It is an interesting thing, the DLC. The ye olde boxed expansion pack of yesteryears (ah, the nineties), when broadband was but a glimmer in the eye has now morphed into tidbits of content spread over time. Different companies choose to do it differently. Anything with the letters E and A forming an acronym will milk the gamer for all it can. Others choose to do the milking more subtlely.
Colossal Order is one such company that chooses to be more gamer friendly (basically, they know who actually pays their bills), by giving away a giant slab of content for free, and then bundling the less essential bits in the pack that costs money. Yes, take note, Electronic Arts. Some armour packs for the Inquisition are not actually worth five US dollars.
Cities: Skylines, that massive single player traffic management game that is actually so much better than the last Simcity, has really gone gangbusters. After Dark is its first DLC, which is split into two parts, a massive free patch and a paid content component.
As a package, they add a new day/night cycle and modifies some of the behaviours of agents, especially criminals, at different times of the day. You also have new budget options during the night, which allow you to change the amount of money you spend on things during the day and night. However, I found that kids still go to school at night, according to the building information, so whether it truly does anything or not, I cannot say.
You can also choose to run certain public transport routes during the day only, night only or at all times. Funnly enough, you would do well just to leave your public transport system running permanently. Otherwise, you might get low land value complaints all along your routes like I did. There are also new road types, bike lanes and additions to your city management arsenal, like a jail, a combined ship hardbour and freight train yard, and a new International Airport. Which is still nowhere near as good as a custom one you can make for yourself.
Now, you may think this is all just gripes. I am not actually griping about anything. This is just the reality of the patch coming out. If you are thinking of getting this, be aware that Colossal Order did not manage to align the behaviours of your citizens to morning and afternoon peaks, or alter the way the simulation is run in terms of how long a day is. Yes, this is unrealistic on basic terms, but since I did not program the thing, I cannot criticize, because it is likely that changing the way the game keeps time may well break many, many things.
However, the important thing you have to remember about this DLC and patch is that they makes your city look AMAZING at night. Your streets, highways and main roads are fantastically lit up (probably a bit too much, but I care little). Your airports really shine, especially if you have built a custom one, like I have. The sunsets and rises are just beautiful, and the vanilla buildings light up the night sky. Any custom assets, of course will require work to do the same.
In general, the patch and DLC applied a veneer of pretty and a lot of common sense additions to an already good game. Yes, there are things that do not work properly, but a lot of games from bigger companies struggle to even patch things properly. Colossal Order is out there supporting the game, and it is a complex beast to fix, so it is certain that some of the gripes of the community will get fixed properly in time. In the meantime, I am going to spruce up my airport.
Good DLC, not too expensive. Makes shivers go down my spine whenever I see my creation light up at night.
Play this if you…
Enjoyed Cities: Skylines and are hankering for more.
Don’t play this if you…
Still prefer your 2km*2km village in Simcity.