Top Critic Average
After Dark is, I think, the best possible outcome for Skylines: successfully sticking its hand out for more cash but doing nothing to puncture goodwill in the process. Cue more swearing at EA HQ, perhaps.
Cities: Skylines was kept fresh thanks to its army of modders, but After Dark tweaks every single element of the game so that, once you start rooting around the budget panel and customising districts, it starts to feel new again. And it will probably feel new all over again once the modders get their hands on the expansion.
Cities: Skylines remains a fantastic city builder, and with After Dark it's getting even better, regardless of whether you buy the DLC or not. Just the gorgeous day-night cycle would have been a worthy addition, but Colossal Order have shown a degree of ingenuity in tying this to new gameplay mechanics, while also giving more options for players in how they want to run their city.
As a pure enhancement, though, After Dark does the job nicely. The new options for dedicated lanes in roads are great, the new buildings are enjoyable and useful, and the leisure and tourism areas give you some fun new things to focus on.
After Dark may not be a revolutionary addition to Cities: Skylines, but the number of impressive new features and enhancements offered here is more than good enough to get my vote again.
Then, once I realized that I'd been a numskull, I installed the DLC and tried again, playing with the new tourism and leisure districts, and building taxi ranks and bus lanes, and… well, once again I had a great time and felt that the DLC was a little light on content.
Ultimately, After Dark doesn't rock the boat when it comes to game-changing expansions. In fact, it comes quietly – the new features are nice additions to the gameplay, but this flavor pack doesn't dramatically change how players will interact with Cities: Skylines. It introduces some great elements that compliment the free update, but only hardcore fans of the simulation genre will want to pay $15 to access the new features.
It may seem ungrateful to be unenthusiastic about a content pack of miscellaneous upgrades, but the strongest reason to recommend this DLC is to say thank you to Colossal Order and Paradox for the great stuff we got for free in patches. There's plenty here, and some of it can give your city a little more regional flavor, but none of it stands out as a must-have feature that refreshes how Cities: Skylines plays. Instead, it serves as a reminder to return to this great city builder and see how it's improved since you played it last.
The price might seem high for how subtle or cosmetic these additions are, but many will likely find enough value in the overall strong developer support and thriving modding community to justify the cost, if the new layers of depth aren't enough for them.