Review: Anno 1800

Anno 1800 is the seventh installment in the franchise and brings us back to the past after the futuristic Anno 2205. This time players will experience the start of the industrial age, something which is present during the whole game. Explore, discover and capitalize on everything new you can find. Work on your trading routes, alliances, social classes and more during the process. Anno 1800 brings back its battle-hardened formula and it has never worked better.

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Rum, sails and hop is what kept our fast-growing empire going. The setting works perfectly for this iteration of Anno, urging you to embrace the rapid technological climb all around you. The story mode is the perfect place to start for new and experienced players alike, starting off on a small island and expanding from there. Along the way, most important gameplay mechanics are explained. These explanations sometimes tend to be a little barebones for newer players, but with some trial and error, a thriving community is quickly established.

The map seems to be bigger than previous iterations, filled with islands and other parts of the world to explore. Bringing in coffee from the new world tends to sell for quite a bit of profit, just don’t forget to pay your taxes. The harbour is the real heart of your city, with most roads eventually ending up there. Setting up trade lines can be a puzzle, but a very rewarding one when all pieces start fitting together.

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Social standing now also plays a role. There are seven layers of society, each with its own working class. Highly educated people will be necessary to keep up with the fast-changing economy, but don’t expect them to work in the field when the food stores are getting low. Every choice you make has pros and cons, but there are few things as rewarding as watching it all work together.

Aside from a story mode, there is naturally a sandbox mode available. Putting to the test everything you’ve learned and expanding upon it. This is where the game truly comes alive and what kept us playing deep into the night. A multiplayer mode is also available, having you and three other friends work together or compete against each other. Fun guaranteed.

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Anno 1800 brings back core components of the franchise and captures the essence of the industrial age. The installment might not be 100% historically correct and we could have sometimes used a little more explanation, but that doesn’t take away the beauty of a city-building game this is. Tactical thinking, planning, beautiful cities and just admiring what you’ve built, Anno 1800 brings the franchise back to the top and is a game well worth knowing.

Rating: 8/10

Platforms: PC

Developer: Blue Byte

Publisher: Ubisoft

Price: €59.99

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