Cities: Skylines - Xbox One Review

Cities: Skylines has successfully stolen quite a few hours of my life and taught me that the urban architecture in my home city leaves a lot to be desired. With its ability to create your own city design right down to the roads and the great detail available on each of your denizens, Cities firmly rivals, and in my opinion passes SimCity. It’s the only game I have even bought computer parts specifically so I could play it. I had to install a heat sink the size of my fist into my computer to keep my core from becoming a puddle of useless metal. Totally worth it though because this game is one of my favorites of all time. However, I’m a firm believer that not everything should be brought over to console. Although the developers did an amazing job in converting a quintessential computer game for the couch warriors, it just doesn't work.

For those of you who haven’t tried it Cities: Skylines is a city builder (duh) that allows you to create vast metropolises or cute farming towns by planning out zoning, building roads and managing your exports and tourism industries. You have to manage the coverage of services like police and firefighters, provide electricity, water and education and craft a public transit system while balancing a budget. Unlike SimCity you can’t call on Godzilla to wreak a town you’re bored with but an hour of bad management or a poorly planned expansion can burn it to the ground just as effectively. The base game is a little bare bones but provides a solid base. As your city grows you’ll encounter more than enough issues, mainly traffic to keep you occupied. Road design is an area of life I would never have expected to google but a few failed cities later I was practically an engineer (who can’t math). I’ve destroyed entire sections of my city like the Avengers on a bender more than once because the design just wasn’t working. It’s a fun, relaxing game that offers a challenge.

At first glance the Xbox version looked the same as my beloved computer version (minus some Steam content). The interface in Cities is clean and easy to use, the mechanics are fairly balanced and the graphics are good (even if cars pass through each other in intersections). I was very impressed that the developers were able to keep this fluidity and simplicity when they brought Cities over to the Xbox. Roads snap pretty easily into place once you get the hang of it. All your building options are available from one menu with a dynamic radial on the triangle button that makes building different roads or similar structures simple. They amped up the size of the information overlay and the text so everything is easy to see and read. It didn’t take long before I felt just as comfortable with the controller as I was with my mouse and keyboard (not an easy game to do that with so props to Colossal Order!).

My first play through I started my city as always, a little industrial space, a little commercial space so workers could buy groceries and McNuggets and a little residential so they would have a place to live. I left expansion space for an eventual highway and kept the noise pollution down with some buffer green space between the houses and the commercial zone. Once my basic city was powered, watered  and built though I didn’t have a lot of cash left. You can take loans out but that only gets you so far. In the beginning of the game you need to sit back and watch while your tax base increases so you can continue to expand. This is where the increase speed button makes is glowing debut. I thoroughly molested my controller looking for it to no avail so I turned to online forums thinking I was just missing something. I was not.

The Xbox version of Cities can’t run on high speeds I’m assuming due to hardware constraints. Suddenly things got frustratingly slow. I went through Facebook, a Bored Panda article and eventually ended up on Pinterest because that's where everything ends. After awhile I finally had some money to expand so I put the phone down and played for a few minutes only to have to pick it back up. I got so frustrated and bored at one point I rage quit. I actually rage quit a city builder game, not a high point in my gaming hobby. After an afternoon of playing I only advanced my city to a population that I would normally have had in about two hours on the computer. I was considering running Cities on the side as I played another game! To me nothing as good as Cities should ever take a second seat to another game, it should have my complete attention. Evidently the developers put a lot of thought into this port only to be hamstrung by Microsoft's lacking hardware.

I love this game and i really hope that it continues being great but I don’t think the console is the place for it. It’s simply too slow to keep interest as it is and efforts to increase the speed might mean a decrease in detail or performance. Maybe upcoming consoles will have the horsepower needed to run this puppy but right now the Xbox is really not up to the task.

Game Information

Xbox One
Colossal Order Ltd.
Paradox Interactive
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Provided by Publisher

Article by Breanna


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