Debug Mode: Cities Skylines review

Well it took much longer to get this out than I wanted. It would have been released sooner if not for a few personal and professional matters that delayed things. And also that fight with the printer. Yeah, that story was about me trying to print the script for this video.

I have a lot of ideas for future Debug Mode videos: games I want to talk about and topical videos too. I’m even contemplating covering some movies or TV shows. I’ve got a lot of partially written scripts. A lot of footage captured.

I was working on a completely different subject but then Cities: Skylines came along and I knew I had to cover it. As a longtime SimCity fan, I was super disappointed by the 2013 entry in that series and Cities: Skylines is this amazing game because it fixes nearly everything that the other game got wrong.

Having said that, I don’t think I want to review new games anymore. That is to say, I don’t want to review games as they come out. I hate the pressure. There’s a window of opportunity where there’s a lot of interest in a game at launch. It seems to be for about a month or so depending on what games are coming out. After that, the community conversation has moved on to the next new game.

These reviews take a lot of work and I like this idea of doing long-form reviews or critiques or essays more than offering consumer advice. It’s really hard to make that kind of video – impossible sometimes – in the small window of time that the game is initially relevant.

It feels weird to me to talk about a game that came out 3 or 4 months ago, but perfectly natural to talk about a game that’s a few years old. At that point you can more clearly see how a game impacted or was impacted by other games, cultural events, or market trends. There’s more to say about the game than just what’s in it at that point.

Regardless, here’s my review of Cities: Skylines. It turned out longer than I was expecting. I also think it’s kind of dry. It’s closer to consumer advice than I was hoping for. The best part is the beginning where I talk about SimCity. It’s kind of a short retrospective of that series and a postmortem on SimCity 2013 which I think is more interesting than than talking about what road types you can have in Cities: Skylines.

Oh well. Hopefully you’ll find it interesting anyhow.

This was a lot of work and it got pretty tedious toward the end. The Call of Juarez video was easier to put together by virtue of it being a linear story-driven thing. I just had to play through once and then pluck the relevant footage out from each section to illustrate what I was talking about. That was harder with this. It was harder to find stuff in the hours of footage I recorded because I couldn’t scrub through at high speed and easily identify shifts in scenery or cutscenes or level changes. In the end, I basically had to make a shot list like I would for a film project and go into the game and “shoot” all the relevant footage that I still needed. I hope the effort made things clearer.

I think my next video will be topical or some kind of compare/contrast thing between two games. We’ll see.

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