“…a new burst of aesthetical energy…”
Cities Skylines is always a pleasure to play, even a year and a half after its initial release. As city builders go, it is the pinnacle of its genre. Of course, after hours of gameplay time, the vast cityscapes that you construct can begin to look a bit… samey. Steam Workshop integration has made a huge difference to the game in that respect, allowing you to change your style almost infinitely in order to suit your personal preferences. One popular modder, Matt “Shroomblaze” Crux, has now been fortunate enough to have some of his content made into a fully-fledged Art Deco creator pack for the game.
Firstly, to reference the elephant in the room, this is essentially a paid mod. Whilst it isn’t being marketed in this way by Paradox Interactive, the content is very similar to a number of the Steam Workshop items which you can download free of charge. The difference with this pack is that because it is now official content, you can use it in the game and still have aspects like achievements active as you play. This isn’t the only benefit of this content being taken on board by the game’s creators though, and if you can ignore the nature of its existence, the package itself is a treat.
Unlike some workshop content, the Art Deco pack is very nicely polished and fits perfectly into the general aesthetic of the game. More importantly, it genuinely gives your cityscapes a fresh, alternative appearance, whilst simultaneously blending in with the architectural surroundings. The design of the structures, which include 6 residential buildings, 6 commercial buildings, and 3 unique buildings, mix art deco and other, similar styles from the same period of time. Whether you agree that they are true art deco or not, the care and attention to detail which has gone into them pays off. The residential and commercial structures in particular have a quirky appearance which gives your neighbourhoods a fun and friendly feel. Clearly inspired with an American touch in mind, shops such as Ice Cream Parlours stand out particularly well. The unique buildings are also very prominent in the landscape, with their appearances separating them stylistically from the other unique structures in the game.
The one drawback with this DLC pack is the price. One issue is that there isn’t really any content in it that you couldn’t get for free from the Steam Workshop. Whilst the quality and integration may not be quite the same if you took this route, you would save yourself a few pennies. The other problem is that the content pack doesn’t have a huge amount of content in it, which brings into question its overall value for money. The hard work which has gone into the new structures on offer is both undeniable and impressive. For the £3.99 (at the time of writing) retail price however, many players would probably expect a wider range of content for their money. Perhaps a full overhaul, or some new gameplay features, would make it a more desirable package. As it stands, most gamers will probably choose to wait for a Steam sale before buying.
Cities Skylines is freshened up with the addition of the Art Deco Content Creator Pack. The appearance of the game is changed just enough to give it a new burst of aesthetical energy and with a quality that can be appreciated by all. The only sticking point is the cost of the content, which is hard to justify for what is included and the fact that similar work is available for free via the Steam Workshop. Most fans of the game will more than likely wait for the Steam sale to purchase this DLC pack, if they go for it at all. Those who do pick it up when it reaches a more wallet-friendly price however will not be disappointed.