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Cities: VR – Enhanced Edition on PSVR2 review — Bigger Tiny Cities

There are some games that just don’t lend themselves to a virtual reality experience. You’d think a city builder would belong squarely in that category thanks to the amount of fiddly menus and complex building mechanics. Surprisingly, Fast Travel Games has managed to do exactly that, and to great effect. Granted, they’d already done it on the Meta Quest 2 (our review), so it wasn’t as big a leap to port it, but the PSVR2 version brings with it a handful of nifty features that make it compelling on Sony’s new platform.

Cities: VR - Enhanced Edition | Announcement Trailer (PS VR2)

It was immediately apparent that there is a coat of polish present that was decidedly absent on the Meta Quest 2. Likely due to the hardware limitations of the platform, something not shared by Sony’s new uber-enhanced headset, the overall game’s quality is higher across the board. The buildings have a bit more detail, as does the stylized environment. It’s not what I’d call a looker, but it does feel more alive than before. It feels like a neighborhood, with people walking their dogs, trucks tumbling down the streets, and various burger joints dotting the landscape. Sure those same trucks will occasionally jackknife themselves across the street as cars pass through them unimpeded but when it works it looks the part.

As you’d guess, planning a vast and thriving city is complex work. To that end, the game’s UI has been tightened up a little bit. The UI was already a wheel-based affair, but the Meta Quest 2’s implementation had me bouncing around menus a little more frequently than was comfortable. Now we have more focus around bundling certain common elements together, ensuring the things you use most frequently are adjacent. It’s a minor adjustment, but one that pays dividends.

The PlayStation 5 brought with it some excellent haptics, and that extends handily to the new Sense controls of the PlayStation VR2. Nearly everything you do is accompanied by a little haptic bump. Not unlike playing a game on a cell phone, each little response lets you know you are touching the right thing. It’s not over the top, but frankly I’m not sure where they’d add more. There simply isn’t a haptic texture to indicate “this is industrial” versus “this is residential”.

Cities VR - Tutorial on PSVR2 [Gaming Trend]

One of the things you likely won’t immediately notice is that the game is bigger than before. The Meta Quest 2 version’s limitations had drastically reduced the overall footprint of the city – something I didn’t catch in my initial review. On the PSVR2 version we see a world size that is almost ten times larger than Meta’s headset. This larger tileset gives players more room to spread their wings, sure, but more importantly it allows for different planning techniques on each playthrough.

In my review of the game on Meta Quest 2 I mentioned the biggest improvement that the move to VR brings – pickup and play. Virtual Reality along with pickup and play controls means the complex nature of the game’s bigger brother, Cities: Skylines, gets translated to a world that anyone can enjoy. Folks new to the world of VR will find a game that allows them to fulfill their municipal mastermind fantasies without the need to own a PC or wrangle complex controls.

Cities VR: Enhanced Edition delivers pretty much what you’d expect. It’s a competent building simulator that carries a few bells and whistles to Sony’s new platform. It’s not going to knock your socks off like some of the other PSVR2 launch titles, but it’s urban planning. Mundane municipal management is a genre that is meant to help you relax and just ease into the exacting role of Mayor/Construction overlord, and Cities: VR does precisely that. Nothing more, nothing less.

Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief | [email protected]

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.

Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.

Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 28 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes), and an Axolotl named Dagon!

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Cities: VR - Enhanced Edition

Review Guidelines

A solid improvement over the Meta Quest 2 version, Cities: VR - Enhanced Edition brings with it improved visuals, rebuilt UI and controls, and a far larger build surface. Virtual city building may sound like watching paint dry on paper, it may be precisely the relaxing activity you need after a long day in the real world.

Ron Burke

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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