As if being confined to an island wasn’t difficult enough, it turns out you can only build in a limited radius in relation to where your warehouse, town center, and depot are located. Your warehouse is where all harbor buildings must be built, and to expand to other beaches on the island you will need to construct a Port Authority in each area. Your civilian buildings are connected to town centers, of which you need to build as many as you can in order to expand your population and make money. Lastly, the depot is where all of your industry is connected. You will run out of space, requiring expansion to another island and the maintenance of vulnerable trade routes over sea.
And it’s not just the big three buildings that are in clusters, but also farms and other structures that interact with the population. The latter is an egregious example of the folly of being forced to build in clusters. For example, you’re supposed to build a bunch of houses and have every need satisfied for the population so that they upgrade to the next level. You need to build a casino to make them happy, and this casino’s radius must be near all of the other houses. Then to upgrade to the next tier, you need a TV station and then a forum for the tier after that. Then to insure against catastrophe you need a fire station and a hospital. The caveat is that you can only unlock these buildings when the population upgrades, so you either have to demolish a precious section of your city to fit these massive buildings in, or else build them outside of the population center and therefore halve the building’s effective radius.
On top of that, you need to build more houses to upgrade your city and its population. There’s only so much that you can build before you run out of space. You’ll probably encounter instances where a city is pretty much static and not generating much money for you, if any at all. That’s very bad news considering just how fragile the economy is in Anno
. All radii are so limited on an already cramped island that careful planning for every little thing is an absolute must. In fact, each cluster is so anal retentive that if there is even a very tiny gap between two different clusters you won’t be able to build there, not even the roads needed to connect your buildings.
As much as they might frustrate me at times, these issues aren’t actually game-breakers. They’re merely annoyances that can reduce the amount of entertainment that you can wring out of the game. All things considered, there is an inherent level of addiction with a game that is this complicated. Maybe it’s my OCD, but the feeling of success in upgrading your city after a hellish time of getting a proper supply line going is immense. Once you get the hang of the excessive amounts of micromanagement, you truly feel like you’re in control and everything that happens is a result of your brilliant mind at work. Fans of the series and other city builders will likely enjoy Anno 2070
’s complexities immensely. Casual fans, though… maybe not so much.
Some other added features to the series are Ubisoft’s close integration of the game with its online community. You’re never forced to participate online (or even stay online as per Ubi’s usual nefarious DRM) but you can vote in elections and play in spontaneous world events. Voting in an election gets you influence with the faction you support, which in turn unlocks new buildings and bonuses. On top of that, you get the bonus of whatever choice the majority of the online population chooses, which even affects single-player. Every day you are presented with an optional quest, mostly to generate a certain quantity of a particular resource and deliver it to your Ark. There are also normal single-player quests from your own citizens or other opponents to undertake that give you different rewards.
As mentioned before, there is co-op play for the campaign, along with regular single-player scenarios and special events that allow you to unlock unique units and structures that can only otherwise be attained by purchasing Anno 2070
DLC. This helps shake the game up and make it much more interesting, assuring players that there’s always something new for as long as Ubisoft decides to support this title.