Not so long ago, I had the pleasure to review the Natural Disasters content pack for Cities: Skyline, and as much as I have enjoyed what it has brought to the table, even I have struggled to justify its rather steep entry price, which to this day, comes across as a little too much. As ultimately, the Natural Disasters pack has only introduced a handful of gimmicks which were built partly on pre-existing assets, which in the long run added very little to the gameplay. And when I received a code for the second piece of Cities: Skylines DLC titled Mass Transit, I was worried that it might just be another piece of glorified DLC, hiding behind the moniker of an expansion.
If taken on its face value, the Mass Transit DLC, doesn’t seem as much. And that’s because all press releases, trailers, and articles alike define it as a content pack featuring new modes of transport, which are seemingly nothing more than a visual aid, as the core title already allows for transit of people, and resources. But fortunately for Paradox, and for the enthusiasts of the title, the Mass Transit DLC is much more than a handful of boats, and monorails. As while it might only feature few new modes of transports, it ultimately makes the core title feel more complete, as the introduction of new vehicles brings another dimension to an already complex and expansive title.
The biggest issue I had with the core Cities: Skyline experience, was the fact that it never really allowed one to create a metropolis on the scale of New York or Seattle. As no matter how many skyscrapers you’ve placed, or how many business districts you have opened, you would always end up with a city which would feel flat and lifeless. And the Mass Transit DLC completly reinvigorates the otherwise flat metropolitan experience, as with the introduction of trams, monorails, metro systems, ferries, and even blimps, it turns the asphalt paved, car infested, towns into bona fide cities.
With the purchase of this particular expansion, you will be rewarded with a brand new tab which holds all the modes of the titular Mass Transit. And while most would expect the DLC to just add a handful of random blimps, and trains, which would idly follow a pre-existing track, then it has to be underlined that the final product is much more complex than that. Just like all the parts of the metropolitan infrastructure of Cities: Skyline, Mass Transit features not just new pathways for the vehicles to travel upon, but also an entire array of new buildings, because ultimately, all trains, ferries, and blimps have to start one-place, and come to their end at another.
While the introduction of ferries seems incredibly straightforward, then the same cannot be said about all the other modes of transport. As some, require you to not only place a starting point, and return, but also individual stations at which trains, and monorails make their stops. And just like with power lines, police stations, and medical centers, you will have to make some tough choices, as sooner or later you will find yourself in a situation where you will only be able to cover select part of the city, while leaving others in complete, and theoretical darkness.
At its core, Cities: Skylines is an incredibly complex and deep game, and it only acquires even more complexity through the introduction of the new modes of transport. As no longer do you just have to worry about roads, and intersections, as the addition of rails, nautical pathways, and cable cart layouts, brings another addition to this already difficult puzzle of civil engineering. And while having to juggle so much at the same time, may feel a little overwhelming at first, then just like everything, with time, it becomes much easier to comprehend, and excel at. And once one masters the ways of Mass Transit he/she will be able to experience Cities: Skylines in a brand new and unspoiled way.
The Mass Transit expansions impacts the core title in a superb and meaningful way. However, as a standalone piece of additional content, it does not carry as much gravitas as one would expect it to. As while it may be brandishing an expansion tag right next to its name, it is ultimately nothing more than a DLC – as it was already mentioned above. And that’s because Mass Transit only adds a layer of content to the core title, and does nothing in addition to that. So if you hope to have a chance to play through a Mass Transit themed campaign, or at least a series of challenges, you are going to be disappointed. As just like some of the other content packs of the Paradox’s excellent city building sim, Mass Transit possesses no auxiliary content whatsoever.
The lack of themed campaign, may sour the taste of the content pack for some, as after the release of The Witcher 3, and its subsequent expansions, we all have begun to expect more from our expansions, and even DLCs. And while the scope of Mass Transit, may be seen as some as its biggest blemish, then others will more than likely denounce it for the fact that it is already a part of the main game. And ultimately, the expansion, once purchased, is nothing more than an unlock which doesn’t even have to be downloaded. And most, especially those who had to deal with Capcom’s on disc/ on-file DLCs over the past decade, will surely not welcome Mass Transit with open arms.
To conclude, it has to be underlined that Mass Transit is an excellent piece of additional content, but instead of shining brightly on its very own, it willingly steps out of the spotlight, to only further allow it to focus on the main portion of the title. And you could argue that in most instances the role of a content pack is to support the core game, but in recent years, with the introduction of micro transactions, the DLCs have moved from being pieces of content, and have become their own individual experiences. And because of that, the Mass Transit expansion does feel a little archaic. But lack of auxiliary content ultimately does not take away from the fact that the DLC in question, does give the base game a breath of fresh air, and extends its shelf life significantly by simply adding a handful of new features.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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