In ANNO 2070, the best way to predict the future is to build it by Chris Thursten
Need to know
What is it?
City-building real time
strategy with an innovative
Anno 1404, Sim City
Play it on
2GHz CPU, 2GB RAM,
Cities XL (75%)
CD key tied to
Of all the things to bring a civilization to a grinding halt, it’d have to be truffles. Fully half of my island is
urbanized, with a workforce of
thousands. My fisheries, oil
refineries, pig farms and distilleries
operate with total efficiency, surplus
goods loaded into cargo haulers and
sold at a premium to the hippies
across the waves. I’m an industrial
juggernaut, and yet I can grow no
further. If I’m going to attract more
engineers to my settlement, I need to
meet a sudden and unexpected
demand for lobster dinners.
Lobster, I have—but no truffles.
Loading a ship with supplies, I establish a new colony, far across the sea. I
build a port, a town, and truffle
farms. Migrant workers toil day and
night, loading fungi by the ton onto
the ships that link them to a glittering metropolis they’ll never see. I
think I’m doing well.
In 2070, sea levels have risen,
dividing territory into isolated
islands that are colonized and
exploited by independent contrac-
tors. The population, meanwhile, is
split between smog-and-profit mega-
corporation Global Trust and the
environmentalist Eden Initiative,
with scientists from SAAT providing
technology to both.
Clash of cartoons
Anno 2070 unfortunately squanders
the topicality of its subject matter by
establishing factions that are car-toonishly good and evil. Eden
Initiative workers are soft-spoken
and demand only tea, vegetables and
a concert hall. Global Trust, meanwhile, fills its workers with booze,
fast food and—I wish I were joking
—aspirational television programs
generated by the Ministry of Truth.
It’s incredibly ham-fisted: Eco-Jesus
going up against Scrooge McDuck
in Ayn Rand cosplay.
You’ll work for both factions in
single-player, frequently making
choices about which to support. I
found myself going with Global
The goods that’ll keep your workers happy
Sobriety is unproductive.
Everyone loves losing!
• Concert Hall
Hope you like tambourines!
Presumably without milk.
Trust to see what hilarious mishaps
its terrible decision-making would
inflict on the world—which, if
nothing else, added a little life to the
fairly drab campaign. You’re led by
the hand almost all of the way, as the
game very slowly imparts the techniques that you’ll need to succeed.
The single mission and free play
modes are much more successful. At
its heart, Anno 2070 is a game of creative engineering: building a big,
interconnected machine that looks
like a city but purrs like an engine.
While the basic principle—supply
and demand—is as simple as they
come, there’s enough complexity
that you’re unlikely to ever feel
totally in control. You’re free to
problem-solve as you see fit,
answering demand for resources
with trade, research, and expansion.
You’re also constantly given additional objectives ranging from supplying certain goods to headhunting
a certain number of glowing
employees wandering the streets of
your town. These side-missions keep
the game moving and prevent you
from ever staring at one aspect of it
for too long. Should competition
demand it, there’s also combat:
mostly naval, with aircraft and base
defenses for spice. It’s functional but
far from the main event. Instead, the
need for military protection adds an
additional dimension to the core
resource management game.
Playable and polished, Anno 2070
is a steady improvement on what has
come before. If anything, it plays it a
little too safe, with innovations like
online elections and undersea bases
not really impacting the core. Worth
your time, but lacking the resource
to become a management great.
• Functional Food
Flavor’s for the lazy.
What work/play balance?
◆ Price $50 ◆ Release Out now ◆ Publisher Ubisoft ◆ Developer Blue Byte, Related Designs
◆ Multiplayer 8-player versus and co-op ◆ Link bit.ly/o Jfv OV
80A polished sim that doesn’t quite push its big ideas far enough, and features a comically preachy campaign.