Cities: Skyline 2, my thoughts

Cities: Skyline 2 released a few weks ago, and among a lot of other things I have spent some time tinkering with the new game. And boy I have comments!

The guys over at Colossal Order and Paradox Interactive have done a huge job facelifting Cities:Skyline, lifting the game to new heights. I will go through a series of topics to compare with the previous game, and give my thoughts. To make it easier I’ll break them down into a few categories.


Zoning is an area where the game have had a huge facelift. There are now a much longer range of zones to choose from, and the zone demand have been more fleshed up. You can now easilly choose the style of a zone when selecting the zone to build, with European and North American styles coming with the base game. Residential zones comes as Low Density, Medium Density, Row Housing, High Density, and Mixed Zoning, while commercial and offices each comes with Low and High density, in addition to Industry where there are no differences (yet?).

What I miss from this was the specialized commercial and office zonings that came with DLC’s in CS1. It would be interesting to be able to build a dedicated Financial or IT Cluster zone. For example.


Industry have had a huge facelift. The normal industry builds generically according to a completely rebuilt supply/demand product chain. There are a lot more raw materials and end products for consumers, with different production chains from raw materials to end product, the same raw material can be used in different products and some end products can be achieved through different product chains.

There have been added more specialized industries. These feels like a much better version of the Industries DLC, without that level up/upgrade game that followed each type in Industries DLC. Dynamically draw the production zone of a farm or a quarry enables building realistic looking industries, something the square farm fields and forest plantations of Industries DLC completely messed up.

Roads and Highways

Roads and highways have been seriously revamped. Now you can build roads crossing multiple roads forming natural intersections in the process. Upgrading a road can also allow you to shift the center line of the road, i.e., adding a new lane you can choose on what side of the road the new lane should come. Some tools from Traffic Manager:President Edition (TM:PE) have been included into the game, though there are others I really do miss. Also, I struggled for some time to figure out how to alter direction of asynchronous roads, but finally did figure that out. The tools I miss from TM:PE and MoveIt is a downer, but I guess these mods will be some of the first to appear in the workshop.

Public Transport

The Public Transport engine seem to be completely rebuilt. Combined with the removal of pocket cars, you can now really make a Transport focused town. You get access to bus quite early on, and you can make bus connection to outside as soon as you build your first bus stop. I was a bit disappointed that many of the Public Transport options from CS1 have been removed, though I guess future DLC’s can remidy this.

I like the multi-modal expansions made for some of the transport terminals, but I feel many modes also still are missing. For example, I could build a Subway platform under the train station, but I was not able to expand the train station with a bus terminal. I hope this can be solved with future updates or mods.

Milestones and Progression

I like that Milestones now are based on Experience, and that in addition to population growth, you get Experience from building, that will allow for both fast paced games where you build quickly and slow detail builds to reach milestones. Detailers might actually reach milestones on relatively low population.

Game progression have also been altered. Each milestone unlocks a few things, a money grant, increased loan limit, Expansion Permits (not to be confused with Experience as I would abreviate both xp), and Development Points. The development points can be spent to develop the different skill trees that have been unlocked. If your town is land locked, you can decide not to use development points on ships and rather spend them on improving education, or something else. This allows for a much more detailed tailoring of your city, specially early on. It also introduces a different challenge, how to prioritize your development.

Hardware Requirements

This is one of the biggest blows I have against the game. My Razen 5800X nVidia 1660Super gaming PC had absolutely no problems running Cities: Skyline. I could have thousands of assets and mods loaded, and the game ran.

When I first started CS2, I tried to run the game in Normal graphics mode. The positive thing was that this didn’t seem to affect simulation, though the game became quickly unplayable due to low framerate, skips and jumps in animations, and several assets being dropped and replaced with gray clouds.

Therefor I reduced all the settings to potato mode settings. All graphics settings to a bare minimum, turn off weather, etc. The game now runs smoothly, but any graphic improvements are completely lost. The game graphics looks and to most degree feels like CS1. I would like to hear feedback from users on 20-series nVidia cards, but feel 30-series should be an absolute minimum for an upgrade at this point.

My conclusion

I know the game had official release on October 24, but this doesn’t feel like a ready product at all. Not even early access. This very much feels like a beta. Bugs experienced with imports/exports, intercity passenger connections, etc. contributed to the feel. Another reason it feels like a beta was the economy panel. I had my city run a budget deficite all the time, but never actually run out of money. I have also seen comments from people running with huge profit without actually making money.

Should you spend money on a game that feels like a beta? I cannot instruct how you are going to use your money. I cannot recommend the game at this point, at least not at full price. The game might give more value if you have the hardware to pull the full graphics, and I guess lots of the issues will be addressed in the coming patches. By the looks there will be loads of DLCs to this game as well. Hope the majority of these DLCs rather focus on styles and assets, letting most new features be part of the base game. You should of course do your own considerations.

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