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Review

Anno 2070 Review

  • Game release: November 17, 2011
  • Reviewed: December 16, 2011
  • PC

The sci-fi city building of Anno 2070 is a fresh take on a familiar genre. Expect to get hooked, and stay hooked.

by

With Anno 2070, a well-regarded series of strategic city builders goes rushing headlong into the future. No longer do you produce spices and dates, or ivory and jade. Such notions seem almost quaint in Anno 2070, where fancy health drinks and microchips are in high demand, and submarines scan for anomalies near underwater islands. The game's appealing futuristic vibe is apparent from the main menu screen, where you view the rotating Earth as if through a satellite feed, scan lines and static occasionally disrupting your view. But the joy goes far beyond the superficial. Anno 2070 is a detailed and daunting game that lures you in with its attractive trappings, and then hooks you with its interwoven social and economic structures. Sandbox urban planning and structured missions are combined effortlessly. It's a one-two punch of game addictiveness: "Slowly expand and improve my growing civilization" and "I'll do just one more quest before I turn in."

Running out of space? You'll need to make some key decisions to maintain a robust economy.

That addictiveness is further heightened by Anno 2070's persistent nature, in which a metagame of sorts keeps the rewards coming the more you play. Your main structure is the ark--a floating base from which your helpful AI companion intones advice and updates. You can upgrade the ark with various modules you earn, research, and purchase over time. Modules have a variety of effects: increase transport ships' cargo space, enable offshore windmills, and so forth, and once you find them, you get to keep them. Another metagame feature: when you log in to the game, you and other players might get an opportunity to vote for the faction leader of your choice, in an effort to reap the potential rewards he or she might offer. Note the "log in" part, however. To begin playing--and obviously, to participate in online features like voting--you must be connected to the Internet. You can continue playing a single-player game should you lose your connection, though that could cause you to lose your persistent ark upgrades.

The need to be online to start playing isn't ideal on those uncommon but annoying occasions when Ubisoft's servers shut you out. Whether or not you see the online persistence as a clever "gamification" of the Anno series or a veiled method of justifying stringent digital rights management, however, there's no denying that the city builder underneath is fun and rewarding even without all the metagame embellishments. You begin with your ark, a modest cargo ship, some currency, and the basic necessities for founding your first city. From your little harbor grows a metropolis, new buildings becoming available to you as you meet your population's evolving needs. They might want only fish and tea at first, but give them time, and they'll be whining for communication centers and fancy pasta dishes. And delivering the goods means exploiting the map, setting up trade routes, and sometimes even fending off the rivals who stand in your way.

Welcome to the big blue.

It seems simple at first: place structures to get a supply of basic building materials flowing into your warehouses, keep everything connected with roads, and so forth. But before long, your list of considerations grows, and you must make crucial decisions on how to expand, what to purchase, and how to transfer the flow of goods. In Anno 2070, you don't need to manually set up transport routes between warehouses; once a resource makes its way into a warehouse, it's available in every warehouse on that island. Don't take that to mean this game feels dumbed down as a result. Once you expand to multiple islands, or even encounter other arks--whether they are controlled by the AI or by other players in online games--you can and should set up automated trade routes using any available vessels. If you're producing a superfluous amount of fish but constantly running low on tea, trading with others or redistributing these items across multiple islands can keep your income flowing.

Speaking of tea, your citizens drink a lot of it, though eventually, their tastes become more refined. But watch out: they might demand health food, which means you must grow both rice and vegetables. And thus you might have a problem on your hands, since the soil may not support those veggies. Or coffee. Or another supply you need. Solving such problems gets your creative juices flowing, for without that health food, you can't attract the next level of citizen. And without those citizens, you aren't getting cooler structures to play with, and your little empire grinds to a premature halt.

F.A.T.H.E.R. is the parental figure of your nightmares.

