The latest instalment in the venerated Anno series, 2070 does a lot right. Highly addictive; the DRM isn't.

User Rating: 6 | Anno 2070 PC
First off, this game is just plain addictive, almost surprisingly so. Building a complex system of trade routes to-and-fro across the map, all the service various production chains of goods to serve your populace, is very, very engrossing. While it may all seem like a bit much, the game does offer enough in-game help to get you going (and if you're connected to Uplay, you can ask people for help in the live chat; more on Uplay later).

2070 builds on previous games in the series, and while a lot of it is a rehash of the old, there's enough improvement and new content to keep one sated. Research (a highly involved process, if ever there was one in a game) is an interesting addition, but perhaps most intriguing of all is the creation of two distinct factions can start as: Ecos and Tycoons. The Ecos strive for harmony with nature, and their buildings have minute effects on the "ecobalance" of an island, though tend to lack for efficiency. They are most suited to defensive or peaceful play styles. The Tycoons are quite the opposite. They tear apart the earth and exploit it for all it's worth in the name of efficient progress, but this in turn can cause significant damage to the environment, and this has a negative effect on farming.

The single-player campaign is lack-luster, and pretty standard RTS fare set in an Anno game. It's also short. So short you'll be left looking longingly at all those upgrades you wish you could get sooner rather than later that are based on your "career progression". Points are awarded for missions completed, but there aren't enough points to fill up the bars, let alone half way. This leads me to believe (hope) that at the time of this writing, there are plans to give single players more access to ways to get career points. Aside from the daily missions (small fetch quests that can be completed in any game), which award a paltry 50 career points, there are also single missions that award points, but two are multiplayer-only, so solo players will be left in the lurch.

These upgrades are applied to your Ark, a gigantic floating base that can transfer items between games (provided the particular game allows this goods transfer). You can order goods from your Ark, but the most important aspect is the upgrades that can be use on it, items that can be slotted into t's upgrade slots which will provide significant benefits acros the entire map.

Unfortunately, all of the Ark's functionality is tied to one's Uplay account, meaning that if you opt to play offline or-and somewhat more likely-are disconnected from Ubisoft's servers, you lose this functionality. If you had a fully upgraded Ark, are playing in the late game and this happens, the effect can be devastating enough as to make the game unplayable. It's baffling as to why this is the way it is, since this could have been done as easily or more so by storing the Ark's upgrades locally (on the player's computer).

Other features you miss-out on when disconnected are the World Council and Senate. In the case of the former, players (that is, all players playing Anno 2070 during the voting period, which last several days) can elect a world leader, and this character will determine which special abilities can be used on every player's Ark. These provide huge bonuses in-game, enough so that they cannot be easily ignored.

The Senate is where occasionally, votes take place on different proposals, which will provide certain passive bonuses to all players, depending on the election outcome.

While the Senate and World Council are interesting additions to the series, players who prefer to play alone may find themselves a little miffed that the rest of the Anno 2070 community is deciding how their game can be played.

But, at the very least, you aren't booted from the game immediately when there's a disconnect, so you have a chance to save. Also, save games ARE stored locally, unlike some other popular Ubisoft game we know...

Is it worth the $50 price tag? Yes, and no, especially no if you bought the game on Steam (Steam versions were unplayable at launch). This is a great game that has been saddled with overly-aggressive DRM, like other Ubisoft games. Ubisoft seems to have learned a bit from past mistakes this time, but they still have a ways to go. Until one can play the game alone while offline, and not have some the most important features gutted which shouldn't be (the Ark's upgrades), you may decide it's not worth the headache. (Note that connectivity problems aren't as frequent at the time of this writing as they were with the previous Assassin's Creed. After 40+ hours of play, I have experienced 5 disconnects, resulting in about 4 hours of downtime.) The DRM is also the sole reason I have scored this at a six, rather than an eight.

If you're going to play online multiplayer, then the DRM isn't so bad, but solo players, and anyone who might not always have access to a high-speed internet connection should be wary.
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