Cities: Skylines 2, in all its realism, scale, and perfection, could seem a little intimidating at first. Looking after an entire city is by no means easy business, but thankfully the sequel does a fantastic job at taking care of the little details so you can focus on the bigger picture.
During the short demo available to play at Gamescom, I got to go hands-on with Cities: Skylines 2 and experience many of the elements that it has to offer. There's a plethora of new features up for grabs in the sequel, many of which go above and beyond in making the upcoming city-building simulator feel realistic.
The sequel introduces changing seasons and climates that will affect your residents' moods, customized ambient and city sounds, a realistic economy, updated AI residents, and, thankfully, various roundabouts.
Attention to detail
Cities: Skylines 2 introduces you to the role of an omnipotent god overlooking your bustling new city slowly. Starting with roads, you gradually expand your city with residential and commercial areas as well as, sanitation, electricity, schools, and hospitals. It's only after you master the art of all of these basic functions that you can be let loose to create the city of your dreams.
The demo for Cities: Skylines 2 wasn't anywhere near enough for me to expertly craft the city that I had always wanted. However, I gave it a good go. Living in a small English city that relies on narrow roads, and a confusing one-way system, getting to finally remold my daily commute into something livable was a welcome revelation.
Carefully planning out my new road network was a breeze thanks to the simple and complex curves as well as the new grid system that makes creating whole neighborhoods in a blink of an eye quick and simple. However, maybe one of my favorite new features is the customizable roundabouts that come in multiple sizes. Everyone has their own way of solving traffic problems, and mine just happens to be the implementation of a plethora of roundabouts, a solution that is now finally possible.
The small details have also been ironed out; sewage and electric lines now automatically join via road networks, making distributing essential resources around your city much easier. This means first-time City Scapers will be able to drop into the upcoming sequel with ease.
Another feature that stood out to me had to be the energy system along with power plants. It's no longer justifiable to scatter coal power plants around your city carelessly, as the pollution will now affect residents negatively and could lead to upset citizens or even mass exodus.
So I tried my hand at only supplying my budding city with renewable power, through constructions like wind turbines. However, these also have consequences in the form of noise pollution, so it's not an easy escape from the responsibilities you owe your residents. This being said, building a renewable city is a lot easier now, thanks to a feature that lets players buy electricity from outside sources to supplement their own production.
Overall, every second of playing through the Cities: Skylines 2 demo was thought-provoking and engaging, and I cannot wait to put some serious hours into making the traffic-free and renewable city of my dreams.
If you're a fan of sims like Cities: Skylines 2, then be sure to check out our best simulation games list.