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Anno 1800 Console Edition Review


As someone who is primarily a console gamer, I have jealously been looking over at PC gamers and the Anno series for some time. It’s the mix of real-time strategy and city-building aspects that is one thing, but it is the attention to detail in how these cities look, no matter the time period, that has always piqued my interest. 

Admittedly though, when it was announced that Anno 1800 Console Edition would be the game coming to consoles as a first for the series, my excitement was a bit mooted at the choice of time period. However, after my time with the game, those concerns have been put to bed, and then some.

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Anno 1800 is the seventh mainline instalment for the franchise, but the first to come to home consoles without being scaled back. And, as the name suggests, it’s a game set in 1800, around the time of the industrial revolution. It should come as no surprise then that you will be building mines for various metals, kilns, furnaces and more.

The Industrial Revolution represented a major changing point in humanity’s history, and it is wonderfully replicated in Anno 1800. Your new community starts out as a humble farming village where you can rear sheep and pigs, as well as growing potatoes for schnapps. This quickly transforms into workers as you begin your own industrial revolution. Maintaining a healthy balance between your different workforces is one of the more crucial aspects of Anno 1800.

Anno 1800 has an open-ended sandbox mode, but the perfect place to start your journey is in the story-driven campaign. Miles from home, you learn from your sister that your father has been imprisoned under suspicion of treason but when you actually return home, it is too late, and your father is dead. Your Uncle Edvard takes control of the family shipping company but in doing so kicks you out of the company, off the island your father helped build and burdens you with the funeral costs. With no other choice, you must start again from scratch.

It won’t be long though before your hamlet becomes a village, which becomes a town and so on. Providing you follow the quests laid out for you whilst developing your own knowledge on how the game works, you should be okay. Anno 1800 gives you the basic framework to succeed without too much hand holding.

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But as you begin again to make the family name relevant again, others start taking note. Things start off gentle enough; palming your uncle off with a few pieces of cloth etc. Others may be far more hostile, however. You can find allies out there as you explore the oceans, but for every friendly face, there will be an unfriendly one looking as well. Maintaining these bonds and forging new ones is also a vital component of Anno 1800.

It also works really well on a controller. It isn’t quite as simply designed as Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition’s layout, but after a short time with it, Anno 1800 will feel perfectly suited for a controller.

There are other updates to make sure Anno 1800 fits well onto a console: a revamped UI, radial menus, and automatic street connections make Anno 1800 feel like it was initially designed with console in mind.

Sandbox mode allows you to jump into a fully customised game and experience Anno 1800 at its most pure. Sandbox mode can also be played online with up to fifteen other people, at least in cooperative play. You will be divided into four groups of four with a win condition of your choice. These range from number of monuments and investors, target population, wealth or revenue or forging alliances with others. You can also save these at any time to jump in again at another time. Though good luck trying to arrange sixteen people to all be online at the same time.

But how about those visuals? Well, Anno 1800 Console Edition is for Xbox Series X|S only, which tells you there have been no cut corners here. You can zoom in and out as you please, and being up close and personal with your towns and cities you can begin to appreciate just how detailed they are. For the best view though, launch Postcard View from the pause menu to get these very impressive vistas of your creation. Even the smog filled areas around your more industrious buildings look fantastic.

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A new cosmetic tool has also been added that allows you to click on a building or ship and change its appearance on the fly. That is, providing you have the necessary DLC packs bought and downloaded. And as anyone that knows Ubisoft will know, there are quite a few to choose from even at launch, with more on the way.

Incidentally, despite being on current-gen consoles only, each time you launch into a new or saved game, a fairly lengthy load time follows. This is the only one however, so can be forgiven.

Also in the pause menu is the Annopedia, a crucial tool for newcomers that goes into detail on pretty much everything found in Anno 1800.

Anno 1800 Console Edition is a rousing success that hopefully spells further games in the series being ported over to console. The game itself is excellent, with an engaging campaign and open-ended sandbox mode to keep you plenty busy. But the improvements for console ensure this feels like it was almost built originally with consoles in mind. The controller set-up may take a bit of time to get used to, but it will all quickly fall into place as you build the towns and cities of your dreams.

Work through the Industrial Revolution in Anno 1800 Console Edition on the Xbox Store

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Richard Dobson
Richard Dobson
Avid gamer since the days of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Grew up with the PS1 and PS2 but changed allegiances in 2007 with the release of Halo 3.
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As someone who is primarily a console gamer, I have jealously been looking over at PC gamers and the Anno series for some time. It’s the mix of real-time strategy and city-building aspects that is one thing, but it is the attention to detail...Anno 1800 Console Edition Review
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