In a season to be merry, we have a rather dark cloud. The Anno universe has always been one with the years of trade and disputes that rucked the 16th to 18th centuries, but now things have jumped a bit further forward and moved into the future by about half a century. As true title tells the year is 2070 and the world has been heavily affected by Global Warming. Seas have risen and much of the continents have been swallowed up leaving only small islands for the human population to live.
Within the game itself, your key objective is to build a city from nothing to a thriving city port capable of creating complex goods, but all the while attempting to develop your city in a clean Eco-friendly way. The game works in a similar fashion to games like SimCity or Blue Bytes’ own Settlers series. You build a city starting with just a resource base, developing roads and housing for your citizens. But unlike Settlers it is all about resource handling, not developing too much of a resource that stays in your warehouse or having too many houses if there aren’t enough jobs. Battling your want to expand and your ability to do so is a constant here.
The problem when setting a game in the future is that you need to make them look futuristic, although this causes the problem of players not knowing instantly what a building does, just from looking at it. Nor does it help that like most games in this genre, you are confronted with lots of menus to decrypt. But luckily, the game’s campaign mode acts as a detailed tutorial giving you all information you need to know, although there are some of the more complex elements that are over looked.
Much like other RTS’ it’s all about expansion, but in Anno war is pushed to the backseat and trade and diplomacy are your primary resources of victory. The idea of each of the missions is to develop a colony to hit set goals given to you by the three factions. The factions reflect the variety of choices that you can make with the game. You have a band of Eco warriors on one side, the corporate big boys on another and science on the final side. Each offers a different way to play the game.
What may seem like a huge departure from the previous titles in the series, will seem very familiar to fans. The concept has changed but the actual gameplay is by and large the same. There is still a strong focus on trade and building a strong settlement instead of combat and warring, which admittedly seems strange considering the impending doom that the Earth is facing.
The jump to the future demotes the feel of faction power as the three factions seem to me more warring than in previous games. This doesn’t detract from what your core intent is, but actually in some respects enhances it, enabling you to be more diplomatic and strategic in the design and construction of your colonies.
While, the game’s slow pace may not resound with all, the graphics certainly will. The game looks amazing even running on medium grade PCs, indeed I was running it on my medium class laptop and barring some longer load times the difference between my laptop and my tower PC was minor.
Something else that should be noted is the lack of the depressing ‘always on’ Internet connection requirement that has plagued Ubisoft games. This offers a nice change of pace for the company in allowing free hopping travellers like myself access to their games no matter where they are.
Anno 2070 is a mix that seemed not to work, or at least shouldn’t work, but it does and very affectively. The more friendly approach to the Internet security that Ubisoft have adopted with this title makes it more appealing to laptop gamers, especially when combined with its less demanding graphics. While certainly not the cheeriest of thoughts during the Christmas period it does offer some solid strategy, perfect for those times on Christmas Day when your family is asleep and you want to seek off for a secret gaming session.
Rating: ExcellentReview Policy