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No Monsters Allowed – Introducing Cities: Skylines Natural Disasters DLC


Disasters have been a popular feature of city building games for a long time now. They add a level of unpredictability to what is otherwise a fairly predictable genre, something can happen at any time. It'll send you into a frenzy of either trying to protect against, or recover from a disaster. A disaster that will otherwise destroy everything you've worked towards up to that point. It was a surprise, then, that Cities: Skylines didn't launch with these disasters. Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters aims to remedy that glaring omission.

The third expansion is due to release this winter. Developers Colossal Order are cognizant of the reception that the previous DLC, Snowfall, received. Poor at best, the content was relatively shallow. Even the main feature, snow, and the effects that came with it was separated from the rest of the game. This is a mistake that Collosal Order are sure that they'll avoid making again.

This was evident even in the early state they were able to show Natural Disasters at Gamescom. The Natural Disasters DLC has additional content that expands beyond the disasters themselves. At the same time, they remain a crucial part of the theme and how they link with the disasters. The resources and infrastructure that come with prevention, warning and the eventual repairs.

Additional content with the DLC includes an early warning system that will alert you to disasters, giving you varied amounts of time to prepare your city. Tying into this is a radio station that will alert your people to the upcoming meteor, tornado, tidal wave, whatever may hit. At the same time, the radio station will let you just listen to music while playing the game. Something that we have all no doubt done is using a media player in the background, but the built-in option is always nice, particularly if the music supplied is equally nice.

Of course not everything added is to support your awareness. A brand new disaster response unit will be tasked with searching for and rescuing survivors in the immediate aftermath. Following this, they will be essential in rebuilding operations, surveying and clearing an area to ensure it's viable for new structures.. In addition to this, the current emergency services have had a big boost with areal units. The Police, Fire and Ambulance services now have helicopters that will be usable at all times. While being crucial for getting into inaccessible areas after, say, a meteor, they also have the ability to avoid traffic jams on any normal day-to-day job.

Not much was revealed on what the disasters were going to be and their effects, just that they would all be based on real-life possibilities. There's no alien invasion, monster attack or zombie outbreak to find. The only revealed one so far is the traditional meteor strike, but I'm hoping for Tornados, Tsunami's and even the potential of a full blown pandemic in the form of a plague. What the meteor did show is that there will be direct consequences of the disasters as they happen. A meteor landing off of the coast, for example, will cause a tidal wave, and so forth.

Though not actually part of the DLC itself, where I imagine this new content will find the most praise is in the inclusion of a scenario editor. This is being developed as free content for all players, not just those with the DLC. The  Choose any save you have, set certain parameters for victory and defeat and upload it. Other aspects can be altered, like setting multiple disasters to strike and task a player with surviving and rebuilding to a certain point.

Cities: Skylines is still the Sim City game we've all been waiting for. There's little doubt about that. It's faltered a few places, and still missing things that people loved from Sim City, but this is the next step Colossal Order is taking in making this the game that we all want, with all the features we want. I still play Cities: Skylines, I own both the DLC's and this is something I'm certainly looking forward to.