Not that everyone likes health food, though the game's Eco faction sure wolfs it down. The Tycoons, other playable faction, aren't so environmentally conscious, preferring champagne to biodrinks. There's an interesting dynamic here representing a very modern conflict: environmentalism versus industry. Depending on your own views, you might see the Ecos as green warriors or voodoo climatologists, but either way, Anno 2070 embraces the relationship between population, food supply, and pollution. The Tycoons aren't as concerned with protecting the ecology as are the Ecos, but both factions must monitor rising levels of environmental contamination, and each possesses a structure to purify the air. But these structures--like those that produce power--must be spaced out properly to maximize their effectiveness.

There's a third faction too: the Techs. The Techs aren't a fully playable faction but more of a supplemental one; allying with them unlocks key buildings like oil refineries and algae farms. And so an involving game becomes even more intriguing, because these structures must be constructed not above the sea, but underneath it. Taking your first submarine and plunging into the depths for the first time in a scenario is always a joy. Marine life glides past, and muffled gurgles give each dive an otherworldly aura. In addition to keeping goods from underwater bases flowing to mainland warehouses, you must also then manage the citizens of two factions at once, each with particular needs. It isn't just the sea that's deep--it's the entire game.

Need to rebalance resources? Setting up trade routes is the ticket to financial success.

So it's involved, certainly, but is Anno 2070 fun? The answer is an emphatic yes, and not just due to the engrossing nature of the genre. Like in most such games, progress might be slow, though you can mitigate any lulls with the fast-forward key. But protracted downtime isn't that common thanks to occasional quests assigned to you. Missions involve rescuing stranded citizens, making special deliveries, and so forth, and the majority of them have a time limit. You'd do best to accomplish such tasks: not only might you earn a spiffy reward, but failure to achieve them could mean damaging your relationship with other ark captains. Not that Anno 2070's diplomacy system is particularly deep, but if you want to avoid war, you should try staying in everyone's good graces.

War may still come, though Anno 2070 is not a traditional real-time strategy game. You don't build elaborate armies, but rather create some air and naval units and click your way to triumph. Of course, even without big piles of intimidating war machines, this is a complex game, and newcomers need time to accustom themselves. The story campaign is a good place to start, because it gradually introduces new concepts and focuses on specific tasks until you're ready to manage your miniature empire on your own. Even then, learning Anno 2070 is not an effortless task. You may be asked to build a particular mine, but the structure won't appear on the build menu. As it turns out, it's organized as a substructure of another building, though the campaign might not spell out this information. Finding a certain building on an increasingly congested island can also be a chore when you desperately wish to manage a supply chain. Nevertheless, given the complexity of the game, interacting with Anno 2070 isn't overly bothersome, and once you get used to the way the build menu is organized, you may grow to appreciate how so many structures can be built with so few clicks.

Missions are a welcome element in your city-building sandbox.

Even genre veterans should take a peek at the story campaign, if only to immerse themselves in Anno 2070's futuristic atmosphere. After all, nothing says "science fiction" more than a rogue AI out to destroy its former masters. The tale's a bit campy--as is some of the voice acting--but the campiness provides welcome levity in a politically conscious game. Other production elements are decidedly more serious. Anno's synthesized warbles and orchestral riffs are alternately serene and stimulating, evoking thoughts of hi-tech expansion and computer-automated lifestyles. The fantastic visuals tie everything together; Eco cities lend an art deco sheen to the natural beauty of their surroundings, and the Tycoon areas darken that beauty with factories and distilleries.

The sci-fi ambience is a big part of Anno 2070's allure, and it goes a long way toward making the game feel fresh and surprising. An even bigger part of the allure is that Anno 2070 is what you make of it. If you want to chill out with some breezy city building without undue pressure, the easy difficulty setting is an inviting option. Once you get a number of ark upgrades, the hardest setting keeps your mental gears whirring and your clicking finger busy. No matter what your speed, Anno 2070 is addictive in the best way, by combining three brands of compelling design into one: intricate urban planning, time-sensitive questing, and persistent rewards for continued play. And that trifecta will keep you coming back for more.

