The new Cities: Skylines DLC, Natural Disasters, released today and you can catch the video review over on YouTube. Certainly a surprise for me. Liked it far more than I thought I would.
Below is a transcript of the video review.
Hey, how’s it going, Internetz? Nathan from ThisAndThatTech.com. Today we are taking a look at the Natural Disasters DLC for Cities: Skylines, which was developed by Colossal Order and is now available for $14.99 on the Steam Store.
It’s important for me to note that this review is all without additional mods and also I received a review code, so just wanted to put that out there.
So let’s get right into it, shall we?
The first thing you’ll notice is that this game actually has a scenario editor. It’s something everybody’s been asking for, for a long time. It’s actually free as well. If you’re just getting an update to Cities: Skyline, you’ll actually get this portion for free, so that’s really good news.
With the scenario editor you can create game objectives, place specific disasters or triggers on a save map, which could make for some unique experiences. And you can even share those scenarios on the Steam Workshop, so that’s especially useful if you have a God complex and you want to destroy a lot of things.
Next we have the radio, which again is free for those who just have the base game. It’s honestly been a long time coming for Cities: Skylines. Before, the easiest method was to just play your music in the background, but honestly that’s not very intuitive. And look, when you compare Cities: Skylines’ music to games like Civilization, one can’t help but notice the lack of awe-inspiring music that gives your actions in the game a sense of weight, gravitas. We just need something that evokes emotion.
Thankfully, that’s not a problem anymore, especially when you hear Crusader Kings’ and Europa Universalis’ tracks creating that ambiance that was sorely missing.
See, see, look at that. I built a carousel park and a botanical garden and with that background music I feel like a badass purveyor of happiness, conquering the lands on my noble steed.
There are four radio stations in all. You have Cities: Skylines, which is the regular gameplay music, Cities Radio, which appears to be Paradox Interactive titles. The list is somewhat anemic right now. I’ve noticed a lot of songs repeat, but I’m hoping they add more to that, but they’re quite good. Classical music for a jaunty vibe, if you will. And Gold FM, that has more mainstream songs on it, usually covers. For example, “Wild Thing” played.
Now one thing I wanted to mention when you first initially download the DLC and open the game up, you’re gonna get this pop-up and it’s gonna tell you that some of the radio channels have licensed music and cannot be used when streaming. The channel they specifically have listed is Gold FM, so something to keep in mind if you’re a streamer or a content producer.
Now commercials on the radio are also amusing and worth a listen. They add a bit of life to your city.
[RADIO COMMERCIAL PLAYS]
“It’s Super Salmon Days down at Fish Brothers. For a limited time bring in any fish and get a child salmon entrée free. You heard right, bring in any fish, and get a free child salmon entrée. And I mean ANY fish.”
The only thing missing, though, out of these is the ability to switch tracks. The only thing you can really do is switch channels and it resets to something new, but you can never really control what’s coming in next in your queue.
It’s important to also note that the radio is intuitive enough that an emergency broadcast, which I’m gonna get into more later, will interrupt your radio programming and seamlessly warn you of an impending disaster and then also seamlessly transition back to your music without missing a beat.
I fully expect some clever modders out there to add the ability to play their own music collection directly in game. That’s gonna take it to another level. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see integration with Spotify, Pandora, Google Music, et cetera.
All in all, a noteworthy addition to City: Skylines that adds to the replayability factor. And like I said earlier, it’s free for everybody.
[BROADCASTER: An earthquake is occurring. Don’t panic and wait for help if you are in the affected area.]
So the big one, let’s talk about natural disasters. By default you can set them to random, but in this instance for the review I’m actually gonna trigger them on my own just so everybody can see them. You’re gonna go under landscaping and you’re gonna see a new word, disasters.
Clicking on the disasters tab will bring up an array of disasters ranging from tornados that travel from one edge of the map to the other, earthquakes that turn buildings into rubble, which by the way, the earthquakes can even create tsunamis if the epicenter is located in the water, so something to consider there. Sinkholes that make landmasses disappear along with whatever inhabited it. Those can be filled using the shift terrain feature and utilized again. Thunderstorms which travel across the map and set buildings and forests on fire, which it looks spectacular at night with dynamic weather, I might add. Forest fires can also spread, which spreads into buildings and creates problems. We also have building collapses, structural fires, tsunamis, and the granddaddy of them all, the meteor strike, which you’ve probably seen a lot of this before because they’ve been pushing it with different trailers for it.
Now, how do we mitigate these natural disasters? Well, just like in real life, we utilize an Emergency Broadcast System to warn the citizenry of impending doom and to seek shelter. This is accomplished by building early warning buildings like the earthquake senor, tsunami warning buoy, weather radar, deep space radar, most of which help you predict where the disaster will take place and preplan accordingly.
We’ve only scratched the service, though. First, we need to a way to warn the citizens and that’s accomplished through the use of short and tall radio masts, which can be hindered by terrain. We still need places for citizens to go, though, so we have to create small and large emergency shelters to give our citizenry a place to stay as well as create an escape route for them. Think of it the same way in which you set up transportation routes for optimal traffic flow, except this time it might save a citizen’s life.
Assuming we have the aforementioned things built, we can then go up to the top left corner and click on the evacuation mode button, which alerts the citizens over the radio waves to seek shelter.
Is this completely fool-proof? Absolutely not. Lives will be lost and some will even end up trapped and unable to make it to a shelter without a disaster response unit. This building sends out helicopters and trucks to clean up debris and rescue survivors. After the disaster has subsided, any homeless survivors can stay in a shelter until they find new housing. So you’re essentially insuring against massive population loss.
So it’s time to see some disasters, baby. The tornadoes are definitely one of my favorite and arguably the most devastating.
Earthquakes are problematic depending on where that epicenter is located. I’ve had some of the earthquakes that happen far enough away that it just didn’t make a dent on my city.
Sinkholes don’t seem too bad as long as there isn’t multiples and you have enough coin to fill the holes and rebuild.
Thunderstorms, these are probably one of my favorite. They’re stellar eye candy at night, especially coupled with the dynamic weather.
Forest fires can create havoc if you’re unprepared for them. Fire watchtowers are the way to go here. They’re rather helpful.
[BROADCASTER: A forest fire is raging in the area. Leave campsite and tree houses immediately.]
Structure collapses aren’t extremely exciting to me, but I guess it’s a little variety to the mayhem.
The tsunami looks devastating and maybe even competes with tornadoes for favorite natural disaster, if that should even be a category…
[BROADCASTER: The Coast Guard is warning of a tsunami approaching the area. Residents should avoid roads and waterfronts. The tsunami has struck the city. Take caution and avoid roads and waterfronts until…]
All right, last but not least, we have the meteor strike, which is very impressive to watch.
[BROADCASTER: A meteor strike has occurred.]
So what’s the verdict here? The scenario editor and radio stations are actually free updates, so really your $14.99 is going to the natural disasters and catastrophe management buildings like radar, radio towers, et cetera.
Now for me personally, I find the update more interesting than the previous expansion, After Dark and Snowfall, and I think it’s a worthy addition if you’re getting tired of some aspect of your city stagnating and then finding a workaround. That can get repetitive and this breathes some new life into the series, so definitely worthy of your 15 bones if you’re a Cities fanatic.
All right, that’s the end of the review. If you liked or disliked it, feel free to click that button and leave a comment in the box down below. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, maybe click subscribe, follow me on one of my social media links, or use my Amazon affiliate link. That always helps me out as well.
Thanks for watching, everybody. Have a good one.
[BROADCASTER: Meteorologists have issued a severe tornado warning for the area. Residents should seek shelter immediately if any is available.]