Monday, September 24, 2007

Review: Anno 1701 - Dawn of Discovery (DS)

It's pretty obvious that I have a soft spot for strategy and resource handling on the handheld, and even though this isn't turn-based, it comes close enough. There's nothing like sipping coffee and plotting your expansionist agenda without having to listen to the next-gen system overheating. Since previews and general anticipation of this title has been low or second to none, I expected it would face a similar fate as Settlers or the underwhelming Sim City DS. Luckily, both Edge and Eurogamer gave it 8/10, and I had my hopes up again.

Being a PC-port, it stays true to the tried and tested formulae of empire-building. At first you will have to concentrate on gathering the raw materials that are needed to build your settlement. Once you have enough materials, you can focus on expanding and improving it, increasing the population and managing the economy.
Playing Anno 1701, the emphasis is entirely on the wants and needs of the residents of your sprawling colony. Every single building that you construct is a direct reaction to their demands, as they evolve from peasants to spoiled upper class citizens. As in most strategy games there is also a combat system in place that will see you defending your territory from invading pirates and opposing forces, but Anno 1701 is first and foremost a game of construction and economy - it might as well have been named Sim Colony.

Anno 1701 is a very well-crafted game, and the developer has clearly worked hard at fitting it to the limitations of the DS platform. For dedicated PC strategy fans it might seem a little lightweight in comparison, but is in fact far more accessible and deeper than expected.
I'm not going to bore you with more details, and there's plenty of it in Anno 1701, and just join in on the praise:

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