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Review: Anno 2205

by onNovember 30, 2015
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After screaming with desperation to finally win over the fans, Anno finally takes a fearful leap in the future, which Blue Byte has chosen to reproduce a recipe that has worked by giving a sequel to the successful Anno 2070, with Anno 2205. However, the German studio did not rest on its laurels and has certainly taken the foundations of its previous game, and largely changed the approach and took some pretty drastic choices that may confuse some Anno fans.

Set in the year 2205 (thus the logical name), we left our greedy exploitation of the moon, yet earth’s resources are still scarce, and your task as a CEO is to find new supplies and take the leap once again to space to sustain humanity. This new perspective will lead you to engage in a race to power at the head of your corporation, which you can choose its name and logo in the opening minutes of playing the title. Before your first game, you are given the choice of establishing your headquarter in 3 different maps, each located in temperate zones and responding to a global ornamental project, to exploit energy or rare materials, or anything else… The choice is yours. In addition, information regarding the size and available resources in each area are provided to you at start, which will impact your long-term ambitions. Note that in this future, all your buildings are environmentally friendly and the environmentalist / industrial separation found in the previous Anno 2070 has been nullified.

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Once you start your new colony, you’ll soon find yourself in familiar territory, also called temperate zone, where you will initially build the first housing units for your workers. Besides the usual dwellings, we obviously need to fulfill their needs such as water, food and energy in order to “promote” them and attract a more skilled population. At the rather limited start , the number of building you can build increase and your people starts demanding quality products. However, one must keep in mind that the most advanced resources require to build different industries for their production. Indeed, industries are mostly dependent on others, and require ongoing monitoring of the amount of their production. The proliferation of your industries will reap fatally on costs if higher energy, labor and transport and from the first minutes of the game, you will have to take care to preserve the balance between expansion and economy. In short, the pure management aspect that makes Anno what it is, is ever enjoyable.

If running the game on ultra settings proves difficult for most PC gamers, we must admit that Anno is very pretty in general, as you look at your building rise and observe the life that flows in your futuristic streets. The artistic director Anno 2205 is quite inspired, avoiding successfully a switch to a surreal vision of the future. Note also that if your islands are certainly fragmented, the map size remains large enough to allow you to build huge prosperous cities, but you will not stay long in the temperate zone. Indeed, your spaceport, the equivalent of the KRG in Anno 2070 sits proudly in the middle of the ocean and it is up to you to develop it in order to add a space elevator authorizing the conquest of the stars. The set is governed by clear objectives (get X amount of skilled workers, produce particular resource) and once they are met, you can get started in improving your spaceport and access the strategic map, opening the door to management that Blue Byte call “multi-session”, developing multiple colonies simultaneously.

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In a fairly limited beginning, the strategy map provides the opportunity to colonize the Arctic zone. It goes without saying that building a city in an area with a hostile climate ask you to revise your strategy. Because of the extreme cold, you will have to place your houses and industries close to “heat” source, such as a power plant, which shows an orange circle corresponding to the warmth it gives off. Note, however, and too bad for the sprained realism, that it is possible with a single click to move any building in the game once built. So if you realize that moving a factory would cover more dwellings in its heat zone, the game allows you frankly to do so in a practical way. This also supports another Anno 2205 feature: building extensions to your plants.

If it was once necessary to multiply industries to increase the resource inflows, you will not be forced to do so now. After a certain amount of play time, you will be allowed to add extensions to your plants, mines or your water pumps to increase productivity. More consistent and aesthetic, this possibility will force you to rethink positioning your industries, anticipating the addition of extensions and thus the building space.

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Once your Arctic expansion got the necessary scarce resources necessary for the next expansion, you will have to set your horizon to the conquest of the moon, by improving your spaceports and colonize our satellite and exploit its assets. The lunar zone operates almost exactly like the Arctic zone, except that you will not protect your buildings from the cold but from meteorite showers. For this, you will be given the ability to build shields are at your disposal, each with a limited radius of protection. So, again, everything will be a matter of positioning and cost management as they are particularly costly.

