Everyone has his own pleasures, and to spend two hours on a preview version of Anno 2070 in the premises of Ubisoft is one of the most delicious! The fifth opus in a series started in 1998, developed by Related Design, let’s offer you a glimpse of the game published by Ubisoft.
Remember Anno 2070 is a PC management game combining elements of a city builder and an economic simulation with a touch of real-time strategy. Although the adventure takes place in 2070, the beginning of the game is reminiscent of old Anno. There are in fact the same mechanisms of resources but adapted to the period (concrete replaced brick, etc.) and with the same logic of production lines (to make tools, we must always extract the iron and coal turning them into steel and finally to our valuable tools).
The same applies to the management of the population. Depending on your ability to meet their needs (consumables such as plastic toys or burgers, but also special buildings close to them - entertainment center etc.), your residents will evolve from class to class, unlocking new buildings but also making their needs evolve. Then you discover that some buildings use energy to be produced, and others pollute their environment, not without impact on the ecosystem of the island and the well being of your people! By the way, these people pay taxes that allow you to manage your city. The value of taxes is directly related to their satisfaction and their level of evolution.
Production, energy and pollution
First big news of Anno 2070, your civilization now has two distinct factions; one very ecologically oriented and the other more focused on the industry. Each one has its own set of buildings, graphics and advantages/disadvantages. I cannot confirm for the main campaign, but in the free play mode, while we start the game with one of the two factions, it is possible to unlock the second after reaching a certain level of evolution of the inhabitants.
The green faction seems to produce less efficiently, its production buildings take up more space and its inhabitants don’t wear underwear (delete as appropriate). In return, their buildings don’t pollute! So, your island will remain clean, in harmony with Mother Nature, all with a high density of trees, and your people will logically be happier.
The industrial faction produce obviously a lot more, violently pollute the environment and people listen to the Neo Punk Heavy Metal (information to be confirmed). In return for your ability to expand your civilization more quickly on less land, your island is ... uh ... well... quite ugly and dark: the vegetation disappears gradually and your people seem depressed. Apparently, this faction is also more affected by various disasters (oil spills ...) than the environmentalist faction.
Of course, after two hours of preview, it is difficult to get an accurate picture of the impact of our choice of faction in the long term. Like the old Anno, beyond its size and limited space, your starting island also has a limited set of mineral deposits (iron, coal, gold, plutonium ... ten in all) and its own fertility (tea ...). Soon, you will extend your starting colony on other islands to complete your production and meet the increasing demands and complex needs (in terms of production line and quantity to produce) of your people.
Nevertheless, by dint of consuming fossil resources of your islands, they are exhausted. In addition, some needs of your people seem to require resources that are not present on any islands ... This is how to introduce the third faction (or second civilization, hard to say for the moment). This is a faction entirely underwater, including a whole series of production buildings only buildable at the bottom of the ocean.
In the marine depths, you will find huge mineral deposits that will enable you to maintain the development of your islands on the surface for a long time and meet some new requirements. A developer told us that this was somehow the equivalent of the Eastern faction of Anno 1404, planned to keep you busy with long games while overcoming the problems of limited fossil resources of the islands.
There is still so much to say but, let’s confirm some things . The game features at least one campaign and free plays modes. You will not necessarily be alone on the map. Beyond the itinerant traders, you will meet other colonizers of islands with which you can trade, make peaceful diplomacy or military, or even ignore them. We also saw a lab to do research to improve things. The system of quests and items of Anno 1404 responds to the call of course. You can also unlock unique buildings to enhance the architecture of your cities. The game also offers the necessary Achievements.
I wish I could explain how the management system / building sea route woks, so it is important (when managing road loading / unloading of products through a dozen islands and a score boat), but I couldn’t try myself. A developer told me, however, that it has been improved, which obviously requires to be confirmed.
Anno 2070 makes effective use of all the elements that made Anno 1404 a success. Add to this the work on the two starting factions and their impact on the gameplay. We can only imagine the contribution of the third sub marine faction but it looks promising. Technically, the game is still more beautiful and clean, full of details, and should satisfy fans of the genre. Therefore, the excitement was at its height in my case, and the expectation of a playable version becomes very difficult.