The Good
Involving mix of city building, resource management, and mission completion
Metagame adds persistence in clever ways
Great visuals and soundtrack give the game a cool sci-fi style
Pollution control and underwater islands invigorate the formula
The Bad
Online copy protection makes for occasional technical trouble
Some interface quirks and other foibles can lead to confusion for beginners
8.5
Great
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Discussion

129 comments
man0cels0
man0cels0

I detest it when critics bad mouth games for not taking you by your hands! The whole point of a game is finding out yourself how the matrix works and freeing yourself from it, for goodness sake, do you people need another minecraft to figure that out? That isn't to say everyone shares my taste of course, however I also like to make a clear distinction between a poorly done design and a purposedly difficult one. If you don't like to spend lots of times finding out how the games work then i can't recommend strategy games 'cause that's their whole purpose. Also generally when they involve stock markets their economic systems can be somewhat bypassed by it if you're acknowkedged in the stuff. Also I learned nothing of the game from the video review this time.

cgobeil
cgobeil

Awesome review of one of my favorite games, I'm with S.A.A.T. (Techs) and I really hope Ubisoft makes a sequel to the amazing Anno 2070.

DreamPhreak
DreamPhreak

I've only found out about Anno 1404 a few days ago, been enjoying it so much. And then finding out about Anno 2070 just makes me so excited, I have to hurry and finish 1404's campaign!

theCCyberDDemon
theCCyberDDemon

A game like this should have a better tutorial, as it is said in here, it can get confuse for begginers. Well i guess i need to go the hardest way just as i did with Outpost 2 a very long time ago.

NoHyperbolePlz
NoHyperbolePlz

Anybody reading this trying to decide if this is a good alternative to SimCity?

boostl
boostl

Climate change is a huge business and i am convinced it is a scam

or if there is any truth to it its way exaggerated. Like George Carlin said "The planet is fine.. The people are f..ked"

made_u_look
made_u_look

@wavelenth121 I find it hilarious you find my opinion on the game as trolling. I don't find it offensive, I'm a fan of the Anno series but this is blatant political biased. And trust me its not the case as people tend to make it a one sided argument when in reality 30,000 scientists a majority of them climatologist have refuted the evidence of man made climate change. And if that were the case theirs almost zero evidence it would be catastrophic. Now I'm no way telling them how or what to make just stating my opinion. Have a nice day.

wavelength121
wavelength121

@made_u_look No, it's a hypothetical science fiction scenario for a videogame and if you find that offensive or "brainwashing" then it's your own fault for being mentally incompetent, interesting that you feel so secure in your belief that humans aren't causing climate change that you saw fit to troll about it on a gaming site. Right, "no one ever takes into account the sun", trust me I'm sure that's the first thing scientists take into account when calculating humanity's devastating effect on the biosphere.

HiPlanesDrifter
HiPlanesDrifter

This sounds like a city building game to rival SimCity 4 and cities XL 2012.

Fandangle
Fandangle

Looks like a good game but the DRM is too much for me.

made_u_look
made_u_look

This is just brainwashing kids into think manufacturing's bad. No one ever takes into account of the Sun, for extreme heat changes. Cause you know it only heats our solar system. We've been having the highest solar activity recorded in the past 10 years.

06053kma
06053kma

good tactical game. I like the mission in the game

johnners2981
johnners2981

@Yams1980 How does it affect the review? It doesn't, it's just an extra revenue stream for gamespot. Quit complaining

Pawfalcon
Pawfalcon

I would love to play this game... if not for the fact that I'm broke and I'm pretty sure my old piece-of-crap comp would explode if I tried to play it. My (get-it-at-some-point) amazon wishlist it is!

Manhasted
Manhasted

Global Warming, DRM... the game is brilliant people and the fact that you are surfing GameSpot makes it hard to believe that you don't have constant internet at your disposal. I'm glad to see Anno in the top 10 list of popular games. Well done Related Designs, you deserve it

Kastigador
Kastigador

@Yams1980 Agree. I think that ad should be removed for paying subscribers like every other ad. It's minor, but that's what I paid for. I don't think they're selling out the integrity of the review by having it there, but subscribers pay for no Ads and that's definitely an Advertisement. If I see any more of this, I'll be cancelling.

