Having played a number of the older Anno games I was quite looking forward to trying this game out. I was not expecting much from the hand held version but I figured that being able to play it anywhere would make up for a few shortcomings.
I started the game up and was greeted by a pretty standard start screen offering me access to the options, continuous play mode or story mode. Continuous play offers the basic sandbox mode, allowing you free reign to create your civilisation as you see fit, without being hampered by story driven objectives.
Story mode is where I headed first and this is the tale that greeted me. The drought of 1404 had devastated great parts of King Georges kingdom. Life was hanging by a thread. The people were hungry and desperate. They needed food and land to survive and King George needed help. So he decided to seek the advice of his sons. His first son, Edward Riley, wanted to wage war against the north and conquer their lands. His other son, William Riley, suggested rather than going to war, they should sail to the south and settle the islands there. They could then farm the land and send food home to feed the people. The king favours the idea of William and sends him away to settle the islands to the south. Edward is not happy about this and I would not be surprised to see him return later in the game to cause trouble.
So You are given control of William and, with your adviser Cornelius Davenport, you are sent away to the first island. Upon arrival you find that the warehouse( the backbone of each great civilization) has already been built for you. The game breaks you into the menu and construction system slowly by having you build a house for your pioneer. Then you need to connect it to the warehouse by a road. The majority of buildings need to be connected to the warehouse or marketplace by roads in order to function. without these roads goods cannot be moved around your island, and that means a lot of hungry people!! Noticing that the wood stockpile is getting low you need to build a lumberjack hut and then build a fishermanâ€™s hut on the coast to keep the food supplies up. Once this is done, the mission is accomplished and you get a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
Then arrives a ship carrying Evelyn Bellard, your new personal advisor with news of a new island for you to colonize. So you hop aboard the ship and drag it across the sea to your destination. This island already has a small settlement on it. Converting your exploration ship into a warehouse claims it as your own and allows you to start developing it as you see fit. You are then introduced to a number of new buildings as well as other aspects of the game. The way to progress and unlock new features is by meeting requirements of the people. This allows them to evolve through five different levels. These are Pioneer, Settler, Citizen, Patrician and Aristocrats. You are also introduced to taxation and tributes. Taxes are needed to make money. The happier your people are, the more they are willing to pay. Tributes are the reason behind the story. They are the method by which you send food home to the starving people of King Georges kingdom.
As the game progresses, many more options become available and this raises the complexity quite a lot. People who have never played this style of game before may struggle towards the later levels but the game seems to have a very well thought out learning curve, so Anno should be accessible to most. The graphics are good and colorful and the controls are easy. This style of game on the DS does not traditionally control well, so I was pleased to find that a lot of thought had been put into this.
Overall I was very impressed with the game and more than pleasantly surprised. It exceeded my expectations and I will certainly be playing this for some time to come.
|Name||Anno: Create a new world|
|Format||Nintendo DS, Wii|
|Release Date||22nd May 2009|
|Age Rating||7 years and over|