Anno 2205 is a turning point in the whole franchise. It’s the point where Ubisoft seem to have dug their claws in, completely altering the game and dragging it down into mediocrity. Everything which its predecessor, 2070, accomplished is either woefully mishandled, poorly adapted or so badly dumbed down that it barely deserves to bear the Anno name.
The most pressing difference from its predecessor, and the immediate death knell to many Anno fans, is the near total lack of resource management. Unlike past works, there’s no guesswork, no predictions, and little true skill to building your city. Citizens will tell you the exact amount they need for something and you provide it, simple as that. Atop of this, resources created by those buildings are limitless, meaning you’re never concerned about any proverbial well drying up over time.
Creative expression and true skill is all but outright denied by the game. Rather than having to position buildings one after another, you’re instead designated slots by larger structures and often you’re forced into placing them in the most limited of locations. Even the very act of controlling the military is now railroaded to the very depths of hell, reduced from being an RTS-lite to an overly repetitive minigame with few to no maps, and don’t even think that it makes up for this with diplomacy. The developers tried to follow Alpha Centuari’s example of having diverse leaders, but as a result you just end up with extraordinarily one dimensional caricatures, all with easy solutions.
If there is one element to be properly praised, it’s that the game looks beautiful. The graphics have been upped to the point where each city is a glimmering metropolis, stunning no matter the environment or level of development. However, even this is far from perfect, as performance has been sacrificed in order to accomplish these visuals. Many of the sweeping camera turns or unit movements are marred by an extraordinarily low, stuttering FPS which brings the game to an occasional standstill.
Top all these problems off with no multiplayer function, a single campaign option which lasts only nine missions and widespread over simplification, and you’re left with nothing of true value to enjoy. The sad truth is that this is the Tiberium Twilight of the franchise. 2205 is an Anno game which carries over the most superficial elements of its betters, watering down its complexity to the point of insulting the player. Stick to the classics folks, because if this is Anno’s future you’ll want no part in it.
ANNO 2205 / DEVELOPER: BLUE BYTE / PUBLISHER: UBISOFT / PLATFORM: PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW