Mostly agree with what J3W3L wrote about Cities: Skylines. In short, its a very solid city building sim that is more than worth the $30 to grab right now on Steam.
A few additions to what was already written. I love that mod integration happened day one, and that in the game’s own lobby screen you see a selection of Steamworks mods. This is a game type made far better with mods, and taking this into consideration right away is a great move.
Fully agree that how you unlock some of the unique buildings is a bit silly. For example, to achieve the 50% crime rate unlock, I basically built a test city, got it to a certain population, then deleted all of the police stations and let the game run for an hour or two while I did something else. And the crazy part? It took over an hour on the fastest time mode for the crime rate to get that high. How is that fun or good design? Granted some of the other building unlocks are better (10k industry space, 5000 elementary students), but to unlock everything you are going to be making test/dummy cities.
I think city builders last longer for kids than adults. The comparisons to older SimCities are a bit unfair IMO, because I think a large factor in how long you played those games is based on age. The younger you were, the longer it took you to master the game. An adult is going to figure things out in fewer cities or fewer hours, and this taints how we view these games sometimes. As someone who recently played SimCity 4 for the first time in a LONG time, it certainly didn’t have the replayability I thought it would, while at the same time I feel my mastery of Cities: Skylines is also climbing at a very fast rate. I don’t think that is so much a flaw with the game as it is just a reflection on who is playing it.
I also think future mods that increase the complexity will help. I view it how I view Mount and Blade; the base game is very solid and fun, and then you have total conversion mods that build on that and greatly increase the complexity. A mod like Prophecy of Pendor wouldn’t work as a standalone game, it’s way too complex, but it works great as a next-step after you play the base game. I’m hoping in the future we get such conversion mods for Skylines that also greatly extend the games life/appeal.
Complaints aside, this is still a title worth picking up at ‘full price’ (it’s $30 so not really ‘full’). For a new release, its nice to get a game that isn’t early release, in beta, or whatever the hell pre-alpha means. So far I haven’t had the game crash once, didn’t notice any bugs, and there aren’t major content gaps that you can clearly spot “future DLC” content coming. Very solid title and recommended for anyone who enjoys city builders.