It was an idea that was already shuffling after trying some of the beno of Anno 1800. Basically I started playing and, one game after another I saw, how the hours flew and I always had something to do. Nothing to wait for the numbers to get where they should. Always a task to manage or carry out. So I constantly repeated to myself if it really was this, if what I felt was true and Anno 1800 was about to happen to become my new favorite city builder.
On more than one occasion I have commented how much I like this genre and the embarrassing amount of hours that I can get to invest in them, so I could say that I have a good base of opinions on what I like and not in this type of titles for such a claim. Today, after not a few hours with the game, I can say without fear of being wrong that I was right: Anno 1800 is one of the best 4X in history.
A game created with passion
The work of Ubisoft with this delivery, and more specifically with the evolution of this saga, I think something to frame. Expanding their bases, recycling old ideas and integrating new ones, they have built an almost perfect city builder in which there is no room for complaints. Neither in the interface, nor in the amount of content, nor in a visual display with which it is impossible not to marvel.
Anno 1800 is a beautiful game, a giant diorama that allows you to zoom in at an insulting distance to show you, in great detail, how precious each of its buildings is. All of them are small moving models in which to see children play or workers break their backs.
The work behind is simply overwhelming, with a huge amount of buildings spread across five classes and with modifications that provide even more options for jobs and buildings spread between the Old and the New World . And that without adding the panorama presented by scenarios and boats, no doubt another candy with which to rejoice the view.
Undoubtedly a delicacy for someone who placed all his collection of LEGO or Playmobil on the typical carpet of a city as if he were preparing an exhibition in a museum. It may not be a determining factor when it comes to joining him, but it does serve as a prelude to understanding the mime and passion that is placed in Anno 1800.
One day in Anno 1800
For those who do not know the saga or what Anno 1800 has to offer, the best way to understand how deep it moves is to explain what it means to spend a day with it. His approach is curious because, in essence, it is like entering into a dozen small management games. All of them built one on top of the other so that they can function as an isolated element despite being one more piece of extensive machinery.
The start, agile and bearable, is like any other title of the style that comes to mind. You have a deserted port waiting for people to work on it, so you start to create peasant houses while adding cabins for lumberjacks and sawmills that allow you to create boards with which to continue building.
After that, typical, a source of food with which to feed your people and a branch of business with which to dress them based on wool farms and sewing shops. All part of a small wheel that starts to turn and that has as its main objective that each of the houses you have built ends up filled with happy villagers.
When that happens, it will be time to improve their homes, improving their condition and the number of residents of each one, but eliminating their interest in previous jobs and needs while generating new ones. Now instead of farmers you have workers, so you should check if your previous jobs have been without labor and, of course, start to manage what your new citizens ask you.
There you have the loop that will accompany you during the rest of the game through five increasingly demanding population groups. What at the beginning is merely a fish to be taken to the mouth, it does not take long to jump into fur coats or canned products that, surprise, cannot be produced on your island.
A tremendously addictive loop
At that point we have reached the time to begin to expand looking for other lands in which, for example, create farms with more fertile soils that produce other products. By then you will have toyed with the idea of wandering from here to there with your boat, discovering other islands or people with whom to trade transporting part of your production, but the time has come to level up.
The idea is to create another settlement with its own population and resources, sharing only the money in your account. The rest must be transported from one place to another to continue production, and then you discover another layer of depth, that of creating efficient commercial routes and, more importantly, protecting them from possible pirate attacks.
Here loads, there you transport and here you have the option of placing defenses that protect the ships that move from here to there and cranes that can fix the damage caused while filling the warehouses of merchandise. Add to all this mixture the discovery of the New World and you will already have three different colonies that require your constant attention.
That all that is more than controlled? Well, calm, there is still fabric to cut, because if you no longer need your defense ships you can send them on expeditions throughout the globe with a system of small conversational adventures in which the transported objects will be your currency to overcome the small challenges that are presented. Why play it? To go in search of animals and museum pieces, for example.
Zoo and expeditions, their new assets
When your city becomes a tourist destination, will make it the most desirable city possible, and that not only involves polluting your factories and take it to another site, also create events and buildings focused on attracting the attention of visitors and maximize attractiveness The first depends on the general welfare and, for the second, the great addition of this Anno 1800: The zoo.
When we speak of depth at the level of passionate madness it is by elements like these. We are not talking about a building called a zoo that attracts tourists, but a network of possibilities that involves getting and placing up to 100 different animals acquired by commercial means or through expeditions. All of them on the ground. Dementia is little, but comes to certify what we have a good time saying, that we are facing one of those games that do not end.
This means getting rid of the classic problem of inactivity, thus giving a world in constant change that must be managed little by little, with the security of stepping firmly before taking the next step without everything going out of control. It may seem easy on paper, but it is not at all.
Maybe there is room for improvements in information management, but as I said at the beginning, there is no option to complain about the work behind Anno 1800, not only until the game’s exit, but also after its launch. To show a button, the fact that the first free update intends to include detailed statistics on the different production chains and the buildings that compose them.
Add to that other options such as, for example, a cooperative mode, community challenges that will unlock new aspects for your character and, of course, everything included in the three DLC that will reach the game via Season Pass, including a Botanical Garden that will come to add a similar mechanics to the one of zoo and museum.