Combining strategy and city-building, Anno 1800 has been a mainstay for PC gamers since 2019. Four years later, it’s finally made its way to consoles – and so far, it seems very much worth the wait.
This is a review-in-progress based on our initial impressions of Anno 1800 Console Edition. We need to spend more time with the game and progress further through its campaign before we can give our complete and final review. We’ll update this article soon.
The city building/strategy genre is one that’s well-suited to PC gaming. Typically, games of this type are heavy in menus, and having a mouse and cursor to navigate and click around makes sense. It’s why so many similar games never make it to console: porting a workable control scheme to a controller is often too complex a task. But Ubisoft has done a great job of making Anno 1800 feel logical and intuitive on console. Sure, you’ll likely fumble a little bit to begin with: accessing certain menus requires a push of a trigger, a nudge of the d-pad and a bit of searching around. But we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how easy it has been to learn the ropes, making spending time with Anno 1800 Console Edition an enjoyable task indeed.
Playing through the campaign of Anno 1800 Console Edition, you’re eased in gently, with a series of simple tasks. You’re not bogged down with tutorials, however. Following a brief introduction on how to move the camera, players are pretty much let loose to figure things out for themselves. That means building houses and laying the foundations of some simple industries. As you progress, more industries will unlock – providing you put in the work. Most tasks are surprisingly easy to get to grips with, and if you are struggling, extra help is often available via the menu.
What’s perhaps most striking about Anno 1800 Console Edition is how fantastic it looks. Whether you’re zoomed all the way out for a birds-eye view of your empire or opting for a close-up view of the action on street level, there’s a lot of detail to be enjoyed. The models of each building have been created with a lot of care: zoom right in and you can see your citizens milling about, doing their jobs. The pub is particularly joyous: we could have watched its punters dancing and drinking all day.
The character models of Anno 1800, too, have been wonderfully designed. Whether it’s a rival town owner or someone integral to your growth, you’ll meet a range of characters as you progress through Anno 1800‘s campaign. Popping up in the corner of your screen, they’re lifelike and well animated, with stellar voice acting to match. It all goes a long way into making Anno 1800 feel much more alive than other city-building games. If it’s a genre you’re not exceptionally versed in, it makes Anno 1800 Console Edition feel like a great place to start.
Of course, there’s a lot more to Anno 1800 than simply building a town and watching it flourish. It may be the biggest draw for most, granted, but there are other elements here for players to tackle – and much of it we’ve only just scratched the surface of so far. You’ll expand into new areas, sending explorers across the ocean to uncover new parts of the world. You’ll set up trade routes, importing and exporting goods to ensure wealth and prosperity. And, of course, you’ll engage in warfare, dominating your opponents and protecting your settlements from their attacks.
We’ve still got a lot further to progress through our own campaign in Anno 1800 before we’re well versed in the full breadth of its many systems. But suffice to say, it does a great job of rolling things out slowly – but without ever feeling like you’re merely dipping a toe in. For those more experienced with the series and who want to jump in head-first, there’s a range of difficulty options available, and you can simply skip any tutorials to hit the ground running.
Even as newcomers to the Anno series, we’re finding Anno 1800 Console Edition a joy to get to grips with, and we can’t wait to see our town flourish into a thriving metropolis. We need to spend more time with it before delivering our final verdict, but all signs point to this being an excellent city building strategy game, and one that’s been exceptionally ported to consoles. With easy to learn controls, fantastic visuals and a gripping campaign, we’re having a lot of fun with it so far.