Overall, the management of each of your colonies is governed by the same mechanical although obvious reasoning, as all zones do not produce the same goods and it is on this point that the strategic map and the principle of multi-session brings legitimacy to the game. Indeed, the strategic map gives you an overview of your different zones and with it the various deficiencies and surplus of resources. For example, if your moon colony is short on food, you can fast access the temperate zone to increase the production of basic goods. Once you reach excess production, you can very quickly create a trade route (for a fee) to bring commodities from one colony to another.

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Anno 2205 still has a nice management aspect, and demonstrates excellent ideas to renew its mechanical, in almost a more accessible way than in the past. The military aspect has not been forgotten but is very different from previous episodes. There won’t be much friction or even interactions with opposing factions, which will manifest mostly through pop-ups allerts, letting you know how far you are ahead of them. Therefore we regret the diplomatic disappearance to its simplest expression. However, the Orbital Watch faction, kind of local terrorist, threaten colonies in your surroundings and you will join from time to time the “crisis areas” accessible from the strategic map.

These crisis areas put you at the head of a fleet consisting of several ships, each with a different traveling speed and firepower. It will be up to you to fill key objective (destroy a strategic position, recover an allied ship …) and also allow you to eventually gather scarce resources. Not really interesting, since the combat phases will be to mostly destroy dams, ships and collect energy items, these missions require a minimum of attention to be completed, and do not ask you to be a military genius to succeed. Advertised as optional, combat sessions actually turn out essential due to the scarcity of resources that you can harvest, the latter being required to build extensions to plants in your colonies.

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It’s also not the only criticism that can be invoked against Anno 2205. Multiplayer fans should know that this sequel has swapped its previous online features, content to govern global market. This will allow you to buy or sell certain resources whose prices will be conditioned by the other players on the basis of supply and demand. The idea is rather nice but nothing that deep, as it will be almost a sort of stock market monitoring mission.

Finally, you must bear in mind Anno 2205 offers in no way a sandbox mode. If the absence of this mode is justified by the needs of a scripted story, it is regrettable that such a game does not offer this option. However, keep in mind that maps are very big, filled with large areas and great opportunities, which should be more than enough to keep you busy for very long hours. However, there’s a problematic flaw that you should know, which is the game has no manual backup. Thus, if in a daring momentum, and you want to take the risk to reshape your island with actions that could drastically alter your economy, there’s no going back, and you’ll be forced to create a new corporation to start from scratch.

Anno 2205 was reviewed using an PC copy of the game provided by Ubisoft Middle East We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published

What we liked

• Really well designed
• Gameplay adapted to environment (arctic, moon, etc)
• The ability to add extensions to your industries
• The simultaneous management of different colonies
• The strategic map
• Effective management of trade routes
• A great soundtrack and art direction

What is not fun

• Military missions are not really exciting but almost mandatory
• A simple story
• Overall a bit too easy
• Diplomacy has been reduced to nothing
• No sandbox mode
• No PVP multiplayer
• No manual saves

Editor Rating
 
Concept
8.6

 
Graphics
9.0

 
Sound
9.2

 
Playability
8.1

 
Entertainment
7.8

 
Replay Value
7.0

Final Score
8.3


Our final verdict
 

Judging Anno 2205 in the light of the 2070 would be to focus on the lack of some expensive features in the heart of the players. This raise the question of whether they forgive Blue Byte's new choices. However, it would be wrong to sanction this sequel to Anno that has great ideas (the different areas, multi-session, the expansion of the industries system) while retaining this clean and soothing appearance to a great management games. Despite some flaws and choices that are not always explainable, Anno 2205 you will have you play many hours, thanks to a refined aesthetic and mechanical system that is as pleasant as it was. Blue Blyte's sage still remains in the top of the food chain of management games.

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