Yams1980
Yams1980

"PC games are reviewed using AMD Technology". I think they use this to get free $$ and free hardware for doing reviews. I guess if Nvidia and Intel gave them free stuff they would give them advertising space too. Pretty much I have no respect for ad spammed reviews. How can you trust anyone that puts that sellout quote before a review.

maroonworks
maroonworks

Great review, I hope to get it if it goes on sale. Also, guys, stop arguing politics and global policy in the comments of a game review. It has nothing to do with this game and doesn't help any potential buyer in the least. Take it to the forums or email each other. Be respectful for goodness' sake.

illmatic87
illmatic87

"PC games are reviewed using AMD Technology". I didnt notice this before until now. They probably felt the need though after what happened with RAGE

Diarma10
Diarma10

I kind of liked Anno1701 and 1404, but for me at any rate they started being tiresome far sooner than other city builders. I'll try this maybe next year, but for city building, I think I'll stay with Settlers. ... As for the Environment, well, just google Arctic ice sheets, aw hell, just google Antarctic ice sheets while you're at it too. We ain't helping matters that's for sure.

falbi23
falbi23

If you were actually an "expert" on any of this Yasso, you would't jump from the concept of influence, to quantum physics, to the butterfly effect, to propaganda because it just seems like you are throwing big words to throw out big words, which really doesn't do anything for you since all of your information is wrong or invalid. However If it is the propaganda and censorship of American's that you want to talk about - well that is happening all the time, but with global climate change? Not so much. Stop googling hoaxes.

falbi23
falbi23

@ Yasso: Stop trying to be the psychological/sociological prodigy on the Gamestop boards because you're not. The very fact that you said that climate change isn't real, not only eliminates any sense of credibility that you maybe thought you had before but it makes your argument even more faulty. I'm sure when you googled the term "global warming hoax", you started to feel all high-and-mighty because you actually "researched" something in your life, but the truth is until you take college-level courses on psychology, sociology, and environmental studies, you really can't say anything on the matter of "global warming". Also get with the times - the concept of "global warming" is dated and we now know that the entire climate is changing (not just heating up), and while some of it is natural, humans are speeding up the process drastically. How many of these natural disasters do we need destroying other countries infrastructures and creating more environmental refugees before for you realize that it is more than just a "hoax" Entire island nations are becoming swallowed by rising ocean levels like the Maldives while the giant Asian Brown Cloud is suffocating the air around South Asia and India, killing millions each year.

arruu2000
arruu2000

i don´t like anno´s interface in any of their games... Also, i would to have more detailed information about economics, like "per minute" supply information, smth like Rise of Nations

mrwar
mrwar

I would love to buy this game... but I do not buy games with machine activation DRM at all. In fact, I haven't bought a Ubisoft game in quite a while because of their DRM schemes...

wilhelmut
wilhelmut

It is one the best recent strategy games ... a must have.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@mafiul -- We don't control what shows up on the top games on the front page, nor does any company. It is our readers. The most popular is based on traffic, and traffic alone. If lots of people go to read a review, preview, or news article for a game, it then shows up as one of the most popular games on the site because lots of people are reading about it. It's not some conspiracy, dude.

yasso
yasso

@cephas90 And I agree with you on that "influence" will have degrees; after all, there are influential figures or personalities, and there are simple people who change very little in their surroundings. However, with our knowledge today as a race, we really know too little to be able to quantify influence properly, and looks deceive often as you probably know. A simple, poor person may look insignificant, but you never know, their influence in an important mass event might've been awe-inspiring. The same thing can apply to this simple game; it could influence just ONE gamer, who grows up to be someone, and they carry a certain message to influence much more in the world. That's the thing about the mysteries of how the universe work, which quantum physicists try to decipher nowadays, we do not have the technology or knowledge to truly understand the "chain reactions" or "butterfly effects" that occur in our world every second. In one word, we should never underestimate the effect of a misleading message; if something is wrong, then we should declare it openly as wrong, just as I did, and even if 8 out of 10 people are going to troll me while calling me the troll, it doesn't matter; one should still do the right thing and call things as they are. Maybe one sane person will listen.

