Review: Cities: Skylines – PlayStation 4 Edition (PS4)

Review: Cities: Skylines - PlayStation 4 Edition (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC, Mac, Linux

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • Blu-ray Disc
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Cities: Skylines – PlayStation 4 Edition
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (1.95 GB)
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Colossal Order
Original MSRP: $39.99 (US), €39.99 (EU), £34.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

I’ve been a fan of the city building and management simulation games since SimCity appeared on the PC and then later on the Super Nintendo featuring the crazy green-haired Dr. Wright.

Many years later and lots of iterations in between, SimCity 4 gets released on the PC and it becomes one of the few games I get for my personal computer.

It had several new features, one or two were good but most ruined the experience and annoyed fans of the beloved series. As the studio was closed and the developers moved onto other things my hopes for a PS4 console version were all but shattered.

Then a new game from Colossal Order appeared on PC and looked very promising, but any signs of a port did not seem likely. How wrong was I? Take a look at how it shaped up below and see if this console version is worth your time.

Gameplay:
The first thing to know when you load a new game of Cities: Skylines PlayStation 4 Edition is that all of the roads are greyed out aside from the standard one, once you place that however, the others open up, well some of them anyway. I know why the developers did this, but it just becomes an inconvenience.

Now that I have all of the issues out of the way let me get down to the good stuff. “What, that cannot be all there is?” I hear you cry. Well, wipe those tears away as there are one or two instances of difference that I am accustomed to from the SimCity series that I would like to see in this one. Aside from that, I find it difficult to fault this game.

This being a PC port the controls were a concern of mine and it must have been difficult to translate them onto a DualShock 4. Thankfully it has been done in a way that feels comfortable and natural and after mere minutes of play, I was placing roads and zoning like a professional City Planner. Only much cooler and with very little red tape.

With the help of a few pop-up radial menus, I can easily access everything needed to sculpt my dream city. The are a few ways to zone the different building types. Each one offers a degree of precision or speed but all are easy and problem free. There’s a grid system but it appears next to a new road so I did have to adjust my way of thinking in order to get the parallel streets that I’m so used to.

Road types can be changed with a simple menu selection and any issues are highlighted so you know what to address before the citizens get too annoyed and move out. That being said, the game seems to be easier than others in the genre, either that or my people are of a stronger stock and can take more before they break.

“Bring out your dead, bring out your dead” is what I imagine the hearse drivers were yelling as they drove around my city as I finally figured out how to stop the dead from piling up in the streets. It turns out the graveyards aren’t cosmetic and actually get full. When that happens there’s only one thing to do and that’s the same thing when the garbage dump is full? Burn it!

Hold on, that didn’t sound right. I meant build a crematorium of course, and start emptying them into that. Not chucking them on a bonfire or into the rubbish incinerator, that wouldn’t be very nice. Although I’m not too sure the relatives would be happy either way, I don’t care, this is a game after all.

I have learnt to section off newer parts of my city, each with their own power supply and even water and waste filtration systems. It means I suffer from fewer outages and problems. Thankfully the maps with the extra land I purchase during the game are large enough to accommodate several regions. The money doesn’t come out of my current funds, which is nice as the land costs a small fortune.

Creating districts is a simple affair and it means you can specify their type and easily get the kinds of buildings you want. With a few button presses, I had a leisure district with amusements, clubs, and theatres. It looked great but the extra nightlife meant I had to set up a few bus routes and some taxi ranks to cope with the increased demand.

The bus routes are another painless process and having them all start and end at a bus terminal means the coverage is great and it keeps everyone happy. Placing a subway is easy too and before I knew it I had an extensive system that reminded me of the London Underground, only better and not as smelly.

Either the railway mechanics need some tweaking or I need to figure out a better way of handling them as most of my trains get stuck in the stations due to the tourist trains trying to squeeze in. Being able to add a platform or two would be great. It reminds me of the classic Transport Tycoon game, only with better graphics.

I spent twelve straight hours building one city, expanding and tweaking it to near perfection. There’s always something to do, from adding a fire station to building a dam. Although the further I got into the gargantuan game the more I had to focus on the garbage filling and emptying, I didn’t want to be a binman.

All joking aside this is a fun and engrossing game that manages to entertain me for too long each time I jump in for a quick go. I can always tell if I’ve been playing too much when my wife sighs and says “Oh, you’re playing ‘that’ game again.” after poking her head into the room at four in the morning.

Visuals:
I’ve always loved the sprawl of the metropolis in these kinds of games and Cities: Skylines has the most impressive sights. Graphically speaking, the last iteration of SimCity was a little nicer in some regards, however this game is no slouch.

The Unity engine allows you to zoom in and out with Superman like speeds and panning the camera is just as nippy too. I had grown a vast expanse of buildings ranging from small homes all the way up to skyscrapers and a swath of parks and utility buildings dotted in between. All of this and the game wasn’t phased.

I was following a man walking his dog which was fun since you can name almost everything in the game. They were going for a nice evening stroll along the sea front. I then got distracted by a cop car out on patrol, which can be named too, and followed that around for a few minutes. Then I had an alert about my garbage tips being full, back to work I guess.

Sewerage spills out into the rivers or lakes depending on where you put the outflow pipe and it looks disgusting. Seeing it turn the nice clean water a putrid brown makes me long for a water treatment plant, which is accessible after hitting certain requirements. There are several nice little touches like this that make the city feel alive.

Audio:
A soft tune plays in the background and you will hear other contextual sounds based on where the camera is. Get close to a small residential street and the indistinct sounds of children playing and dogs barking can be heard. Alternatively, focus on a busy commercial area and the garbled sounds of a swarm of pedestrians and car horns will be heard.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Cities: Skylines PlayStation 4 Edition has become my favourite city building and management game. It’s my new obsession and it’s what SimCity 4 should have been. I would have liked more DLC than just the After Dark expansion included in this entertaining game but I’m crossing my fingers for the rest to come down the line. You need to grab this game, you will not regret it.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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