Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit (PlayStation 4) Review

By Sam Turner 01.09.2018

Review for Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit on PlayStation 4

It's a testament to the team behind Cities: Skylines that over a year after the base title was ported to consoles, it still has its sleeves up and elbows greased in order to fuel the enthusiasm behind one of the greatest simulation games to come to the system. Each item of DLC for the console versions has so far been a perfect accompaniment to the base. The Snowfall expansion was an incredible seasonal side dish and Natural Disasters offered the right challenge for veteran players. Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit, however, is not as immediate or as effective than the DLC that has come before it.

Of all the delights that abound in Cities: Skylines, handling the delicacies of travel and transport is often never high on the list of priorities. Roads are a tool, streets are often more of a nuisance than a delight, and highways are a practical addition, which do little to spark creativity. In that regard, Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit has the most difficult of jobs; to make the player care about something that often is a forgettable and undesirable part of city creation.

Cities: Skylines wants you to create roads of sweeping curves and gorgeous arcs; boulevards of interesting twists and turns. However, when the success of a city relies on maximising each square foot in order to squeeze every last drop of residential, commercial, or industrial space, the need to make audacious tarmac-based artwork is not an early priority. Also, it's awkward to control road construction, especially on console, and early players will quickly tie themselves in knots unless they build the most formal and uninteresting road layouts imaginable.

Screenshot for Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit on PlayStation 4

Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit, therefore, feels like a conscious effort by Colossal Order to make the organisation and construction of transport an interesting and compelling affair. Much of this is done through making some delicate cosmetic changes to the city, creating the travel hubs, and the transport itself, a lot more appealing to interact with.

The most overt element to be subsumed into the eco system is the addition of several new modes of transport for the tiny citizens to get around. There are still cars, trucks, and trains, but now the denizens of the player's city can now use ferries, monorails, cable cars, and blimps - all of which are well formed within the world and are superbly animated and designed. It might appear at first to be a small change but being able to get the citizens across water or away from a congested roadway makes gameplay more diverse and provides an interesting distraction.

Screenshot for Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit on PlayStation 4

The new transport options also add much needed verticality, making cities feel like they are landscapes bursting to push upwards rather than sprawling chaotically across the ground. Being able to utilise riverways and open stretches of water for commuters is also a surprising delight. It also gives purpose to play with the chaotic landscaping tools to creating canals, lakes, and rivers, as now there is something that can float across them - all of which shows the depth of design, with one update encouraging the player to master the last. There is concern, though, that the majority of this most recent DLC is nothing more than a simple deviation. Unlike Natural Disasters that came before this, which offered a compelling puzzle and also added tension and excitement to the design, Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit is certainly more aesthetic than exciting.

Like with previous add-on content, there are some transport-based scenarios, which take the form of unpicking problems with infrastructure and using the new integrated tools to solve them. It's a series of logic puzzles, yes, but there is a greater appeal here. It's compelling to see if you have the ability to unpick a traffic problem in real-time and restructure and rebuild, turning a jam into a juicy junction or happening highway. Talking of jams, though, the biggest sticking point of Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit is that much of what is so appealing in this DLC is available for free through the associated patch that accompanies the paid for content. Like a diversion round a stretch of road works or a priority boarding pass, the latest patch gives the player much more than they get after they have opened their wallet.

Screenshot for Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit on PlayStation 4

The main part of the patch is an unexpected upgrade of the user interface to make road layout and positioning so much sweeter - something those in control might never know they wanted until they got it. What, then, was once a painful chore in design, thanks to this upgrade becomes a simple delight, and, consequently, having the effect that the player can finally breathe life into their roadways and make their city feel more like a living creation rather than a well-lit spreadsheet. Add to this new transport overlay, which provide essential data points for the commuter obsessed player who wants to provide the best service around their city. There are numerous little additions like this in the patch notes and each one brings some quality of life to a product that already felt pretty homely to begin with.

Also, what the latest upgrade ultimately achieves is to provide a smoother and welcoming development to those who are joining Cities: Skylines for the first time. Mass Transit certainly does not do much to encourage newcomers but the update needed to accommodate the newest additions makes this the best time for people who haven't yet had the experience to jump on board. Early design decisions where a new player can quickly twist themselves in turns and turnpikes can now be avoided. Roads are the first thing that any player creates and for them now to be automatically given a name (which can then be edited) gives the greyest of items in the game a much-needed personality and more importantly a sense of ownership.

Screenshot for Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit DLC is unfortunately not the most essential DLC for those who are wanting to add more to their city. The additional vehicles, hubs, and depth of control are not so much a welcome addition but just a pleasant distraction. However, what this DLC has done is prompted Colossal Order and Paradox Interactive to update the user interface on the PlayStation 4, now making Cities: Skylines a must have recommendation for any simulation fan, even more so than it was before.

Developer

Colossal Order

Publisher

Paradox Interactive

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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