Anno 2205 - Introduction
Anno 2205 is the latest installment in the Anno series of city building games. Unlike games like Sim City and Cities Skyline, Anno 2205 and the Anno series focuses primarily on resource management. Think in terms of connecting and managing residences, factories, and production across multiple maps and setting up proficient trade routes between them all in order to meet or exceed demand.
Anno 2205 starts out small, only needing a few plants, some noodles, and a few house to make everyone happy, but quickly it ramps up to needing to supply various settlements with supplies in order to advance those settlements and create additional supplies for other settlements. The game, before any DLC, contains three settlements, along with access to various conflict zones for RTS style combat – which is optional.
Anno 2205 - Positive Marks
Anno 2205 has a lot going for it in the positive catalog of cool things. It’s a major advancement for the series. Anno 2070 wasn’t nearly as close to my tastes as 2205 has been, mostly because 2205 sheds a lot of the water elements and sea building in exchange for settlement management and
The graphics are a huge improvement. Gone is 2070s muddy grim looking buildings, and replaced with ultra-high-tech looking settlements. The entire game looks gorgeous and as your city expands, so do the buildings. As residential areas are upgraded, they turn into towering skyscrapers, and everything looks a lot neater / cleaner than 2070, although 2070 it was right for the theme as you had to manage the ecobalance – something gone in 2205.
Considering this review is going to be a heavy comparison, 2070 is a great game and also an RTS. Anno 2205 takes a different route, instead moving combat into an optional encounter type scenario with rewards that allow you to upgrade your factories, and greatly simplifying logistics, instead telling you how many units of what you need at any given time. It moves the series away from an economy based primary focus RTS to a city building simulation / resource management game, where the goal is to bring the balance of all consumer desires to greater than zero.
The result is a much different experience from previous games and one I find actually quite satisfying. Managing the needs of each of the settlements is beyond fun, because each one has different mechanics around it. In the temperate zone, you can build anything anywhere, as long as there is a road going to it. However, the difficulty ramps up in the artic where not only is land at a premium, but residences need warmth and that warmth must come from factories or mines, making managing space a premium. Then, once on the moon, shields are required to make any area hospitable, meaning you need not only a relay of shields running, but enough power to manage them AND your factories.
On top of that, each settlement produces unique goods not available in other settlements, and you’ll need to trade these around, managing goods from one settlement to another and making sure you’re making enough excess to properly trade and fulfill the needs for everyone.
It starts out extremely simple, but then snowballs into a massive campaign of managing resources and keeping production lines sufficient. If anything at the start of the line starts to fail, the entire line will fail, production will plummet, and you’ll need to make emergency repairs to the supply line to restore the balance.
Some other rather neat elements in Anno 2205 is the lack of needing to manage ships. Ships, combat, and defenses are moved into isolated and optional areas. You can decide if you do, or don’t want to engage or involve yourself with them. The alternative to combat missions is missions that you can take directly at your settlement.
Oh and when you're in combat mode, your resources continue to pool, which is a great way to spend time, gain more resources, and return flush with credits without having to make a sandwhich and wait on resources to pool.
Anno 2205 - Average or Neutral Marks
The game as launched isn’t complete. Additional areas are coming in future DLC (both free and paid), so full gameplay won’t be unlocked for a while. This isn’t that notable, honestly, outside of the fact I might actually have a real desire to play on the Tundra map.
There isn’t much to beautify your city with, beyond special projects that take away realistic benefits.
You can be overwhelmed quickly with the amount of management. It’s not bad, it’s a great gameplay mechanic, but it can be stressful at first.
Easy is very, very easy and can misrepresent the experience.
Anno 2205 - Below Average or Negative Marks
At its core, it’s a great game, but the negatives aren’t with it as presented – the game is solid and there is very few things wrong with it, if you disenfranchise it from the Anno series. Anno games are all RTS strategy games where, similar to The Settlers, the combat section takes a backseat to the economy section. It’s the reverse of a game like StarCraft, where your economy is generally two things, minerals and gas, and everything spawns from there. In previous games, your military is used to secure and hold your lands, as you build. This creates a fun multiplayer environment where you have other players or NPCs who are either your allies or your enemies, and you trade amongst each other.
In Anno 2205, this goes away, instead your focus turns to the city building side of things. This isn’t bad, it’s different, and for fans of the series who enjoyed the combat portions then it might be a turn off. Additionally, there isn’t the depth from previous games. I personally find this to be enjoyable, because I’d rather manage numbers actively than have to deal with production calculators telling me the right amount of everything for the population I desire.
The combat also isn’t part of the game, at all, really. You have to do one very simple mission, in which you’re healed throughout it, and after that it’s done. Over with. Gone, you can choose to do it if you wish and the rewards… are plentiful, especially on higher difficulties, but the time you spend with your military can also be time spent running missions. I found the combat to be very fun and rather enjoy knowing I can walk away from the game and let credits stock up without a disaster on its way.
The last part though is that there isn’t much deciding where you put your residences. There is no city center so, like me, you may want to have to start over after understanding ways to optimize your city. It’s better to expand factories, than to keep building new ones, as the expanded factory as a whole benefits from reductions in workforce and energy.
Conclusion and Final Score
I would like to just state that I think the game should be taken on its merits, alone, without comparing it too far to past series. It's a beautiful game, with gorgeous graphics, and gameplay that'll excite you for at least 20 hours, if not longer, even if you don't enjoy seeing cities grow from your commands. In playing it, there wasn't anything that bothered me, and many heart racing moments where I was on the verge of bankruptcy if I didn't fix my supply chain fast, and realistically, missions and the combat systems on the side provide entertainment while you're waiting on resources to pool.
If you like Cities Skyline or SimCity, then Anno 2025 will consume larges swaths of your time. If you enjoyed previous Anno titles and don't mind the complex mechanics being streamlined, then this will continue to excite you. While it does strip down a lot of the depth the previous games had, it creates, in my opinion, a much classier product that's way easier to play without having to rely on third party tools to figure out how to build your city out or force you to use other's layouts in order to make your city function. Not to say the previous titles were bad or that those mechanics don't satisfy some, but, realistically, I actually appreciate the simplicity.
The biggest problem with the game is its length. You can complete all of the missions rather quickly, if you know what you're doing, and are left without any multiplayer mode and just a raw city builder. At first glace, you may find this to be unacceptable, but you can extend gameplay by making a new corporation, at a higher difficulty, and playing on different maps, not to mention the wealth of both free and paid DLC coming out for it.
To finalize - it's a great game, not the best game out there, but it's definitely interesting and fun to play. I found my time within the game to be enjoyable, if not downright a blast. I look forward to fooling around with it more after this review, for whatever that counts.