Saturday, December 03, 2011

A very new Anno

What will I be doing this weekend? Instead of giving you the usual weekend update, I will do this post, for one thing. The reason for this is that I will be occupied with one thing for most of the weekend: “Anno 2070”.

I have been playing the Anno series by the German developers Related Design ever since the first one, “Anno 1602”. Through “Anno 1503,” “Anno 1701,” and “Anno 1404,” I have made my way through island worlds, founded cities, plotted trade routes and done little dances of joy upon spotting the first noblemen (and -women) in the streets.

Anno has always been about building up one big city on one island and colonizing others in order to obtain wares and resources your main island needs. Clever planning of the city, diplomatic abilities to deal with other settlements and a fleet of ships have been the main ingredients to success.

Now Related Design has taken a very big step, the step from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the future. The new Anno is set in the not too distant future of Earth, in the year 2070. (If you wonder about the dates: all Anno date are made up of numbers that add up to 9 – check it out, if you want.) Gone is the contemplative Medieval world where the settlers walk around on simple dirt paths and carts pick up all the stuff from the woodcutters, breweries, and other sites. In the year 2070, after the climate change has turned continents into atolls, flying transports zoom from the warehouses to the production sites and cars hover over the stable streets.

Underneath the new times, however, Anno still is Anno. Good planning is still the key to success. To make things harder, however, the one fraction from the prequels (well one and a half in “Anno 1404”) has been split into three different ones. Tycoons, Ecos and Scientists live in the new island world and, in order to obtain buildings from the fractions, have to be part of a settlement. While the free game only allows for you to choose one fraction (Eco or Tycoon, you will always have Scientists around), during the campaign you will soon have all of them living in your cities.

Bad for me, though: the game doesn’t really run offline, even though theoretically it should. Trying to get the game to start offline, however, has proven very difficult, so I stay online, normally. At least the copy protection still isn’t as bad as with some other Ubisoft titles (like “The Settlers 7” or “Assassin’s Creed 2”).

Apart from this, however, I have nothing to complain about. The new Anno, as far as I have been able to play it so far, is as complex and interesting, as detailed and good-looking, as much an Anno as the ones before it.

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