Anno: Create a New World
With the current downward spiral of global currencies and
claims of excessive corporate expenditure, it might not
seem the best time for a game that throws about such
terms as 'taxes' and 'paying tributes' with such wanton
abandon in the first 15 minutes of play.
Yet Anno is both therapy and tonic. The bright and sunny
visuals, relaxed soundtrack and charming
characterisation transforms the standard, serious fare of
conquering islands, building up civilisations and
protecting the well-being of those you serve into a
relaxing, enjoyable experience. And beneath the veil of
cartoonish historical interpretation lies an involving and
enriching gaming experience that cleverly deals with both
the ideals and actualities of expanding civilisations.
There's two main modes here: Story and Continuous Play,
the latter there for those who have conquered the former
and want to ramp up the challenge through manually-
controlled game perimeters to stack the odds against
them. The former eases you in a little more gently,
outlining the quest for habitable land to farm for the sake
of king and country.
Rather than one continuous quest towards turning your
quiet settlement into a bustling metropolis, the story
divides tasks into chapters, keeping interest high with
new challenges and characters to meet and match.
Discovering sunken treasure, competing against a jealous
comrade to build a better island, avoiding Corsairs,
starting trade routes... you start understanding the world
is both larger and smaller than you had imagined.
People just don't get this excited over a good pump these days...
Aside from the game's looks and diverse tasks, a lot of
Anno:CaNW's appeal comes down to the perfect control
scheme. RTS games have always been something of a
nightmare commodity upon transplantation from the
mouse and keyboard of PC to console joypads. The Wii
neatly navigates the problem though, with the Remote
offering its own brand of control that is a brilliant and
worthy alternative. There are some small shortcuts that
really do improve efficiency too. A tap of the B button
brings up a circular system wheel, with all actions tidily
grouped together and easily accessed. And a quick tap of
B over a particular building allows you to replicate it
again and again without needing to revisit any of those
sub-menus, while important stats are apportioned into
'at-a-glance' boxes around the main screen.
Anno is a lot more relaxed than most examples of the
genre, but that's not to say it's a breeze. The difference
here is that you'll never feel like you're combating the
controls as well - only your wits. As long as you get those
shifted into gear then prepare for a deep, enjoyable ride.