Related Designs and Ubisoft Blue Byte have released one of the most addictive real-time strategy / simulators this year with Anno 2070. It’s such a shame that few have heard of it, and even fewer will play it.
Global warming has melted the ice caps putting humanity on the brink of destruction. In order to survive, three global factions set out to build self sustaining societies on small islands. You can play as the Ecos, the environmentally friendly and resource inefficient culture, or the Tycoons, the quickly developing, highly efficient group who cares little for environmental balance. And you are supported by a third group: the Tech, who specialize in underwater and air supremacy.
You begin your society with an Ark and a small amount of resources. It’s up to you to find land, settle, and start making it on your own. Of course, there is some warfare involved in the gameplay, but Anno 2070 focuses more on city development than it does on real-time strategy and large global conflicts.
You grow and catch all your own food, mine all your own materials, set up trade routes, cut down and replenish your own tree supplies, manufacture your own entertainment, handle inter-island and inter-factional affairs. All the while you need to keep a balance of your budget, your power supply, the environment (if you choose to), your production chains, and the very complex needs of your ever-expanding civilization. Everything is in the hands of the player. It’s a slow and methodical process set to some fantastic music and gorgeous visuals.
When you’re feeling up to it, you can declare war upon another settlement. War must not be taken lightly, however, as it can take a toll on your trade routes, and your economic balance. It’s a slower-paced war and not meant for those looking for a StarCraft or Red Alert-type experience.
The voice acting is sub-par, but it does enough to fill you in on campaign details and sub-quests. The game’s one true fault is that it lacks a decent tutorial system. And by “it lacks a decent tutorial system” we mean that we pretty much figured everything out on our own in the game through trial and error, which is terrible because the learning curve on the game is STEEP and there are TONS of very complex development trees to keep in mind.
You can partake in the campaign which is lengthy enough on its own. But there are also single missions to play, and nuclear terrorist groups lead by the vicious Scorpio to defeat. The dollar to gaming-hour ratio is definitely in the buyer’s favor.
As a whole though, if you’re looking for a city-building experience, Anno truly is a fantastic game. There are dozens, if not hundreds of hours of gameplay found here, the co-operative and multiplayer options in the game multiply the fun factor by 10. But newcomers may be completely turned off by the abysmal tutorials. There is a demo available, so those who are reluctant to plunge in and make a full purchase can try before you buy.
Anno 2070 is a blast to play once you completely understand the intricacies of the trade functions, and skill trees. For those who take the time to learn its secrets, Anno 2070 is a worthwhile title to add to your sim collection. It’s a huge improvement for the Anno series. It’s just shame that the crippling learning curve will turn away so many players.
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Name: Anno 2070
Available on: PC
Developed by: Ubisoft Blue Byte and Related Designs
Published by: Ubisoft
Release date: November 17, 2011
EG Score: 3 out of 5 / “Worth Trying”