There's a surprising amount of expectation for Colossal's attempt at fixing SimCity's mistakes. The good news first: If you play city-building games to, well, build cities, this is the best you can get. Never before have I felt like I could just walk up to an enormous tract of land, open up some tools and just... build whatever I wanted, however I wanted. Cities: Skylines is a gorgeous video game.
Before I joined Gearbox Software, I worked at Destructoid as a features editor, highlighting indie games and spewing vitriol at big-budget games I didn't like. I played their games, I found them wanting, and I felt like I had a pretty good idea of where and why things had gone wrong. I may not have ever made a game myself but I basically knew what game development was about, right? Wrong. It turns out there were a shitload of things I didn't know about.
Games are forever changing. If you played a shooter from 1999 and then a shooter from 2015, you'd notice the differences immediately, not just in how they looked but how they played, how smartly they were designed. Homeworld was released in 1999. Play its remastered edition in 2015, though, and you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a brand new video game. Almost everything about it — and I'm not talking about its new visuals — feels fresh.