yasso
yasso

@Huggy_Monster Claiming that the main idea or main theme of the game's story has absolutely no relevance to the game is like claiming that love has absolutely no relevance to a romantic song. You claim "It's just a game", and they can claim, "It's just a song". @cephas90 I'm continuing this from my comments above, as this whole comment is relevant to your and Huggy's replies: The reality is that it's never "just a game", or just a song, or just a movie...all those are pretty much supplements or replacements for books in the minds of billions of people across the world who barely--if ever--read something useful, and they just absorb what they have in their minds via movies, games, and songs, no more. In fact, that's exactly why media professional and propagandists are able to influence whole generations and populations...by convincing them that "it's just a...game/movie/song". But it really is much more than that; at the very least, it's a message.

cephas90
cephas90

@yasso no one believes global warming, and I doubt a low key game like this is even influential enough to do what you're talking about.

mafiul
mafiul

This Game was not in top least when it was released, but after a month now it's 1st in Top least just after GameSpot reviewed it. So who if controlling gamers interest and sells? A true Quality Game or a Game Review Website?

saucex4
saucex4

@NoHyperbolePlz The great thing is that Anno 2070 no longer requires an always on internet. There are features of the game that require an internet connection, but losing your connection will no longer hamper your game play.

Anno is a city builder with a little bit of RTS sprinkled in.  You can completely ignore the RTS elements by playing the game on easy if RTS is not your thing. The learning curve is steep, and the tutorial is awful. Play a little bit of the campaign, and step into an easy game, or even look up some videos on youtube for some basics. 

If you're looking for a more casual experience though Anno may not be for you, as it is a tad complex. That being said that understanding the game and building some awesome cities is highly rewarding.

camelotcrusade
camelotcrusade

@NoHyperbolePlz I certainly enjoyed it, but it's not SimCity.  The focus is much more on production than on city building.  I will say it's a quality, engaging product, though.  Give it a try if you like a good simulation, but don't go in expecting SimCity - expect something new, but enjoyable.  Learning curve is a bit steep, too, so be patient or ask a friend who plays for tips.  Fortunately, there is a co-op mode where you and a buddy can both build a world *at the same time.*  That's pretty neat.

anariesman
anariesman

@boostl  What an ironc quote to use with your post.  Of course the planet will be fine.. it was here for 4 billion years and will be for 4 billion more.  Climate change threatens US, the people.  Anything we do, the planet can recover from eventually.. climate change concerns are over human survival.. the part of the quote where we are f..ked.

alioli
alioli

 @boostl That's exactly the case, Boostl. The planet will certanly survive - we're the ones who are fucked though. The planet can adapt and change accordingly and will easily survive us.

 

Without us - once we've fucked ourselves hard enough, the planet will rise and become wonderfull again. Climate change is no lie, it is very very true and very very closer to ruining us than you seem to think.

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

 @boostl The planet is not fine. We're on a climatic knife edge as we speak; all the data that we have indicates that Earth should be in it's cooling stages, yet the opposite is occurring. We know that Carbon has a high residence in the atmosphere, we know that it is an effective greenhouse gas: Venus's past and present state is a good example of what effects excess greenhouse gas can have, and it's far worse than what is being "exaggerated".

 

But let me ask you a question: in who's interest is it to deny this?

ampthos
ampthos

 @made_u_look  @wavelenth121 really because i live in new zealand and we're already getting refugees from pacific islands that have gone under water from rising sea levels

Zealotfx
Zealotfx

 @made_u_look  @wavelenth121 Actually, a quick google search results in several graphs and data showing a decline in the suns activity since about 1980, while global temperatures continue to rise rapidly. It is common to find cherry picked data from certain sites, but if you follow their citations you get to what they are not telling you. The scientists who actually post findings in peer reviewed journals which are accepted by the scientific community agree that climate change is and has already been occurring. 

