When Cities: Skylines released back in 2015, I don’t think anyone would have expected it to blow up as big as it did. Filling the void left by the disappointing SimCity reboot, Cities: Skylines seemed to be everything fans of city builders wanted. The base game alone gave players more than enough tools (and precious building space) to create their metropolis. Fast forward two years and the game is still kicking and ready for the next step.
This next step has been given the title Green Cities. Eco-friendliness is a hot-button issue, and now you’ve got the power to do something about it. This expansion focuses primarily on making your city less of a smog-ridden hellhole and more like a place where you’d actually want to live. Green Cities also revamps the game’s noise pollution mechanics in addition to other small (but impactful) tweaks to the mechanics. This expansion, of course, comes with a variety of new buildings you can use to spruce up your city even more. There’s a multitude of new buildings you can plop down wherever you like in addition to new parks and, of course, new tree types.
Green Cities introduces a personal favorite from the Workshop as an official part of the package: recycling centers. These depots are a cleaner way of handling garbage disposal, minimizing the pollution to the environment. It doesn’t take it away completely but makes it far easier to work with every bit of the environment without having to worry that you’re accidentally killing your citizens en masse because you poisoned the soil with your generous placing of landfills. This expansion also adds some buildings that serve as alternative versions of specific buildings already present in the game. An example would be the Institute of Creative Arts which replaces the High School. These buildings cost a bit more than the original building and have a lower capacity in terms of citizens it can serve, but it gives you a visually distinct building that can make your city look more varied. There’s no real gameplay advantage to using the alternatives over the originals, which seems like a wasted opportunity to me.
An interesting point on the changelog is that Colossal Order finally stopped noise pollution from being tied to road type. Instead, noise pollution is now directly tied to the number of cars on any road. A small change, but it makes a lot more sense than what we had previously. Noise pollution is further changed by new electric cars, which you can push people to use by using one of the new policies present in Green Cities. Those new policies can also be used to keep pollution in your industrial zones in check.
Another big new feature is the ability to create custom roads from within the game’s asset editor. This means that you’ll be able to create roads that work differently than the ones already present in the game, without having to resort to the workshop. It gives you a lot to play with, too, with your imagination seemingly being the only limit. You can edit pavement width, decide if the road is capable of accumulating snow on the winter maps, to more general tweaks like traffic lights and the option to allow zoning next to them. I really like that they’ve put this feature in the game. It seems like it makes sense being there, and more customizability is always good.
While I really like the overall premise and the execution of Green Cities, I have a problem with both this DLC and the franchise as a whole, something that seems to worsen the more content gets released for it. As a player, I’m starting to feel like the kid that already has everything so he never knows what to ask for his birthday. Content for this game is anything but hard to find, and there are already more mods, maps, buildings, themes, LUTs and props than one can reasonably expect to use on the Steam Workshop. The quality of life stuff is great, but that’s already coming to the community at large as part of free patches. It’s not that the selection of items in this DLC is bad (with the exception of the Central Park design, which looks really rough and rushed), it’s just that Green Cities fails to add anything truly meaningful to the game’s systems. What I would like to see if for Colossal Order to go back to the core of the game and rework the way the simulation works since traffic AI could really use a tune up. I would also like them to revisit the seasonal stuff to continue what the Snowfall expansion started, giving players the ability to play through several seasons without being locked to specific maps.
So should you get Cities: Skylines – Green Cities? If you’re a fan of the franchise, yes. There’s a lot of fun to be had and the visual distinction between regular neighborhoods and eco-friendly ones is pretty cool to see. There are also new challenges that unlock new unique buildings, and there are a few new props you can use to add detail to your cities. It’s a relatively meager offer, but the value feels about right for the amount of content you get. It’s pretty good, just not essential like Snowfall and Mass Transit were.
Cities Skylines Green Cities was reviewed on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the developer.
This expansion pack is for the real fans of the franchise, but it's a bit of a meager offer when compared to previous expansions. There is a decent amount of cool stuff in this expansion, but nothing except the new waste disposal options feels all that necessary.
- Nicely Designed New Buildings
- Expanded Garbage Disposal System
- Noise Pollution Makes Sense Now
- Lack of Impactful Mechanics
- Additions are Mostly Visual