|System: DS, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sunflowers||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1, 2-4 (online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery takes gamers on a complex and enjoyable journey to settle and civilize the new world. There are literally tens of hours of strategy entertainment packed into the little cart, and the DS's touch screen controls are so good that you won't miss the PC version one bit. Moreover, the game has a high-level of replayability due to the Multiplayer component, various levels of difficulty, and Continuous Play.
This may not be the right game for everyone, but there is plenty of depth here for simulation, strategy, and RTS buffs to sink their gaming teeth into. The colonization of the New World was a time of bold characters eager to leave their mark on world history. The clash of civilizations, cultures, and egos made it an era fraught with death, riches, and adventure. With this as a backdrop, Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery plunges gamers into a rich strategy title.
Many of you may be familiar with the excellent PC title, Anno 1701 (aka 1701 A.D.). Of course the DS version is a bit toned down, but you will be amazed at just how complete and satisfying the handheld version is. For those unfamiliar with any game from the series, Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery has you settle various islands in the name of your sovereign. As governor, you will be tasked with making peace with the local native population, establishing viable centers of trade, securing a steady stream of New World resources, and doing it all before competing nations become too entrenched.
Initially you will have to establish a town center known as a warehouse, clear the virgin forests, establish rudimentary roads, provide housing and essential services, and then project your holdings and expand your influence through military might. In order to accomplish all this, you will have to build lumberjack huts, tea plantations, ore smelters, grain farms, tailors, barracks, bath houses, confectioners, taverns, quarries, schools, etc., just to name a few. The massive amounts of buildings at your disposal are there to enrich both your coffers as well as the lives of your citizens.
Early on you'll have to strike a balance between providing for the citizenry and harnessing growth into viable development. If you allow your citizens to wholly dictate affairs, you will quickly find yourself in a hole. Then again, if you don't pay them any heed you won't have a tax base to make future glories possible. Meeting the expectations, needs, and wants of your fellow colonists will progress the entire society from Pioneers all the way to Aristocrats. Needless to say, there really is a lot of strategic goodness to be had.
In addition to establishing your colonies through city planning, you'll also have to take charge of diplomatic affairs, warfare, public health, and trade. You will constantly be approached by external parties with their own agendas. You will have to broker trade deals, pay tribute to protect your fledging colonies, establish a fierce militia and navy, provide medical and emergency services, as well as provide for the happiness of your citizens by procuring items that can't be locally produced. Through mutually beneficial trade agreements you will be able to extend your influence and enrich the lives of your tax base in order to see your colony thrive. All of this is done through careful management and steady manipulation of the balance sheet, building types, production, supply and demand, and facility upgrades.