Cinematic Tours of Cities: Skylines Megacities Are So Relaxing

Illustration for article titled Cinematic Tours of iCities: Skylines /iMegacities Are So Relaxing
Screenshot: Rokubi94

Cities: Skylines is a game that I keep going back to. Even though new and interesting content packs come out for it regularly, I find myself drawn to the scale of the game more than its content. I mean, it’s big, and flying through it set to a calm soundtrack is the ultimate soothing experience.

A flythrough tour of a massive Cities: Skylines build is wonderful because I know exactly how much time and determination it takes to get everything into place. It’s hard to upgrade all of your buildings to large capacity and its difficult to manage traffic to a degree that your massive city doesn’t just sputter and die at the 500,000 population mark.

So I’m astounded by videos like this one from YouTube user Rokubi94 because I know the kind of time that they have sunk in creating their shifting clockwork city. Although many people use Skylines purely in a “creative” mode with infinite money and none of the constraints of the game’s campaign experience, it’s still an impressive feat of figuring out how all of these people, cars, and buildings fit together.

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What I’m most impressed with, though, is the flora on the edge of the city. It makes it seem like this city is nestled into the natural world in a productive, non-disruptive way that’s basically impossible in the real world. Cities: Skylines gives you the opportunity to make these little utopian places that can’t quite fit into the real world, and that’s something I really appreciate in city builder game design.

While we often talk about “immersion” or a “flow state” in video games, I can’t say that I ever really lose myself in the play of games. Watching cinematic flythroughs of massive cities, though? I could lean back and do that all day, and I’ve lost more than a couple hours of my life just letting YouTube autoplay these things for me. I imagine this is how people felt about really great woodworking in the 1950s. I appreciate the work that goes into making cities, I understand the effort that it takes to make them, and I can get lost in contemplating them from afar.

I've played all of the Baldur's Gate games.

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DISCUSSION

MasterTheHero
MasterTheHero

I’m so envious of people who were able to get into Cities Skylines. As a 300+ hour Sim City 2013 player, I was eagerly anticipating to migrate over to Cities Skylines. The thought of having a larger map and more control over the districts was super appealing to me.

I know a lot of people view Sim City 2013 as a trash game, and I don’t disagree, but I immensely enjoyed playing it. I built Las Vegas style strips, massive amusement parks, futuristic cities, and turned a small town into a sprawling university town at the center. It was through its limitations that I came to really enjoy Sim City. But what I loved most about SC2013 was the graphics and the music which I found to be very relaxing.

Naturally, I was pumped to play Cities Skylines, but once I got into actually playing it, the boredom quickly set in. The graphics are significantly uglier than Sim City and the music is nauseatingly boring. Though it’s bolstered by a strong mod community, I found myself disappointed by the lack of amusement parks and other features that Sim City 2013 had.

With the bigger districts I found myself often overwhelmed and unsure of how to build my cities. By the time I’d get the hang of building out one plot of land, three more would already be available for development. This increase in space ironically took away my desire to play the game, along with the aforementioned graphics and music.

Oh, and let’s not forget the repetitive, grating, ambulance siren. I wish Cities Skylines could have been just a tiny bit more like Sim City in terms of aesthetics. Cities is a great game, but I sadly just can’t get into it.