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    “Cities: Skylines 2” is like a diamond in the rough


    Since “SimCity,” city builders have been working on virtual metropolises. The complexity is what makes it so fascinating. With “Cities: Skylines 2” a new star is supposed to rise in the simulation sky – but it doesn’t shine quite as well as desired.

    Diamonds only become expensive pieces and really valuable when they are cut correctly. However, where the diamonds come from they are usually not refined. It’s similar with “Cities: Skylines”. The city building simulation from 2015 from Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order only became a really good game through many modifications by hobby developers in the following years. With “Cities: Skylines 2” comes the successor, which immediately improves many things in the test, but still needs some fine-tuning.

    The principle has changed little since “SimCity” from 1989. In “Cities: Skylines 2” you become the mayor of a virtual city that you can build from the ground up completely freely. You build residential areas, industrial areas and business districts, provide basic water and electricity supplies, and also take care of the satisfaction of citizens. The city builder doesn’t lack complexity, and that’s exactly what fans of the genre love.

    It gets even more complex in places. The supply of raw materials must be ensured. Grain and stone serve as basic raw materials from which industry creates other goods. This creates smaller agricultural communities away from the center, which have to be connected via the rail network in order to create a trade network between the regions. This makes the city and its surroundings appear even more realistic.

    A lot of new things, a lot more life

    There are also many new features that set Skylines 2 apart from its predecessor. The climate mechanics in the game have been completely overhauled. There are weather cycles that are unique to each map. Rainy or dry areas, even snowy regions, give your city a special look.

    Streetview is now also available... Streetview is now also available...

    Streetview is now also available…

    Instead of building multiple buildings of the same type, players can now upgrade a building to increase its utility. A residential building can be converted into a commercial floor on the ground floor. There are several architectural styles that can be varied.

    Skylines even has its own Twitter. Residents here tweet their problems to the world in the hope that the mayor will take the right steps when it comes to pollution, crime or noise pollution. There is also a lot of life in the cities offline. The residents use buses and trains, and the revised traffic AI makes the game even more realistic. Drivers search for free parking spaces or struggle through traffic jams after work.

    When everything is analyzed, the color spectrums reveal weak points. When everything is analyzed, the color spectrums reveal weak points.

    When everything is analyzed, the color spectrums reveal weak points.

    As metropolises tend to do, they look particularly fascinating and impressive from a distance. The game delivers exactly that: If you don’t look too closely, you won’t notice the imbalances. But there are. From a purely geographical perspective anyway. There are a lot of unevenness in the given maps that need to be built on: mountains, hills, bodies of water – you can of course level these with the bulldozer, but if you don’t, one of the rough edges in the game becomes clear. The terrain and many details of building types are not coordinated.

    Business in trouble

    An example: Business districts in the suburbs have, as is typical in the USA, larger parking spaces in front of each store that adapt to the slope. Parking spaces are created even on steep slopes – on which garbage cans or other objects are placed that then defy gravity. This robs the game of a little of the realism that you would like to have in your metropolis. Since there is still a photo mode in the game in which you can take city tours, such small weaknesses are noticed more often.

    Skylines 2 is definitely complex. Skylines 2 is definitely complex.

    Skylines 2 is definitely complex.

    The game is still struggling with massive performance problems. The frame rate in the test was sometimes 20 FPS, despite the recommended system requirements (Windows 11/Core processor i5-12600K/16 GB RAM/graphics card RTX 10 GB). The developers are aware of the problem and a patch to fix it has already been announced. To get started, it is recommended to lower the detail level in the settings.

    The developers of “Cities: Skylines 2” still have a lot of work to do. The game is still a solid foundation and thanks to a strong community, the fine-tuning with patches, DLCs and mod support should be achieved over the next few years so that the rough diamond finally becomes brilliant.

    “Cities: Skylines 2” will be released on October 24th for the PC.

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