Published on June 16th, 2022 | by Chris O'Connor
Cities: VR Quest 2 Review
Summary: Bringing the Cities: Skylines franchise into VR with a version built from the ground up for Virtual Reality.
I’m obviously showing my age when I say that my first thought on getting the opportunity to play Cities: VR was that I could play essentially Sim City in VR… what I found was that is… kind of the case.
Cities: Skylines has developed quite a city planning following, arguably it does fill that niche gap that Sim City once took as it’s sole possession. So with VR still expanding into new genres, it seemed reasonable to jump into the stereoscopic play field and give fans and newcomers alike, the chance to build a city from ground up in the most personal way possible.
First starting things, it seemed quite promising, it did indeed tickle that nostalgic itch… build a road, lay down some facilities, allocate some building zoning. For me though I had some issues with the tutorial instructions, not that they were hard to follow per se… but that the notifications of what to do, would block the area I needed to work on… then it seemed like I couldn’t work around the situation, as if I had to place things in a given location or configuration or it wouldn’t proceed despite apparently having done what I was asked.
But if you can push through and finally get past the tutorial, you can indeed build your city from the ground up. Those of us oldies will be familiar with attempting to find the balance between residential, industrial and commercial. Allocating zones not just in the right quantities but in the right areas to maximise the number of citizens who want to come and live in your city and provide tax dollars to continue improving amenities and generally “leveling up” your city till it’s the biggest, best city it can be.
Visually the game is a little on the lacking side. I understand the Quest doesn’t have the grunt of PC VR… but when the main visual element is buildings, you shouldn’t really need to push that many polygons around… there should be room there for a bit more detail. I guess the upside though is that things do run quite smoothly… so as you go from birds eye view to a more street based perspective, there’s no real slow down.
I’m not a big fan of the controls… I found myself continually pressing the wrong button (I would always press the same button, feeling it should be back but it wasn’t… I guess that’s on me.). They aren’t totally horrendous, they just didn’t feel quite as intuitive to me as they could have.
Overall I didn’t have the same amount of fun I remember having with Sim City… whether that’s just my tastes have changed over time or it’s the way Cities: VR wants me to play a city building game, I’m not sure… but I do suspect that it’s just the way Cities: VR has presented things. Some people will enjoy it… others might find the experience a bit hollow, I fall in the latter of those.
I wouldn’t really recommend Cities: VR… but if you’ve enjoyed Cities: Skylines, perhaps this will be up your well designed alley.