New quality or reheated cutlet? I played Cities: Skylines 2

New quality or reheated cutlet?  I played Cities: Skylines 2

Cities: Skylines 2 is one of the games that, apart from Baldur’s Gate 3 and Diablo 4, evoked the greatest emotions in me and made me count down the days until its release. Did it repeat the fate of the brilliant “Baldur” or the not so good Diablo 4? Here are my first impressions.

All fans of city builders, i.e. games in which we build our cities and then try to manage them in such a way that they do not go bankrupt and that their inhabitants live well, have been waiting for this game for years. Cities: Skylines 2 has hit store shelves and lists on digital platforms. What do some game circles think about the new Legendary part? Here are my first thoughts.

Cities: Skylines 2. It’s good to come back to… a well-known game

At the very beginning, it is worth noting that even though the creators of the game – Paradox Interactive – informed about many differences and new solutions, it will be difficult not to refer to the first part of the game. This is important because, at first glance, both parts of the game are very similar. Surprisingly similar.

At first glance, the game does not differ significantly graphically from its predecessor. However, when you delve into the details, you can see huge changes, and they are changes for the better. First of all, the new mechanics are a plus. A much better road construction tool with a brilliant ability to create blocks and the ease of connecting individual streets. The mechanics of creating intersections and roundabouts will be something players have been waiting for for the first part of the game. After all, you don’t need to use mods for this.

The gameplay is greatly enlivened by the experience points system, which allows you to unlock further services, improvements and decorations. Thanks to it, the game’s creators also alleviated the feeling of overwhelm when the player unlocks subsequent levels of the city. In the first part, especially with many add-ons installed, leveling up meant a flood of new buildings, services, improvements and other possibilities that were lost in the thicket of information. In the second part, we also receive some things from the machine, but the rest we have to unlock for development points. This also creates dilemmas, as the player must decide what to spend the points on and what can wait. For example, we can develop public transport, but at the expense of health care. We can decide to have access to highways and roundabouts, but as a result we cannot build larger parks or stadiums.

Mods added to the game

The first part of Cities: Skylines gathered a very engaged community. Over the years, this has resulted in a lot of mods that allowed not only to create more beautiful cities, but above all introduced new tools for city construction or circumventing not very successful mechanics proposed by the creators. Mods such as Move It or Road Anarchy were used by almost all players.

The creators were well aware of this, which is why they supported the modding community and gave them access to the game code. The community will also be able to show off their skills in the new version of the game. Paradox has already announced that it will also hand over “2” to modders.

It should be noted, however, that the influence of mods from the first version is already visible in the basic version of the game. The creators implemented mechanics that were the most popular in the previous part. The official tools clearly refer to the two most popular mods already mentioned. Solutions such as a “brush” for filling spaces with trees and many other, smaller mechanics were also introduced.

Big problems at the start

After admiring the way the gameplay was designed, it is necessary to point out the game’s biggest problem at the moment. It’s about its terrible optimization. On a computer where I played Cyberpunk 2077 on ultra settings with ray tracing turned on without any problems, Cities: Skylines 2 runs at less than 30 fps on high settings. Yes, the gameplay is extremely tedious.

Smooth play with the new title from Paradox Interactive was possible only after setting all graphic options to minimum. The game doesn’t look bad then, but that’s not the point. Owners of very powerful computers will not want to play this way.

The creators are aware of the problems and see the first reviews of the game. As they claim on the official blog, they work hard to optimize when “Despite their attempts, they failed to achieve their goal”.

To buy or not?

Cities: Skyline 2 is a game that will be a lot of fun for fans of the first part of the game, but thanks to new mechanics and the implementation of some solutions known from mods for the first game, it also has the potential to attract a new crowd of players who will love building and managing cities.

Of course, there are very visible problems with the optimization of the game, but seeing the developers’ approach and knowing their current approach to their productions, we can expect that sooner or later this issue will also be addressed. I’m also looking forward to the appearance of the first mods for the game, which were a revolution in the first part of the game.

Taking into account the title’s deficiencies and problems at the start, but remembering that the game has huge development potential, I give it a safe rating of 7.5/10.

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