Did I mention I’m a sucker for strategy games even though I lack the strategy gene? Unless clicking all around the menus adding buildings because they’re pretty is considered a strategy. Anyway, I spent most of this past weekend playing around with Related Designs’ demo of their newest entry in the Anno series – Anno 1404. (And because we’re an illiterate lot here in the U.S. and Ubisoft apparently felt sorry for us, you’ll find the game under the moniker Dawn of Discovery.)
The demo is limited to an hour, but you can play one of two modes – continuous or mission-based – for an hour each which is more than enough time to get a real feel of the game. I first tried out continuous mode and I was able to get to the point where I’d managed to improve my “honor” enough to attract the attention of an” Oriental” Sultan – think more Ottoman Empire than China or Japan, this is the 15th century we’re talking about – before my time ran out. When I took on the mission-specific mode, I ended up having to help the shifty-eyed, weasel-like henchman of a Cardinal (who looked a lot like Emperor Palpatine) who was hell-bent on launching a Crusade against the Orient.
Anno 1404 is scheduled to release this week on PC, Wii and DS. You should be aware that the Wii and DS versions have been slightly altered for that “family-friendly” vibe, with an almost Disney-like story and graphic look. What’s really weird is that the PC version is selling for $20 more than the console versions. For its $50 price tag, the PC version better come with a really nice cloth map and some resin figurines.
And yes, I giggle every time the announcer in the video says “ori-ant”.
Update: I must be psychic (or psychotic, depends who you ask) as the UK gets a swanky collector’s edition which includes the game DVD; 72 page art book; unique panoramic poster; old-fashioned compass; 6 almond seeds (almonds figure prominently in the game) and an exclusive bonus DVD all packaged in a large, majestic wooden box. All this for the same price the plain-jane NA version is selling. (grumble, grumble)