Real time strategy games are not something I normally play around with, but I do have fond memories of Sid Meier’s “Civilization” and the “Star Wars Galactic Battleground” series. Most games within this genre that I’ve played have been about building civilizations and this one isn’t much different, so I felt slightly less intimidated by the crazy planning and long-term thinking the genre usually has to offer. That being said, I also had no frame of reference in terms on the Anno series itself. I hadn’t heard anything about past games, but I thought going in fresh could be a good thing. So I sat down at my computer to see what Anno 2205 had to offer.
This is a PC game, so I popped in the disc and let it download. The hour it took for the game to download wasn’t bad at all considering the downloading times for other games sometimes take three or more hours. The game’s achievements and trophies are given to you through a U-Play account, which is free and only takes an extra five minutes to set up. Easy set-up and a relatively fast download are things I’d say are a plus for a PC game. Even the technology savvy dislike when you have to go through a labyrinth of set-up and installations before getting to play a game.
Once everything was done and set up, I saw the good ol’ Ubisoft logo and was met by an intro cutscene. This cutscene legitimately got me excited to play the game. There’s a clear style and aesthetic to the futuristic colonies of the game that can be described as retro, sleek and realistic. I think it was a nice choice for the game. Now, with these fancy graphics and large maps with many things going on at once, there’s a bit of a tradeoff because, at times, the game can lag a bit and skip frames. This happens more often in different camera modes, but it would be nice for it to not happen at all. Not too bad, but noticeable. I know the problem wasn’t my computer either because mine is specifically made for handling that exact type of thing.
Now there’s the gameplay to mention. I honestly think there’s solid gameplay that this game has to offer in certain ways, but not so much in others. If you are new to the real time strategy genre, I highly recommend this game for you if you feel like being introduced to this style of gameplay. The civilization building is easy to follow and weans you into it well. You start off with just one colony and learning how to maintaining it while being introduced to new options to improve it. As the game progresses, you begin to handle more than one colony at once. Not only do you learn to multitask, but all of the colonies feed off of each other due to each one having resources specific to them. Each colony also has a unique aesthetic and set of problems so that you learn how to adapt your gameplay style as you are introduced to obstacles. There is this brilliant yin and yang balance between the core mechanics of gameplay when civilization building. There are also battle sequences but I don’t have much to say about them. They are very basic and I felt that they did not take much skill to overcome. This is where there is a slight downside to the gameplay. Although great for newcomers to the genre, it comes off as relatively basic with not too many new hooks to someone like me who has played games of this type before. I never got bored while playing, but I don’t see this as the ideal real time strategy game.
It definitely wasn’t the story that kept me playing the game. The story was stale and felt like it was there because it had to be to motivate the growth of the game mechanics. There isn’t too much of a problem with this, but it left me blocking out the dialogue while thinking, “Stop talking. Stop talking. Just let me play some more. I don’t care. I don’t care.” The gameplay kept me going long enough though, so I guess there was a tradeoff there. Not an excuse though for something so archetypical.
I don’t know if it was a slight feeling of nostalgia over my past real time strategy experiences or not, but I will say that I enjoyed playing Anno 2205. It was a calm experience in which I got to see an empire grow before my eyes. The graphics were good despite the slow-downs, and the gameplay was solid if you’re willing to sacrifice story and past real time strategy experiences. So there seemed to be a slight trade-off for everything. This game was well-executed and contracted, yet still felt very average next to other games currently on the market. If you want to introduce yourself to the real time strategy genre, feel free to pick yourself up a copy of Anno 2205 for PC.
3.5 out of 5 panther paws