Skylines II is that it follows it’s own form of the City Beautiful movement that’s brought on by the improvement of visual tech that’s happened since the release of the first game.
The current North American and European design schemes look visually stunning and vastly different.
But overall, the game can come off as ugly at times. While skyscrapers and unique landmarks are beautiful, character models and cars — which are substantial parts of the map — really look ugly and outdated.
Cities: Skylines II is sadly in need of a patch for performance.
I have been running the game on a Ryzen 5 3600x and a 3060Ti build that should be able to handle “high” settings in 2K, which is how I’ve been playing this game.
30 to 40FPS has been a pretty standard experience between weather patterns and overgrowth of my city. However, I’ve noticed a significant increase in slowdowns and a couple of all-out crashes since my city has gotten larger.
I’ve also had a few instances where the game has switched from “high” to “custom” on it’s own and has brought down textures and other visual settings, seemingly telling me to hold on there, bud!
Cities: Skylines II does more than enough quality-of-life improvements to justify its existence.
It’s taken a robust handful of visual upgrades between its original release and this sequel to make for one heck of a good-looking game.
There are some performance issues and little bugs here that require patching. However, I’m convinced this will be one of those games the developers and community work in tandem to patch and mod over its lifetime, similar to how cities rely on their communities to do so in real life.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Great quality-of-life upgrades
deeper levels of planning and new resource system
Great city style variation
Could use a patch and some mods
The little comedy commercials to tell you about stats in your city are annoying, not informative