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Cities: Skylines 2 debuts to mixed reviews, as players criticise game performance

Some players are questioning why Colossal Order and Paradox Interactive went ahead with launch, despite performance issues.
cities: skylines 2

Cities: Skylines 2 has launched on PC via Steam and Xbox Game Pass to decidedly mixed reviews, as players report a range of bugs and performance issues that render large parts of the game unplayable. While developer Colossal Order and publisher Paradox Interactive warned about potential issues ahead of launch, it appears many of these are worse than anticipated, leaving fans disappointed with the state of the game.

Cities: Skylines 2 is a next-gen title, and naturally, it demands certain hardware requirements,” Colossal Order announced in mid-October. “With that said, while our team has worked tirelessly to deliver the best experience possible, we have not achieved the benchmark we targeted.”

At the time, the developer said it would continue with its plans to release the title, as it felt the great gameplay experience would shine through, with patient players rewarded with future stability and more robust features.

“We will continually improve the game over the coming months, but we also want to manage expectations on performance for the coming release,” the studio said. “Our ambition is for Cities: Skylines 2 to be enjoyed by as many players as possible, and we’re committed to ensuring it reaches its full potential.”

Read: Cities: Skylines 2 will intentionally launch with performance issues

According to players on Steam, it’s been difficult to see this potential, despite Colossal’s confidence.

“The game performs horribly, and on the settings that allow it to scrape by with 20 fps it looks dramatically worse than Cities 1,” Steam user CountCristo wrote, in a review that’s been labelled ‘most helpful’. “There are also various bugs (especially around “not enough customers”) that fill the game with annoying bubble alerts for no reason.”

Many players have questioned why the game was released at all.

Cities: Skylines 2 should not be released. It pains me to say as a big fan of the original game, but the sequel here is simply not in an acceptable state,” Steam user cub wrote. “After just an hour of gameplay, that 70 fps deteriorated all the way down to 30. After two hours, it was down to 15-20 with my population not even hitting 10,000 yet …  It makes the experience feel slow, choppy, and frustrating.”

“I cannot recommend Cities: Skylines 2. It’s almost unplayable in its current state and the fact that it is being released anyways is really just sad.”

While some players have had a more positive experience, allowing them to see the vision of gameplay, and how Cities: Skylines 2 improves on its predecessor, it does appear the vast majority of early adopters have encountered an array of insurmountable issues. At this stage, it may be best to wait for upcoming patches and updates before diving in.

The impression here is that Cities: Skylines 2 will eventually be a great game, with hearty city-building gameplay and an array of complex systems, with high reward – but those keen to see the game’s complete vision will need to remain patient.

In the coming weeks, Colossal Order will continue to release various updates for the game, in the hopes of making significant improvements to performance. Stay tuned for more news on that front, as Colossal continues to improve the game.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.