The Anno series of city building simulators is one of the longest running, dating back to 1998. It is from that date that new parts of the game appear every couple of years. For almost 20 years of the existence of the series, Anno fans have been able to plunge into various time eras and even go to the future, both near and far. The new part takes us back two centuries to the era when the world was engulfed in industrialization and factories and machines were noisy everywhere and the onset of technical progress was literally felt.
About the genre of city planner simulator
The genre of the urban planning simulator is very modest by the standards of the gaming industry: its audience is small, the leaders are already familiar series and their sequels, and new projects, like the same Cities: Skylines, do not appear here very often. When at least one project of this genre appears in one year, then this is already a very good indicator.
Some changes to this genre are brought even less often and, as a rule, are a couple of new mechanics and graphics improvements. Anno is no exception here, and about each new part it is already easy to say in advance what will be in it and what is worth waiting for. However, the developers from Blue Byte Ubisoft decided to change something in the game and started with a concept – from the past centuries they rushed into the future. Albeit with some reservations, the new parts turned out to be quite good projects in the spirit of the usual series. Basically, there were no bad games or even mediocre ones in the Anno franchise. However, it was more and more difficult to offer players something new to the creators of the game with each new part.
What’s in store for Anno 1800?
In this game, the developers decided to return to the familiar concept and use already well-developed and proven mechanics. In the new part, the era of industrialization begins, which means that the usual rural fields and futuristic buildings of the future will be replaced by factories and factories with their machines and workers, working for the good of their country. However, this era also has its drawbacks: the same industrialization with its factories and production negatively affected the environment, so whether you want it or not, due to the rapid pace of production, the environment among and ordinary people suffers.
In the new game, you will have the same maps as in Anno 2205, so it will be very difficult to carry out the relationship between the islands, because it still represents the level of transportation of goods from one point to another. In this regard, each society is tightly attached to its native place of residence.
In principle, this is one of the key drawbacks of this game – here you are not faced with the task of building a powerful empire, you are just building a familiar city in a new place. The state here is not perceived as a single mechanism, and the interconnection of its individual subjects is reduced only to the transportation of goods to one point or another. In addition, many paths to this or that place you need to establish manually, which is very boring and tedious.
A big plus in the game is that the current characters are always ready to give you one or another task. Although they are not always varied, they still dilute the gameplay and make it more interesting. Plus, in the game you have access to the sea, and this is the opportunity to create a fleet and merchant ships.
Ships are also needed by researchers. From now on, you will be able to supply expeditions to search for new lands and expand your territories. All this is presented in the form of simple tasks that are given to you as you progress through the game. There are a lot of these tasks, and even after several hours of their continuous execution, they do not get bored. There will be some tasks with difficult choices. For example, in one of the missions you will have the opportunity to rescue a boy on the shore, but only by beating him off with a fight or by paying a bribe. It’s much easier to just throw it, but is it that easy?
Missions of this kind are a pleasant opportunity to distract yourself after the tedious building of production in your city. Indeed, it can be much more interesting to bargain with customs officers or to supply an expedition to search for rare animals than to build transport routes that everyone has worn. But such quests are very expensive pleasure, which will become available to you only after a dozen hours of gameplay.
Nevertheless, after all these bright adventures, you will have to return to the usual more global tasks. The key one is quite obvious – to build chains for several social strata of the inhabitants (artisans, farmers and the working class at the moment). The peasants are needed for collecting raw materials and simple work in the field of agriculture. Workers are concentrated in heavy production and work in factories. Craftsmen are a kind of middle class analogue that operates in light industry, such as making clothes.
The mechanism here is the same as in the previous games of the series: satisfying the needs of one class, you can transfer it to another class in time, thereby improving it. However, it should be understood that you cannot make everyone the same artisans, because then there will be an imbalance due to the fact that there is no one to harvest and work at the machines.
Meeting the needs of each class is also not an easy task, because each is very different: peasants only have enough food and simple clothes, workers already need education and basic amenities, and artisans want to go to theaters and attend all kinds of cultural events. Also, apart from needs, there are things that make every class happy: farmers only need a drink at the local bar, workers want to go to church for a weekend and have a beer, and artisans need culture.
An important advantage of the game is that over time, when your city and the demand for resources increases, the game becomes much more diverse and interesting. You no longer have enough of the usual mechanisms for obtaining this or that raw material; here new mechanics come into play – trade, colonies and travel. Of course, they will also be very complex and varied, for example, a ship with your expedition can easily be attacked by pirates, so you should always be careful here. But despite this, a number of mechanics still look as if they were simply attached for show for some unknown reason. I would like to believe that over time, the developers will finalize the game and everything will fall into place.
Anno 1800 has its own problems that have long plagued the series. For example, this is a very bad optimization. At the moment, this could not have been focused on, if not for the last game in the series, where a similar problem was at the time of release. Of course, balancing the game for certain characteristics of iron is not easy when it has such a large and varied world with hundreds of characters. But why then all this if no PC can reproduce it normally?
A very big disadvantage is that any product and resource has to be assessed without detailed information, roughly speaking “by eye”. You also do not have detailed data about the city and its inhabitants, which makes the gameplay very difficult. Maybe the fans of the series are already used to this and they like this alignment, but after all, you need to attract a new audience, for which such a moment in the game will cause irritation and inconvenience.
A few words about the plot
I would like to note that even despite the game genre, which does not have a bright and interesting story in the game, the storyline here is very commonplace. Agree that the beginning of a story with a dying father and his evil relatives who wants to rob you is, to put it mildly, a very strong cliché. And this is despite the fact that the game has many missions with the search for certain items that will quickly make you bored.
Anno 1800 is all the same game in the Anno series. Agree that it is very pleasant to make a modern metropolis with large production facilities and huge buildings out of a small island and wooden buildings. Even if the smoke from factories is very harmful and pollutes a clean island – well, there is nothing to be done about it, such an era. The game has its own problems and shortcomings. However, they are quite minor, and the key features of the series have been successfully preserved here. Fans of Anno and just good urban planning simulators will have enough. After all, you must admit that very few games of this genre have been released recently and the continuation of such a successful series will look very useful.