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2015 Game of the Year #9: Cities: Skylines

This week Shacknews is counting down its top ten 2015 Games of the Year, as tabulated by both staff votes and input from our own Chatty community. Coming in at #9 we have Cities: Skylines, a flexible sim game with hours upon hours of building enjoyment.

Josh Hawkins, Guides Editor: Way back in 2013 EA released SimCity, and completely trashed my favorite city-building sim. Enter Paradox Interactive, and the guys at Colossal, who completely revamped and renewed my love for city builders with Cities: Skylines. Skylines is basically everything that SimCity 2013 should have, and could have been if EA hadn’t ruined it. It’s a spectacular game to play, and it’s actually taken many of the components that we’ve seen in city-builders and made them simpler, and better to use.

I think one of the best things about Skylines though is the “tough to master” learning curve. It’s such a simple game to pick up and play. Anyone can build a city, but not anyone can build a beautiful and successful city. I often find myself having to remove the idea of something looking good just to make it more efficient. Even after so many months since release I still find myself finding new ways to play the game, and I think that’s one of the greatest parts of a city-builder.

Asif Khan, Chief Executive Officer: Cities: Skylines was a very strong contender for my game of the year choice at the time of its release. I grew up playing Sim City on SNES and hadn't really been compelled by the city-building genre since Sim City 2000. It is important to be able to pick up and play this type of game, but it is equally important that the developers offer plenty of choice to create a truly immersive experience. Cities: Skylines executes on both of these attributes masterfully. The attention to detail and amazing graphics in the game are also very striking. Being about to zoom in and follow one citizen around your city during the day truly elevates the immersion.

Mod support is a crucial part of the success of any PC game, and Cities: Skylines has done the community right. The mod community has created a vast array of mods from prefabricated roads, to custom buildings, custom maps, mods to change game mechanics like traffic and of course mods for infinite money and unlocking all buildings from the start. One of my favorite cities I have crafted takes place on a user generated map of Hyrule from the Legend of Zelda. Colossal Order, the game's developers, have also provided quite a few updates to the game including an After Dark feature that allows players to see their city at night.

All in all, Cities: Skylines is a game that I will play for years to come. It is easy to write off city-builders as unoriginal or repetitive, but Cities: Skylines pushes all the right buttons to create a marvelous gaming experience that has players returning for more. It is truly one of the best games to be released in all of 2015.

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