Review: Anno 2205 (PC)
Fossil fuels are all but spent. The world is trying its best to use wind, thermal and hydro electricity but there is a massive shortage of power. A century old project to use the moon for resources is being revived and while big corporations are shifting gears and getting the red tape sorted, your little start-up might be able to step in and make a name for itself.
The year is 2205 and Earth is pretty different since our last visit to the world of Anno. With fossil fuels all but gone there is no longer the option of opting for cheap but dirty manufacturing. Everything has gone organic with minimal waste and high yields per space used. It is a very different world, almost Utopian except for the power crisis and a few startling changes. Many go through life not eating real food, the expense of food manufacture and water desalination means many eat tubes of paste. You are not that boss though. Your people eat real food, meaning people tend to flock in droves to work for you.
The first region you will settle in is the temperate regions of Earth. Rice paddies, fruit farms and sunflower fields provide your workers with food, vitamin drinks and materials to build with respectively. Equipment is easy to maintain here, so running costs are low and many people can settle in a fairly small area, meaning your temperate region is where you will get the bulk of your tax money from to fund your other, more maintenance heavy projects. In the beginning the struggle to power everything really drives the energy crisis home. Wind energy provides so little power, and tidal power stations steal valuable coastal sites. Eventually you will need materials and metals that can’t be found in the temperate region and it is time to head north. Far North.
The polar ice caps are still there, barely. Actually they all melted until a worldwide initiative installed climate control systems to allow ice formations to grow again. It is a really delicate balance and any building here is closely monitored by the Arctic Preservation Trust, which has control and jurisdiction in the area. This cold, harsh environment changes the way that you will construct settlements: thanks to the energy crisis, heating homes is just impossible to achieve. Instead your polar employees will huddle their houses close to industries that let off heat. Factories, smelters and mining machines will be surrounded by houses trying to beat off the cold climate. It is a tough life, but importing medicine and vitamin drinks will keep your people happy, as will being able to eat fish, with the last fish populations only occurring at the poles. Thermal power will help keep industry ticking over, but it steals precious mining locations, which could be better used to provide molybdenum, which gets used for several higher end goods that your other regions and your arctic scientists will need. Eventually you will be able to turn Methane ice into energy at a Gas power station, keeping your arctic area powered and your people warm. Once you have manufactured and amassed enough superalloys, it is time to go to the moon!
Fly me to the moon
Welcome to the most expensive, grey place to build ever. Here your workers rely on you for oxygen and shields to protect them from little asteroids that add pockmarks to the moon’s surface. Shields are expensive to maintain and use a lot of power, but solar energy out here is pretty plentiful. Of course we want something much more efficient than solar energy, which means turning the moon into the next source of clean energy. Helium-3 is harvested here, as are rare earth metals. Combining Helium-3 with Deuterium strained back on Earth can be turned into fusion cells, to power a new type of energy reactor. From this point, you can send power to any sufficiently upgraded spaceport free of charge, solving the power issues you had in the arctic and temperate regions. Out here, looking back at Earth things look so peaceful, as if nobody would ever ruin it. But someone wants to ruin it.
In Anno 2070 a lot of time and money was devoted to upgrading defenses and protecting your cities from raids. This broke away from the city building and in Anno 2205, there are more than enough things to distract you. To deal with enemies you will head to conflict zones, special maps where you take a fleet of warships and deal with objectives. It gives you something to do while you wait for a timed objective to pass, or your funds to increase back to healthy numbers again after a building spree, but they get repetitive really quickly. There are only three maps and the objective is often kill this thing, capture this point or collect these things. Its the weakest part of the game, but I am really glad that it is encapsulated so far away from the real meat of the game: building a flourishing city and economy. When starting out the conflict zones are a great place for getting rare resources but they can be bypassed altogether in the campaign, something I think a few builders will really appreciate.