 

Either way, it is cheaper to buy, run and maintain efficient cars, where is the harm? Money is the cause of this, think of the vast profits made from the inefficiency that we are convinced to love by the power of advertising.

dorotadrozd
dorotadrozd

 @mrwar How is this any different from Steam? You can't criticize valve without being swarmed by angry ignoramuses, yet it seems like these same people see no hypocrisy in blasting Ubisoft for attempting a DRM scheme similar to the one they so vigorously defend.

bgbg001
bgbg001

 @mrwar I totally agree, the last game I bought was the Settlers 7, after a week of downloading something like 6 gigs of updates before I could even get it to load up the menu screen, then I had to stuff around for another couple of hours with there pathetic DRM, I ended up playing 30 minutes of game, and never played it again because it was no fun, it was just time spent trying to prove it was not a Pirate copy, so from that time I said Ubisoft are Pathetic and I will never buy one of there games again, and now after buying Diablo 3, and keep getting disconnected from my single player game because of DRM, Blizzard now have joined my Banned list of game companies that I will not purchase from.

juboner
juboner

@Devils-DIVISION @boostl anyone who believes in global warming is easily deceived. The earth heats up and cool down naturally. We have only been industrialized for what a little over a century. There is no way to tell what average temp we are supposed to be at right now compared to the millions and millions of years the earth is old that we have no hard data about. Do some research on how one volcano eruption emits more carbon into atmosphere than anything humans have come close to.

GoreSmasher
GoreSmasher

 @Devils-DIVISION It has never been proven that humans are responsible for any climate change. Matter of fact there was a scandal of forged data claiming the opposite. What motivation would there be in pushing a climate change agenda? Money and business dealings, of course to justify more of our money given to research, projects and corporations.

geo-gnome
geo-gnome

 @Devils-DIVISION earth heats up naturally

(humans have helped speed this up but not as bad as some believe) as carbon dioxide levels rise its a natural progress of a world look at venus same size as earth a good distance from the sun its heated up due to global warming and that happened naturally so your fighting nature not some mysterious force.

alpinestars27
alpinestars27

@dorotadrozd @mrwar 

I just purchased Anno 2070 Complete Edition. I had to type in the keycode at installation...again on U Play page...and again on U Play page as I was not a member...then again when I finally launched the game. Its a bit ridiculous asking to retype it more than once especially when there is a message reminding you that once you use this keycode, that's it - it can never be used again. Then why did I have enter  it at least 3-4 fucking times? Steam is much better

mrwar
mrwar

 @dorotadrozd  @mrwar Dear dorotadrozd, Anno 2070 has SolidShield DRM which is a hardware based DRM scheme with a machine activation limit. This is absolutely not the same thing as Steam which is an account based DRM solution. Please go inform yourself, ok? And, by the way, two days ago, my internet died for 30 minutes and I WAS ABLE TO PLAY Xcom in offline mode using Steam with no hassles.

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

 @BovineDivine  You're kidding about the Fox news claim? Really?

 

Oh I remember reading something with regard to the data that was collected and analysed from the time of the industrial revolution, to modern day, and the impacts it had on Iceland/Greenland (maybe) - do you recall ever reading something similar? Because it was really interesting, and the data just perfectly correlated to what was occurring on the human 'front'.

 

In any case, I think it is a mixture of disingenuous media personalities who are themselves ignorant of the data and quite often dishonest, that contribute to the ignorance of those who purport it to be a hoax, like gnome's comment about it not being as 'bad as some believe'.

BovineDivine
BovineDivine

 @geo-gnome  @Devils-DIVISION you can't really compare venus to earth when we're talking about atmospheric similarities. venus' atmosphere is nearly 97% carbon dioxide. There are heating and cooling stages on earth, this is no lie. However, what's going on currently is not simply a 'natural heating stage'. the atmospheric composition found in ice core samples pre-industrial revolution, when compared to today's stats, should produce in any individual a logical connection between our activities and the negative side effects that those activities generate. If you don't believe in man-made climate change, you are either ignorant as to the data or you are in denial because climate-change as a hoax is much more comfortable a notion to live with. Also, FOX news said that the ice caps are growing, rather than shrinking; so i guess it's no wonder why people are oblivious.

 

Anno 2070

  • PC
Anno 2070 takes place in a near-future environment where climate change has forced humanity to adapt to rising sea levels that have left stretches of once-fertile land completely inhospitable.
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Alcohol Reference, Mild Violence
Check out even more info at the Anno 2070 Wiki on Giantbomb.com