Anno 2205 (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 03.10.2016

Review for Anno 2205 on PC

Anno has been an interesting series. For some, it is a simulation of a city-builder, while, for others, a focus on mega-corporations. With the upgrade into the future, one would expect more, but it seems the corporations have gotten their greedy little hands upon Anno 2205, as Cubed3 finds out.

Mincing words is pointless. Anno 2205 is a freemium game being sold for full price, and there is nothing it can do to hide this fact beyond filing off its "visit the online shop" button. Taking place in the future, players are tasked with taking charge of their own company in order to go and exploit the Earth's natural resources for profit. It tries to take after city-building games like SimCity and Banished, but fails horribly.

So much is wrong with this title that it's almost astounding. The game itself functions perfectly fine on paper, but the designers seem to have intentionally avoided taking any classes in game design. At the beginning, players have to take charge of building roads to connect houses, which seems like a fairly straightforward and easy task, right? In Anno 2205, you simply select a "build road" button, drag and drop, and the road is there. This might not seem like something worth complaining about, but its glaring problems surface when taking a look at some other city-building sims.

Screenshot for Anno 2205 on PC

In Banished, building a road wasn't some minor thing. Making a single stone road not only meant your civilians had to go out and build the road, but they also had to work with whatever stone they had stockpiled. In addition, with two types of roads, for a distant building it might be more worthwhile to build a basic dirt path instead of investing in a stone road with its resource requirement. In Cities: Skylines, a multitude of road types, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, existed. Depending on the situation, a one-way street might be a far better choice. In Anno 2205, it's a simple process of drop and place.

The formula doesn't change for anything. Want to build a house? Just drop and place. Upgrade the house? As long as you have the resource needs met, go right ahead! Build industrial buildings? Sure, why not? There's no need to consider things like pollution and noise problems. Your citizens are just as happy sleeping next to an active mine as they are in solitude… Until the glass ceiling is hit hard and the corporations show their ugly faces, that is.

Screenshot for Anno 2205 on PC

As early as the second map, players will run into the issue of trying to claim an island that costs 50,000 credits with only minimal income. Anno 2205 does not allude to a "take out loan" option, nor does it offer an alternate way to earn money, and its true face shows. It takes more imagination to ignore the little online shop offering 50,000 credits for $0.99 than to not, and the player is left sitting around with nothing to do.

This is the sort of thing developers should avoid in games entirely. The player is left unable to do anything simply because the game decided to throw an artificial roadblock at them for no reason other than to make a quick profit. Imagine trying to play Skyrim and finding out you couldn't access a dungeon until you stood outside of it for several hours and using the "wait" option was cheating. There would be a ton of frustration. Waiting for resources to come in is not an issue of prior choices coming to affect success, but, rather, waiting around and playing another game until enough aluminium or whatever resource has been produced. The option to speed up production, obtain resources for a minor fee, and the like, practically screams from its non-existent button.

Screenshot for Anno 2205 on PC

There are also ship and naval battles worked into Anno 2205. They exist. They are very easy, and it seems, once more, like the game is almost bouncing up and down and crying, "Buy five missile strikes and get one free," instead of holding strategic depth or even careful balancing options. Of course, it does boast DLC and a season pass, despite the content present not even being all that good.

About the only positive thing that can be said is that it looks halfway decent and it's only boring. Other than that, however, everything feels like it's been dumbed down, simplified, had an online e-shop option added, then removed in a later corporate decision, and was then sold for a marked-up price with optional DLC just waiting in the wings. Without either option, Anno 2205 becomes less of an engaging, or even remotely interesting, experience, and becomes more akin to the silence/waiting game some parents play with their kids when they're becoming too hyperactive on long trips. Anno 2205 is roughly equal to that.

Once more, a prime example comes right at the start of the game when the player is tasked with ‘upgrading’ houses to have better workers. Prior to this, they had the simple goal of providing resources X and Y, while making sure everything was powered, which is extremely easy to do, connected with roads, which takes no effort, and so-forth. What is the pay-off, then? Your workers become ‘better,’ but now need resources A, B, and C in order to progress to the next level. Meanwhile, nothing about the game has actually changed. As a result, everything the player has actually done ends up feeling meaningless. Fighting in ships? It might have been cool, but it never feels like it’s changed beyond its most fundamental level. In the end, Anno 2205 feels like simply playing the most basic and straight-forward of many other city-building sims without ever truly growing beyond that basic and straight-forward level.

Screenshot for Anno 2205 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

This may be a bit harsh, but, at the end of the day, positives in favour of Anno 2205 are hard to come by, while shortcomings are abundant. Everything about it feels like a sleazy, cheap, cash-in title made by a company seeking to wring the final few coins out of a franchise it doesn't care about than a legitimate attempt at a game. It feels like the developers simply slapped on some pretty graphics in the hopes of fooling people, marked the price up to off-set the lack of an online shop, then kicked it out the door to sucker people into paying far more than they would have otherwise for such a boring and underwhelming title.

Developer

Blue Byte

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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