When the Christmas sale rolled around on Steam in 2012, much like the rest of the gaming community, I was all over it. Some of the titles I’d wanted for months were finally going on sale – and one of those was Anno 2070.
SimCity meets Fern Gully
Ubisoft released Anno 2070 in 2011 and gave the city-builiding genre a much needed boost with the features that Anno offers. In a world drowned by global warming, you struggle to secure your civilization’s survival by fulfilling the needs of your people through resource collection and growths in technology. Sounds like a pretty standard simulation game, right?
However, that’s where Anno differs from the rest. Before you even begin creating your empire, you must first choose a faction: Eco, or Tycoon. The names are pretty self explanatory. The Eco faction strives to preserve the environment through “green” technology and resources, while the Tycoons require massive amounts of unclean energy in order to support their rapid expansion.
I definitely recommend trying both factions when you first begin the game, as the play is different depending on who you choose. I personally find myself leaning towards the Eco faction whenever I play. While the expansion rate for this faction is slower, the energy and resources required to make my people happy enough to evolve are somewhat easier (or just more enjoyable) to gather. However, boats with tons of hamburgers on them are also great for overall happiness if you prefer to play the Tycoons.
Anno also has a sense of community through world events and elections. World events show up in your game play depending on which mission you choose. For each global problem, each faction offers a solution that shows up as a task in your game. Upon completion, you’re rewarded with influence points for user rewards, like player colors and portraits, and a resource. Elections also affect your game play. Whomever is elected adds a bonus to their bias faction. For example, if you vote for the Eco leader and she wins, the Eco faction will receive a 15% gatherer speed. Tycoons may receive something like 15% production increase on energy buildings. So the things you do in game and on the main menu actually affect how your game is going to play out, at least to some extent.
There are a few downsides to Anno that I wasn’t terribly thrilled about when I first began to play; namely, Ubisoft’s platform. Though I purchased the game on Steam, you must have, or create, a Ubisoft account to play. Whenever you launch, even through Steam, Anno will start up the Ubisoft platform automatically. So be prepared to create an account, add all your friends to it (again) and launch the platform in order to play.
The best ear crack I’ve heard lately
However, the main reason I play this game (sometimes for hours and hours on end) is the music. Anno 2070 is one of the most relaxing, soothing games I’ve ever played, and that’s true even when my people are starving and unhappy. In fact, the music relaxes me to such an extent that I’ll look around and realize I’ve been playing this game for six hours, without stopping, and I’m not even stiff from sitting in my crappy IKEA chair. Especially now, with the underwater building DLC, it’s so easy to become completely consumed by this game.
One of the most flexible sim games around
Anno 2070 is one of my favorite simulator games because it allows you to play competitively against your friends or against bots, relaxes you almost as well as a Xanax and offers a style of play that is new to the simulator genre. Definitely a must-have for any PC gamer.