The level of control Cities: Skylines gives you with its roads is a big deal. Truth is, roads serve as the backbone of your creations in games of this nature. After all, they determine the flow of traffic and where you can zone.
Cities: Skylines makes it easy to build huge overpasses and complex road design. You can make helix-shaped roads over water, and hexagonal suburban roads. It even applies this to its walkways which are for pedestrian foot traffic, giving you additional options for how you allow citizens to get around. In a nutshell, it goes way above and beyond what SimCity (2013) does.
In SimCity (2013) maps are broken up into smaller subsets that are 4km^2 in size. To SimCity veterans this was without a doubt its greatest failure. The land sizes were remarkably small, limiting the potential of your works.
In contrast, Cities: Skylines allows you to control a space of up to 36km^2. That's nine times the size granting you the real estate required to build a thriving metropolis.
Nobody wants to use EA Origin unless they have to. Steam is home for PC gamers, and Cities: Skylines is available on it. SimCity (2013) isn't.
Cities: Skylines comes packaged with a full-blown Map Editor. It's powerful, allowing you to edit and build landscapes using a wide range of tools. Gamers are already busy sharing wild creations on Reddit and other social media sites, including island paradises and circular cities with moats.
SimCity (2013) has no competing feature.
We're just a week out from launch and Cities: Skylines already has a vast array of useful mods and addons available through the Steam Workshop. While many of these mods improve the quality of life of the game, such as by adding a much-needed day/night cycle, a few are targeted toward those who just want to have fun.
SimCity (2013) does have mods, but they are limited by a list of rules that EA has put together. More importantly, the support wasn't added to the game until a year out from launch.
Have you ever wanted to break your city up into smaller parts that can be individually managed? Cities: Skylines has your back.
The game's Districts feature allows you to paint an area of the map and apply attributes to it. You can push specific policies to your downtown area, while your industrial section has its own rules. It's an option that gives you great control of your creations, and yet another feature that SimCity (2013) doesn't have.
SimCity (2013) might be the prettier game of the two, but it is also buggier. Even nearly two years after launch some of its major mechanics are broken. For example, Great Works, a major feature of the title, are buggy. You can also occasionally run into an issue—and I have—where a disaster renders portions of the ground unusable.
Outside of some challenging traffic simulation, Cities: Skylines is a well-polished experience.
Before SimCity (2013) came out many gamers expressed that its online-only nature would pose a problem. EA didn't listen. Consequently, the first month following launch many users weren't even able to play, or lost progress due to network issues.
Cities: Skylines is a single-player game. There is no online connection required, so you can just pick it up and play whenever. That's the way it should be.
Did you know that Cities: Skylines is a $29.99 game? So, for half the price of SimCity (2013) you're getting something that most would argue is better. Go figure.
Without getting too much into specifics, EA is one of the least liked video game publishers on the planet. The thing is that it does make great games, so even many of those who want to stand strong and protest against the company end up buying its games.
While SimCity (2013) is a game published by EA, Cities: Skylines isn't. Instead, it's published by a much smaller company called Paradox Interactive, and developed by a team of fewer than a dozen people known as Colossal Order. Your purchase goes toward supporting these guys instead of EA, which is probably a good thing in and of itself.