Cities: Skylines has grown and grown since its original release with the aid of several add-on packs and corresponding core updates. The latest add-on is called Mass Transit, and we played around with the new options that it offers.
Obviously, Cities: Skylines already had plenty of options to apply ‘mass traffic’ to your cities. Busses and train definitely aren’t new, so what this DLC offers is more of an expanded toolbox than a radical new direction for the game. New in the game are ferries that can transport citizens across the water, blimps that can transport them across the sky and cable cars to get up those steep inclines. You can also decongest your existing roads a little by building monorail lines over them, but that’s not all that’s new.
Linking your transport options together using hubs is probably a bigger change than the individual transport modes by themselves. Now, you can have citizens board a monorail, then change onto a different mode of transportation at a hub – making travel with multiple modes of transportation much more practical and tempting more and more people to use mass transit instead of their cars. As a result, adding a monorail might not have the effect you were looking for, but linking it to a bus network might suddenly clear the rush hour congestion you were having trouble with. With existing cities, this isn’t always the easiest thing to do though – transportation hubs can get very large (depending on their function) and might require some major (and costly) renovations to your city
Adding and changing transport modes is a lot of fun to do, and with the complete city dynamics to keep in mind, it becomes far more complex (or multidimensional) than good old Transport Tycoon. Ultimately, your goal is always to control and (re)direct the flow of traffic within your city – and the good news is that that has become easier even for those who don’t (yet) have the Mass Transit expansion. This is due to the core game update that was released alongside Mass Transit and which is available to people without the DLC as well.
The game update gives you more options to determine things like who has the right of way and how stop signs and traffic lights work. You also have additional ways to determine where your choke points are, which directions are over- or underused and how much a certain transport mode is being used by the people of your city. It’s not necessarily that much more in terms of micromanagement, it’s mostly just a better way of dealing with what was already there.
Some of my favorite things to do in Cities: Skylines have always been the game’s custom scenarios. Once my city (in the sandbox mode) is running smoothly, I tend to lose interest for a while – but the challenge scenarios are great for reigniting that spark when that happens. With the Mass Transit expansion, a few traffic-related challenges have been added to the mix – forcing you to go head to head with some major traffic problems ranging from small inefficiencies to entire cities coming to a grinding halt.
Mass Transit is a probably a more natural fit with the core gameplay of Cities: Skylines than the previous “Natural Disasters” update was, and should as such definitely please fans of the core game – especially those fond of keeping the flow of their city running smoothly. It deepens that aspect of the game in various ways, giving you brand new problems to tackle and new ways of facing old ones.