Paradox Interactive Dropped The Ball Big Time With Cities: Skylines 2

All the lingering expectations went down the drain.

Story Highlights

  • The launch of Cities: Skylines 2 has fully missed the mark, with many players left disappointed. 
  • The title is full of performance issues and poor optimization, leaving much to be desired.
  • Paradox Interactive’s first DLC for the title is far from the needed step in the right direction.

I remember the wait for Cities: Skylines 2 by all the excited players, and I was also quite looking forward to it. There were always discussions about what the new game could bring to one-up the predecessor. Suffice to say, the anticipation was at an all-time high for Paradox Interactive’s next venture. However, playing the game on a high-end device after its release has left me saddled with dissatisfaction like many other players.

So, what went so wrong that almost everyone turned their backs on what was supposed to push the city builder genre to new heights entirely?

Well, I reckon there are more than a few reasons that weigh heavy on our hearts. The base game features gorgeous visuals, with general features that are gratifying to experience. However, beneath that first good part lie layers of glitches, bugs, performance issues, broken promises, lacking content, and the sort.

Cities: Skylines 2 — A Motley Of Performance Issues And Poor Optimization

The Cities Skylines 2 features beautiful visuals that veil over myriad of other issues | Image Source: Steam
The Cities: Skylines 2 features beautiful visuals that veil over a myriad of other issues | Image Source: Steam

Let’s face it. After playing the original Cities: Skylines, the least I expected was to be held back by a plethora of performance issues in the sequel. You could be admiring your first emerging city in a beautiful landscape by panning out the camera, only to be met with crashing frame rates and a stuttering experience. And running the settings high on an arguably good device is still like a death sentence for your gameplay. 

How is the performance of Cities Skylines 2 even acceptable?
byu/canolgon inCitiesSkylines

The city builder is quite heavy on the hardware, but even the devices that have good system requirements are facing issues that shouldn’t be there. Why is that? It’s simple: the Cities: Skylines 2 optimization is quite inadequate—and even after many updates—it is not up to scratch.

All things considered, I believe that all these issues can eventually be ironed out over time. Paradox Interactive will continue to fix these lingering concerns over the upcoming updates. But, it does not change the fact that they were present during the most crucial point of the game. Let’s hope the title will continue to retain a player base after Paradox improves Cities: Skylines 2, unlike what happened with titles like Halo Infinite

Players Are Distraught With Broken Promises And Missing Features

Okay, it has become somewhat of a trend to release AAA games in a poor state; they eventually get fixed when the sour aftertaste is already in our mouths. So, the game’s abysmal launch is still understandable to me in a tragic way. Nevertheless, it becomes increasingly difficult to justify launching a title with basic missing features. Breaking this unspoken promise is my biggest pet peeve that resonates within me whenever I try out this title. 

Frustrations with Cities Skylines 2 are starting to boil over among city builder fans and content creators alike: “It’s insulting to have a game release that way”
byu/PrinceDizzy ingaming

Some of the missing features include in-depth economic simulation, bigger map sizes, and transportation options. The ecosystem between the disappointed fans and the studio has caused further uncertainty about the future of the city-builder experience. Like the Clossal Order CEO Mariina Hallikainen once claimed, Cities: Skylines 2 “might just not be for you” in response to criticism. 

The statement drew widespread backlash from the fans despite the CEO apologizing soon after. Additionally, the growing—and unjustified—toxicity towards the devs has also caused Paradox Interactive’s CEO to warn players to pull back engagement if the negativity persists. The devs are working hard on bringing out a string of updates that are desperately trying to keep the game alive, but is it too late?

YouTube video

The First DLC Feels Like A Gutpunch From The Devs

Like me, you all might also expect Paradox Interactive to first tackle all the Cities: Skylines 2 performance issues and flawed optimization to justify the huge price point. There is still much to cover and improve, despite already having a bundle of updates since the title came out. However, the last thing we desired to see was an asset-based, beach-themed paid DLC that no one asked for. 

It’s not surprising that the ratings for the DLC quickly plummeted to the chasms of the Steam charts. I find it bizarre that Paradox would think about adding paid assets first when the city-builder is still quite an unplayable venture for many users. Also, one of the saddening criticisms I’ve found is that the DLC lacks beach content. There are no nice props, beachside restaurants, or other needed beach assets.

The DLC is currently sitting at an “overwhelmingly negative” rating on Steam, and—compared to hundreds of negative reviews—the positive reviews have barely reached double digits in the past few days. I believe that the asset pack should have been free in the first place to repay players for a shoddy launch. Okay, the cost could’ve been justified if it lived up to its theme. Perhaps I judge too harshly. The reviews suggest otherwise, at least.

Paradox Interactive Still Has Mountains Of Expectations To Climb

Drawing to a conclusion, I reckon that Cities: Skylines 2 has a robust frame that can support a beautiful skyline. However, much work needs to be done before such a possibility can come to fruition. Improving the mod support will also help the city builder flourish in many ways.

The good thing is that Paradox Interactive is familiar with this truth and does not deny the necessity to improve the title. A dev has earlier acknowledged that there is a huge mountain to ascend to meet the expectations of players.

YouTube video

Until then, players have just turned back to the original release. The original Cities: Skylines holds most of the player base since most left the sequel after their honeymoon phase was broken with performance and gameplay issues. I feel compelled to do the same until the new launch becomes a worthwhile experience.

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Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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