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Cities: Skylines – Campus Review

Gaming article by William Worrall on October 6, 2019 at 3:18 PM
Review

School's Out For Summer

Citybuilders are great. You can put lots of time and effort into constructing the perfect modern metropolis. Micromanage all of the tiny details until you’ve created the city of your dreams. Then if you get board you can also summon a giant chicken to come and stomp on it all. Well, you can do that in all the good city builders anyway. Cities: Skylines is a pretty damn solid city builder, with some pretty damn solid DLC. As time has gone by more and more elements have been added, and by now you can control pretty much every element of your city, from natural disaster response to types of heating. With the release of the new Campus DLC, you can now spend a ridiculous amount of time creating and controlling every element of a huge college campus.

Campus follows the Cities: Skylines trend of allowing players to micro-manage their city's higher education. Going in, the level of detail is outstanding. Far from simply selecting a ‘university’ building and plonking it down on a random city street you now need to construct each individual department. The number of options can be pretty overwhelming at first. There are sections for the trade school, the liberal arts college, academic campus, varsity sports, and decorations. You also have the ability to define your campus’ boundaries and give it a name. Each of these sections, apart from the naming one, has eight or more options of structures to build, each with their own function.

 

Campus's Extended Build Up

Cities: Skylines - Campus Status Window
You can have some fun with the naming of your campus. 

Part of the reason that this amount of choice feels slightly overwhelming at first is that it takes quite a while to be in a position where building campus is really all that viable. If you’re starting out on a fresh map then you need to have a relatively large settlement with high-school educated students. This can take a fair amount of time on its own, then add the cost of actually opening the college and you get the picture of why this is a bit of an undertaking. Even in a well-established city most players will need to be able to afford land expansions to open a new college of this magnitude. 

Once you do get to the point where you’re ready to start constructing your own college campus you find a lot of choices stretching out before you. Obviously it’s quite expensive to construct a college campus, so when you start out you’re probably going to want to pick one type of campus to construct. Even then you’re going to need to be 100% sure that you’ll have all the money you need to construct the important buildings, such as dorms, lecture halls, and cafeterias. Honestly, the biggest challenge, once you’ve spent hours designing the layout of the roads in your college campus, is actually getting students to show up.

 

It may have just been me being terrible at the game, but even with a decent amount of education in my city, it took a long time for any students to actually start going to my college. When they do eventually start to show up your main center for control is the administration building. Here you can set your tuition fees, change different policies that will affect your student body as well as changing the colors and name of your college varsity sports teams. You can also hire different staff for both sports and academic reasons, which effectively equates to pouring more money into each area.

Campus's Real Goal

Cities: Skylines Campus - Buildings
A large part of your time working with Campus is spent trying to improve your college's reputation. 

The real goal in Campus is to make the best, most appealing colleges that you can. Reputation is the main metric used to measure success, starting you out at a single star. As you build more buildings, make the campus look nicer and produce great academic works your reputation goes up. As your reputation goes up you get more students and your ability to produce academic works shoots up. There's a decent amount of ramping up as time goes by. More students mean better academic works faster, and more academic works mean more reputation and of course more exhibits for your college museum. Your college can also have an effect on your tourism, and the income of your city, tying in nicely to a well-managed city you've already started building. 

 

Cities: Skylines – Campus Review | Final Thoughts

Overall, Campus fills a very specific need, much like any other DLC for Cities: Skylines. It sets out to vastly expand the options for building higher educational establishments. Without a doubt, it achieves that goal with gusto. There are so many options, for a type of building which comes later in the game, that Campus certainly feels like one for the hardcore fans of the series. While a casual player might be a bit turned off by the difficulty you can find with building your colleges, anyone who's built a metropolis or two in their time will find plenty to sink their teeth into here. 


TechRaptor reviewed Cities: Skylines - Campus on Xbox One with a copy provided by the publisher.

Review Summary

7.0
Campus adds a huge plethora of options for those looking into building elaborate college campuses. Just be prepared for the build up to getting started.

Pros

  • Adds A Huge Amount Of Campus Building Options
  • Can Help To Improve Tourism And Income
  • Minute Control Over Colours And Names Of Campus Elements

Cons

  • Can Be A Bit Overwhelming At First
  • Takes A While To Be In A Position To Actually Build A Campus

About the Author

Will wearing an Odd Future shirt.

William Worrall

Staff Writer

I'm Will and I'm a UK-based writer who went to film school before realizing writing was more fun than film-making. I've written for a number of gaming sites over the past few years of my writing career, including Cliqist, Gaming Respawn, and TechRaptor. I also produce videos for my own channel (Mupple) as well as Cliqists popular YouTube channel. I've covered industry events such as EGX and am hoping to break into narrative game writing in the future.