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Cities: Skylines - Campus Review

You know how in the Cities: Skylines game, you are just building schools for your citizens? The shape is already predetermined; you can’t control anything besides what type of school you build (elementary, secondary, university). The Cities: Skylines - Campus expansion changes everything, letting you micromanage the higher education life your city thrives on. Colleges change everything for a city, and why shouldn’t it for your virtual one? Campus meets the challenge by adding a new level of gameplay to the original game through customizable universities, trade schools, and liberal arts colleges and further specialization. With a new prestige system, you have new challenges and options for customizing your city’s higher education so they can succeed and fail as their own mini-game.

If you enjoy other expansions in the Cities: Skylines series, you’ll enjoy Campus.

The mini-game Campus adds to the series is a fun way to enrich your Skylines experience, especially if you enjoy any part of the college life (clubs, sports, etc.). As you build prestige for your school, you’ll unlock unique buildings with a lot of customization and work with sports teams who, when they win or lose, will affect your college’s prestige.

Campus is also loyal to the base game. You have control over funds, budgets, research production, etc. Micromanagement isn’t lost, and you’ll be able to control your university (or trade school, etc.) to your heart's content.

Campus doesn’t limit you to one type of higher education adventure per game/city.

Thankfully, when your city is big enough, you have access to each type of higher education schools in your city limits. This lets you play with trade schools, liberal arts schools, and universities in the same game. You just have to let your city grow to experience all three types. But that’s to be expected from previous gameplay in the original game.

Campus gives you the ability to run your own college team.

As you unlock a varsity sports campus for your university, you’ll be able to track and manage sports teams. You’ll be able to build football, basketball, baseball, track and field, and swimming arenas. Your team victories will boost your prestige and influence graduation rates and alumni support. Team victories and losses will also affect your university’s attractiveness, so you’ll want to do what you can to help your teams win.

Campus allows you to dive in-depth into managing your teams. You’ll be able to hire coaches, sell tickets, collect prizes for match wins, customize jerseys, run busses, and hire security. You’ll also be able to increase or decrease funds for the team and supporting auxiliary, such as cheer leading and coaching staff.

Unfortunately, actual team customization is limited, so any desires to recreate your own college team and experience is not quenched through Campus. You can perhaps get close with team mascot selection and team colors customization. It would have been really great to manage my favorite college teams--or rival college teams to watch them lose, if you like letting a game go down in flames for revenge. Who hasn’t done that in Sims or any Tycoon game?

However, customization doesn’t compare to the extreme micromanagement capabilities of sport specific games like the Soccer Manager titles. And if you don’t want to customize sports, there are automation options so you can focus on the elements of the game that excites you most.

The building customization in Campus is extensive and fun to mess around with.

You have to unlock the buildings, but as your university prestige increases and your city population grows, you’ll be able to mess around and get in-depth in building customization. You’ll be able to build administration buildings, dormitories, study halls, grounds keeping buildings, clubs, specialty schools (Law School, Schools of Science, Schools of Medicine, etc.), and more unique buildings according to type of higher educational school you’re working on (trade school, university, liberal arts campus, etc.).

To handle the vast variety of new buildings, Campus uses its tabs to categorize building options. These include small buildings, large buildings, net structures, education buildings, supplementary buildings, and facilities. The game really lets you get into the nitty gritty building details and how you want to create your university. It’s kind of like building a university city within the regular Skylines city.

If you have a high enough prestige level, you can build school specific museums as a monument to your success. Unlocking the museums is difficult, especially if you set the game up in the limited funds mode. It’s a bit easier with unlimited funds, but where is the challenge in that? (Though I do admit I like the unlimited funds mode when I want the feeling of domination and I don’t have much time to invest in the game at the moment). 

The new prestige system influences the buildings you unlock in conjunction with city population size.

This puts the school’s success on high importance: If your school isn’t succeeding, you aren’t winning. 

The prestige system has three elements: academic works, student population count, and school attractiveness. These are influenced by how you distribute funding, handle budgets, attain graduation rates, win or lose sports games, and produce academic works. Often changing one option will indirectly affect other areas of university life/success, so you have to keep an eye on your prestige level and how it fluctuates when you micromanage your universities.


The Verdict: Great

Overall, Cities: Skylines - Campus is a great expansion if you love college life and enjoy the original game. It lets you get into the finer details of higher education and how they influence your city’s success or failure. And if you love sports, you can’t pass up this expansion. This one's for you.

See About Us to learn how we score

Cherise Papa
Written by
Wednesday, 28 August 2019 05:11
Published in Strategy



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Cherise Papa is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for writing novels and playing games. With a thirst for lore and massive damage, she heals raids, conquers civilizations, smashes things with two-handed weapons, tames dinosaurs, and eats other snakes. Accompanied by her husband and gamer toddlers, she explores new worlds and logs too many hours on Steam. Her gaming drink of choice is rich hot chocolate with peppermint candy canes, mint chocolate chip ice cream, or handfuls of marshmallows. 

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