In the year 2070 the sea level has risen due to global warming having melted the Arctic Ice Cap. The only inhabitable that remains are what were former mountain tops, now islands. The game consists of 3 factions, which are the Eden Initiative, Global Trust and S.A.A.T. The Eden Initiative, also known as “Ecos”, are an environmentally friendly population, living off the land and building sustainable cities. Their environmental consideration is also their biggest drawback, resulting in inefficient production and a population that is slow to expand. Global trust, better known as the “Tycoons”, is quite the opposite of the Ecos. They have a heavy industrial focus and ability to expand quickly. The greatest challenge lies in the pollution and diminishing resources, which halter expansion as the population grows. S.A.A.T., on the other hand, is a supporting faction available to both the Ecos and Tycoons. Headed by an A.I. known as F.A.T.H.E.R., they’re known for the useful research of the latest innovations and technologies.
Developer: Related Designs, Ubisoft Blue Byte
Game Engine: InitEngine
Platform: Microsoft Windows
Release date: November 2011
Genre: City-building, Real-time Strategy
Mode: Single-player, Multiplayer
The game start off with the Tycoons finding themselves in a spot of bother at Site 13, as a push to complete one of their big projects causes complications. You are then thrown into the deep end by the CEO of Global Trust, Skylar Banes. After working your way to secure the area and prevent the imminent disaster, you are given the reigns, which upsets those previously in charge. The first chapter is essentially a tutorial of the game, while still telling a story. As the game progresses, the tasks become increasingly difficult and patience has to be practiced as you design your island (city) to accomplish those tasks handed out.
The mission maps consist of 3 Chapters, the first being a relatively easy tutorial type missions. The remaining 2 Chapters focus on your ability to design and prosper your island while trying to accomplish the tasks at hand. While you attempt to produce goods and technologies to enhance your position, you cannot do so without considering the environmental impact and keeping your population happy at the same time. At any point in the game, you are faced with sustaining the eco-balance of your island. A decrease in the eco-balance negatively affects the production on the island, which, in turn, cause unrest amongst the population. Other factors of building a strong community and efficient production is keeping power levels and income (income tax vs. island maintenance) at positive levels. Each upgrade within the game unlocks new content, such as new buildings, ships and gathered resources. Upgrades on your island are primarily as a result of population growth. A population grows as houses are upgraded. Houses are upgraded as the needs of their inhabitants are fulfilled. Each housing upgrade then brings new challenges, with the population now requiring different food and drink types, while also needing technology updates, and education and activity centres.
You’d be mistaken for thinking that this game is overly complicated for no reason. The trick simply lies in keeping the island’s income and eco-balance in the green. These factors also dictate the growth rate of your island, along with the production levels. A decrease in eco-balance dramatically reduces production of food and drink. Factors that result in a decreased eco-balance are the pollution yielded from production, as well as mining resources. Each building on the island reduces the eco-balance depending on its type, while also draining more of the power. At later points in the game you will be able to stabilise the eco-balance by erecting buildings geared specifically to counteract reduced eco-balance. Different power supply building are also available at different points in the game, ranging from those with an increase of 10 watts, to 120 watt power houses.
You are also guided throughout the game by an A.I. known as E.V.E. You can also engage with E.V.E. by means of your offshore Ark (floating resource station), which allows you to purchase resources and items. E.V.E. will also warn of certain events that occur on any of the islands which you run, such as paused productions, disasters and depleted resources.
The graphics of ANNO 2070 range from the bare minimum, allowing it to be played on even the most basic of systems, to fully rendered scenes, drawing heavy resources from your graphics card. Improvements to the graphics were aided by the patches released during the last 2-3 months. The water and lighting effects are quite brilliant, in short, making this game as beautiful as it is challenging. Patches were released as DLCs (Downloadable Content), which included a few new content (technologies, resources, buildings, etc.), as well as gaming upgrades and fixes.
View of the different islands for Ecos and Tycoons:
In a world where land is a precious commodity, politics are no longer defined by countries, race or religion, but rather how humans elect to produce and consume energy. There is only one global government with 3 factions to choose from, which influence world decisions. Advanced players will also have the option to vote for a World President and Senate Council, and participation will have very different effects on the global environment. Rewards are unlocked by simply playing the game, also allowing players to customise their Ark based on personal preference.
ANNO 2070 offers plenty of game time, as the Chapters itself can take some time to complete. With bonus missions, continuous games, and single missions to choose from, there is an increased amount of game time added to the game with every DLC, not to mention the new content. The game focuses more on city planning than conquering enemies, which we’ve come to know in similar types of games. Although there are times when you will be required to defend your islands and constructing warships, this is at a minimum. Maintaining a healthy environment, for both living and production, provides ample challenge, reducing the need for war. Declaring war on neighbouring islands is still an option, however. This game is both highly enthralling and annoying, as the population growth can sometimes be slow as you await the next level of upgrades. Only twice before have I truly enjoyed a strategy game to this extent; those games were the original StarCraft and Age of Empires (although slightly different strategy types).