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Cities: Skylines is more like SimCity than SimCity

Hayden Dingman | Dec. 18, 2014
With EA busy polishing a hot turd instead of rejoicing at a true SimCity successor, I guess it was only a matter of time before someone else decided to take the lead. Last week I got a brief look at Paradox and Colossal Order's upcoming city builder, Cities: Skylines, and it looks at this stage like everything the SimCity sequel was not.

In fact, the only thing I didn't like about my time with Cities: Skylines is that buildings are tied to roads, the same as the recent SimCity. You lay out roads, and then zoning areas automatically appear. I assume this is because of the curved roads, but either way it's a bit of an annoyance.

However, the game makes up for it by adding in a complex water simulation system. Apparently Colossal Order worked with a research scientist on this feature, simulating dynamic water systems. That river in your city? It's not just for show. Your city will actually get its water from upstream, and then flush its sewage downstream. You could probably do the reverse too, but I wouldn't recommend it.

You can even affect the flow of the water by, for instance, building dams to generate electricity while simultaneously drying up areas downriver. Unfortunately there won't be any disasters in the game at launch, so no building a dam and then destroying it to watch your loving populace die. You monster.

It's an ambitious title, for sure. I'd go so far as to say it's the SimCity I thought I was getting from EA. It's not as pretty, but I'll trade a tilt-shift effect for a deeper simulation any day.

And as a bonus: The game will have Steam Workshop support, and Colossal Order really means it. You'll be able to model your own buildings and all sorts of other wild things, so if you really want to make that one-to-one scale replica of Manhattan? Well, you could. That's the opposite tack from EA's DLC-heavy approach to SimCity.

Competition is a great thing.


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