Paradox has just released Cities: Skylines – Airports, a brand new DLC pack for their epic city building and simulation title. The Airports DLC includes a whole range of aviation based buildings, props and more. From terminals, concourses and towers to whisk away passengers to cargo terminals, new transport options and even a flight museum, the airport is sure to become gamers’ new focus. The DLC pack is now available, launching simultaneously on PC and consoles, with this review based on the PC version – though the content added is the same.
While airports were already in the game this DLC gives players the opportunity to get creative and even own their own airline! To start with, players must paint an airport region. Unlike other regions this flattens the region – as no-one wants a dodgy runway. The runway must be of at least a minimum length and with a terminal and plane stand added – as long as they are connected up – passenger flights will begin. Note that the taxiways are one directional, something that needs to be checked, else the airport won’t be a flying success.
Airports and their attached buildings such as the concourses come in three styles, to help players fit them into their builds. Additional styles would have been nice, considering the variety in real world airports – and there’s no special waterfall concourse akin to the real world one seen in Singapore. Mods are sure to bring in some flair items but it would have been nice to see some included by default as part of the pack – though the three styles are all distinctive and can be used interchangeably.
Like previous expansions the airport then needs to be leveled up. Starting out players will only have access to smaller stands and such. Growing the airport, by increasing the attractiveness and slowly increasing the passengers that have used the airport, sees medium then finally large stands and more unlocked. This progression feels fairly natural, done over time as you let flights occur and slowly build up the airport. It is possible to spam down props to boost the attractiveness, though you’ll still need to wait for the passenger count to be raised.
When the third level is reached all airport buildings are unlocked, including the secondary airport type – cargo terminals. These can use the same runways as the standard passenger planes, with both sets of plane stands able to be linked via taxiways to any runway. This gives players the choice to split them to have their own separate runways or not – though the cargo terminal will need to be in the same level 3 airport region. Being able to effectively reuse the same runway is a blessing given the new airports dominate an area, taking up far more room than previous ones.
To get the people of your city off on holiday or get tourists and more into your city the new transport hubs and vehicles will help. The new bus, metro and train stations can attach directly onto the airport concourses. These bring in the option for new types of buses and trains, with the stand out vehicle asset being the new bendy buses. Not being just visual changes, these new transport vehicles can hold more passengers at once – though the bendy buses for example may clog up interchanges more than regular buses.
As if building an airport to your own design wasn’t enough, players can now own their own airline! When players get their airport to level 3 the ability to create your own airline is unlocked. This isn’t just customising the airplane colouring, the ticket prices can be tweaked – which impacts the attractiveness of your airport. This seems to be the only way to gain a decent income for your airport. With this in mind be careful when you undertake building an airport as it will certainly drain the city funds.
Regardless of if you decide to pick up the DLC or not some new features have been added in for all players. Being incredibly helpful for flattening an area for airports is the new landscaping soil tool. No longer are players forced to dig deep holes or dump dirt into spiky mountains. With a simple click the player can buy or sell soil for a nominal cost to their city. It is a small addition but just makes crafting idyllic cities easier. A road based tree replacer is also included for the entire player base for free. This allows players to swap out the trees attached to roads with any of the floral items – so players can finally have palm tree flanked roads without manually placing every single one!
Alongside the Airports expansion are a few smaller content packs to boost the variety of your builds. On top of the three maps included in the Airports expansion a new content creator map pack has been created, including 8 new maps. Bringing in the likes of red doubledecker buses and new garbage truck sizes is the Vehicles of the World creator pack, adding a total of 21 new vehicle assets. Finally, two new music packs are now available to add chilled vibes or some jazz to the city radio.
With each DLC released Cities Skylines gets a bigger and more impressive game, from an already epic starting point. Now there are many available it could be daunting to new players, though for fans having a new area to dive into is a great reason to get back into crafting cities. Having the new public transport options and the two terminal types gives plenty to get invested in, just make sure you have a large flat area planned out for your airport to properly take flight!
(Editor’s Note: The Cities Skylines Airports DLC pack was provided by Paradox to us for the review.)