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Preview: Anno 2205

Anno makes a return and it’s bigger than ever. Where you could only create and control cities on earth in previous Anno games, you can build and control cities form the Artic to the moon in Anno 2205. The franchise got huge thanks to its fantasy and yet surprisingly realistic setting. We got the opportunity to see a hands-off demo during Gamescom and were surprised by the game for sure.

Beta footage? You wouldn’t tell

The demonstration started with a guide trough one of the biggest cities ever created in the Anno franchise. The developer was proud to announce that this impressive city was created for the Gamescom demo only and that it’s without a doubt the biggest one yet. We saw a lot of floating cars, different buildings and pedestrians on the street. The city was situated on an island surrounded by gorgeous water and a harbor. From the harbor we went to the center and industrial area. The industrial area looked familiar thanks to the iconic buildings and mining-machines.

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This first introduction to the new style of Anno was very impressive. Anno 2205 uses a new engine, which allows the team to create the most realistic futuristic city to date. It’s strange that a city could look this realistic when you know that cities like these don’t exist. According to the developer, the footage we saw was still in beta but according to us; it looked better than some other games on the market already.

Control several cities at once

You might think that creating and managing one city is a lot of work and needs a lot of your time but Anno goes a lot further than just one city. This franchise is about managing several cities, allowing them to supply and trade goods in order to stay self-providing. During the demo we saw that more than five cities were active and that all of those cities helped each other out in order to stay ‘alive’. We didn’t see all the cities but we saw a very interesting one based on the Arctic. That specific city might be the hardest to control… yet.

Colonize the Arctic

Colonizing the Arctic didn’t go without a fight. The developers shared some of the story elements of the game and the Arctic plays a crucial role in the story. The modern but more aggressive version of Greenpeace has built some climate-stabilizers on the Arctic to stop global warming. After a lot of discussions and perhaps some battles, you got permission of the organization to start building on the Arctic. That city is very different of course since it’s mainly focused on harvesting resources. The city we saw was specialized in mining and gaining enough recourses to finally going to the moon.

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This sounds like another typical task in Anno but the developers shared that there’s more to the Arctic than you might think. Since it’s cold out there, you constantly need to invest a lot of your recourses in keeping the homes of your workers warm. The constant battle against the devastating cold will be your main focus during Arctic play. We didn’t saw a lot of it just yet but it already proves to be one of the more difficult cities you need to create and control.

Let’s go to the moon

Although harvesting resources on the Arctic will prove a challenge, it’s necessary to go to the moon. In the demo, the path to the moon was already open so we could enjoy some moments on this ‘planet’ as well. A city on the moon really looked different from the ones found on Earth. The biggest difference is the shield that constantly protects yours buildings and humans for being killed or destroyed by meteor strikes.

The shield must remain active and this is only possible with the right resources again. Those are brought to you thanks to your cities on Earth and you send some powerful resources back to Earth in return. Without the moon, you wouldn’t be able to create cellphones or computers back on Earth. This trading of goods between cities is crucial and big part of the gameplay.

The moon sure looked like an interesting and challenging place to create cities and we’re sure that this will affect the way you play Anno games as well. There’s nothing like this in the previous games so we’re very hopeful for the future!

It’s a real time strategy game as well

This brings us to the final part of the off-hands demo, the battles. This is entirely new in Anno 2205 and transforms the game into a real time strategy game like let’s say Age of Empires. The battle we fought was a battle on sea featuring a rather small fleet. Ubisoft tried to deliver a different kind of strategy game and did so by adding power-ups on the map. If you get these first, you’ll be able to deliver a devastating attack on the enemies. It’s great to see that the developers try to alter the classic RTS genre without changing it too much.

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The ships also had different abilities, enabling them to work together. Some can heal while others can use more powerful attacks. The fleet of the enemy also had some special ships that could spawn others as long as they aren’t destroyed. The battles looked like a fun variation between the difficult city managing but don’t be afraid if you’re not of fan of battles. These battles are completely optional and the bonuses you gain can also be gained in other ways.

Early conclusion: 

Anno 2205 was still in beta but it already looked impressive. The demo showed us a lot, including the difficult but satisfying management of multiple cities at once. We were surprised by the lack of loading times and the opportunities to go to the Arctic and the moon. The battles are fun variation but weren’t necessary for the die-hard fans. It’s good that they included it on the other hand because it looks like you’ll get two different games for the price of just one.

 

 

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.