For the most part, Cities: Skyline is a familiar — almost too familiar — take on the citybuilder genre. It’s generically contemporary, without any meaningful structure outside the sandbox, and it wears its debt of gratitude to Maxis’ games proudly. It plays out like a piping hot bowl of gameplay comfort food for those of us hip to RCI indicators.
It’s taken a while to realize what sets it apart. At a population of 10,000 or so, you’ll realize the root of many of your problems is buses tangling with trucks and cars and bottlenecked offramps and clustered intersections. As your city grows to the point that these become issues, to the point that you’ll want public transportation to take some pressure off the streets, to the point that adding more garbage trucks might not make it easier to reach the accumulating garbage and, in fact, will just clogs the streets with even more traffic, you’ll appreciate that it all comes down to your road network. Traffic is the foundation for your city. The roads are veins and arteries, the vehicles are its lifeblood.
This is hardly a surprise given that Cities: Skylines was developed by Colossal Order, the folks who made Cities in Motion, a game that looked like a citybuilder but was actually a traffic management sim. Now Colossal Order’s traffic management is spun out into a full game, built from the road network up. Everything in Cities: Skylines comes down to traffic, much like the Impressions citybuilders were premised on walkers roaming a city to deliver goods and services.
After the jump, the three rules of real estate are roads, roads, roads. Continue reading →