Sat. May 25th, 2024

Cities: Skylines 2 is here, bringing many updates and changes to the original, beloved, city-planning simulator game, Cities: Skylines​​​​​, which has been around since 2015. The series remains true to its roots with several familiar elements and then adds in new quality-of-life features such as better tools, and entertaining AI enhancements in addition to the stunning new graphics and soundtracks available. It is a truly massive game, five times larger than the original, and yet many of the new changes are seen in the intricate details.

The sequel is scheduled to be released on PC on October 24, 2023, with PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions coming in early 2024. Though it won’t start out with all the extra bells and whistles that more than a decade’s worth of DLCs have provided for the first game, Cities: Skylines 2 has many new features to lay a foundation for an incredible game, with several planned DLCs already in the works for the coming weeks and months. Here are a few of the most exciting changes that have been put in place for the game.

10 Cinematic & Free Camera Modes

To help appreciate the beauty of the graphics in Cities: Skylines 2, there are entirely new Cinematic and Free Camera modes added to the game. In the Free Camera mode, there are many different lenses and filters that can be applied, or even the ability to change the weather, time of day, and more to create the perfect setting for the picture. Cinematic Mode is a video recording feature that provides many detailed tools for creating videos to show off cities or even appreciate natural disasters.

9 Map Themes

Starting a city in Cities: Skylines 2 gives an option to choose from either European or North American themes. The choice of theme will affect street markings, which side of the road citizens drive on, traffic lights, vehicles for city services, and architectural styles. When creating a new zone in the game, this visual style for the buildings can be changed for each residential and commercial zone, allowing for a bit of a mix, but the roads and other thematic differences will be consistent for the whole city.

Related: Cities: VR Review – A Sprawling New Way to Build

8 Climate And Seasons

One of the DLCs for the original game added weather such as snow and rain, and this was such a success that Cities: Skylines 2 launches with climates and seasons as a built-in feature. Climates for maps are based on real-world locations. For example, Lakeland is based on the Finnish city of Savonlinna and River Delta is Shanghai, China. Weather patterns are then tied into the climate and will have seasonal changes throughout the year, with rain, clouds, snow, and even temperature changes noted in the game in ways that will affect the way NPCs act and even how energy consumption within the city is measured.

7 Building Upgrades

Instead of building multiple new versions of service buildings or many of the same ones around an area, Cities: Skylines 2 has a feature that allows players to upgrade buildings to make them more useful. There are also new services such as internet and cell towers added to the game, adding to a more realistic feel.

Related: Every October 2023 Video Game Release Date (All Games Out This Month)

6 Overhauled Progression System

In Cities: Skylines 2, new services, buildings, policies, and more are unlocked through the new system of Development Trees and Milestones. Milestones were seen previously in the first game and were triggered when a city reached a certain population size. Now, Milestones are instead unlocked by Expansion Points that are gained by building, population, and happiness. These Milestones then give points that can be used on the Development Tree to unlock new options or buildings, allowing more of a customized focus on getting the precise types of features that the player wants.

5 Smarter & More Personable AI

Cities: Skylines‘ fake social media, Chirper, is back again, and is made even better by the overhauled AI system that is put in place for the NPC citizens of cities. Throughout the building of a city, players can follow certain individuals and watch their Lifepath of where they live, go to school, work, and even what parks they visit or if they engage in criminal behavior or own a pet. Eventually, the citizens will die, and earn a place in the cemetery where players can mourn their loss.

4 Mods Can Work On PCs & Consoles

Rather than relying on Steam Workshop for mods, with Cities: Skylines 2, there is a modding tool called Paradox Mods which is designed to not only be more accessible for modders but also allow free mods to be supported on both PC and console. The modding community for Cities: Skylines added a considerable amount of content to the game and developers seem to be making positive moves to help encourage that creativity.

Paradox Mods FAQ: “We want to make the creation, uploading, sharing, and downloading experience as smooth as possible for a community that enjoys modding as much as you do”

The Paradox Mods FAQ page offers a lot of information for anyone who is interested in knowing more. It is currently in beta and will launch shortly after the release of Cities: Skylines 2.

3 Economy & Production

As a city-building simulator, a lot of the gameplay is based on the economics of managing a (hopefully) thriving city. This has been redesigned for Cities: Skylines 2 to be a deeper and more intricate system modeled after real-life economic models, though still made to be not overly complicated for those who do not want to get into the minutia. There is a complex economic cycle programmed into the game with extracting resources, production of goods, offices, retail companies, and households. If players choose to delve into the elaborate details of the economics, there is a lot to look at and every seemingly small choice can have a ripple effect.

Despite Cities: Skylines 2 being an extremely involved game, the tools provided are made more approachable in this sequel by providing many options to make roads exactly as wished for and easy to connect, and zoning and building tools are more understandable. There are many tools added to the game that were based on popular player-created mods for Cities: Skylines, particularly for road building.

1 Map Size Is Five Times Larger

The biggest change between Cities: Skylines and its new sequel is the playable area that is available to work with. In the first game, there was a playable area of 5×5 map tiles, 9 of which could be unlocked. Now, in Cities: Skylines 2, each map tile is 1/3 smaller, but there are 441 map tiles available to be unlocked. According to developers, this equates to Cities: Skylines 2 having roughly a five times larger playable area than the first game had, and tiles don’t even have to touch, which can allow for multiple small towns all in one city system.

Source: Paradox Mods

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