You'll love it if:
- You like optimizing cities.
- You love the Anno franchise.
Not for you if:
- You think this is a real time strategy combat game.
- You hate fulfilling the needs of others.
Hell yes, it’s good to dive back into the Anno series for this Anno 1800 Xbox Series X review. Building a thriving civilization has never been more convenient. As I decide the fate of my people from the comfort of my sofa. I chuckle as the fire brigade rushes to put out fires that my exploding factories created. All while being covered in blankets, as befits a true couch potato. Getting out of the snug sofa to write this Anno 1800 Xbox review was a real bummer. Sofa so comfy, optimization so addicting.
Anno 1800 has been out for a while on PC but has now hit consoles with this excellent port. Really pushing the limit of the Xbox Series X with pristine details and beautiful maps to explore and build upon. It comes with some slower loading times for those details though. The addiction Anno 1800 brings is real and hours fly by as you strive to optimize and satisfy your community and expand into a cluster of thriving islands. Dominating your opponents through either trade, war or diplomacy. And the campaign was quite fun to play and an excellent starter if you’re new to the series.
Anno 1800 Xbox series X review: Royalty amongst city building managers
First off, I simply love optimizing stuff. Whether it is for work or during game sessions. Optimizing runs for Destiny to get the most loot or get my bounties done as easy peasy as possible. Doing a Satisfactory run and optimizing a factory setup or expanding to a new one. And now managing several islands and their people in the Anno 1800 console edition.
The history of Anno 1800 – Anno 1800 Xbox Series X review
As I mentioned earlier, the Anno 1800 console edition is the release of Anno 1800 on, well you guessed it, consoles. The first release of Anno 1800 was on 16/04/2019 exclusively on PC. While it does sound like a while ago, Anno 1800 has kept a pretty strong community and gotten several DLC to spice up the game. These content DLC are PC exclusive and will remain that way. At least for now, this is what Ubisoft told us.
I wholly support gaming for all and everyone, regardless of platform, age or ability. Everyone should be able to enjoy the art, stories and worlds developers create. So I’m definitely glad to see Anno ported over to consoles.
The story of Anno 1800
Anno 1800 comes with a meaty campaign and the well-known sandbox mode. I dove straight into the campaign. I have a good hundred hours of sandbox mode under my belt from renting Anno 1503 at my local library gaming section. I was also way too young to understand the deeper mechanics, so I just fooled around building houses and farms. Having acquired several decades of life experience as a citizen myself, I now perfectly know how to make my citizens’ lives a perfectly optimized hell.
The campaign of Anno 1800 starts off with the creation of you. You can select a portrait, flag and name and dive straight into the tropical island cut-scene. This and all cut-scenes throughout the campaign do this nice trick with the camera. Panning and flying through the actual game world you play in. All while the characters in the story narrate their dialogue or events in the game.
You and Aarhant are living an easy life on a tropical island, barely getting by but without a worry in the world. Out of the blue, you receive a letter from your sister Hannah; your father has been imprisoned under the suspicion of treason and she requests your help at home. After blowing up some fish to trade for a boat ticket you are on your way home.
As you enter the island cluster called ‘The Old World’, another cut-scene takes you across the island of Bright Sands. Your sister tells you that your father died while you were on the way home and that you arrived just in time for the funeral. Enter Uncle Edvard, clearly your nemesis and bona fide bad guy. Claiming father was a traitor and that he will do the Goode & Sons good by his actions. Before getting caught up with him, your sister had already bought a small island, the new start of your city and empire.
You continue to build up a community, attract citizens, meet new players and expose the lies of your Uncle. The story really works step by step to introduce new players into the genre. And while it seems mediocre at first, the campaign takes a beautiful turn and has some pleasant surprises along the way. I wholly recommend you start here if you are new. Or just break your sandbox streak and try it. The campaign is the perfect mix of Sandbox and narrative.
Complex systems made simple for controllers – Anno 1800 Xbox Series X review
Ubisoft Mainz really have outdone themselves with the controller support for the complex UI Anno 1800 has. Furthermore, the whole Annopedia of Anno 1800 is implemented for easy access on the console. An overview of all your resources, their supply and demand for your islands and several filters to play around with. An optimizer’s dream come true, on a console.
Custom-made control scheme, with customizable options
Every aspect of the menu is easily accessible once you get the hang of it. Selecting resources for trade, halting production, building houses… The real game changer is automatic road completion. Hover over a block or building and with one press you can circle it with a road. Making it easier than ever to optimize the logistical network of your factory districts. Even if you aren’t satisfied with the preset control scheme; it is fully customizable to your needs.
Sadly the font isn’t as customizable as I wanted. When I began I feared the text might be too small to read and would strain my eyes during longer sessions. Turns out it was just fine for my TV and my distance relevant to the TV. Which is about three meters give or take hunchback-focused gamer mode. But overall no complaints there, basically just perfect.
Graphically amazing – pushing limits
From the art of the loading screens to the details of buildings and streets when you zoom in. Anno 1800 is a beautiful game and is addicting to look at. What I mean by that is that you can just zoom in on a street and watch people go by. Certain citizen quests even have you look around for a lone protestor or wolves that are roaming the streets of your city. The detail is stunning.
But all that detail comes at a cost. Most of your playtime in Anno 1800 will be zoomed out to optimize blocks and streets and look for good placements for your next supply chain of turning potatoes into schnapps. And when you zoom in fast the textures do take some time to load in. The result is some blurry ugly visuals.
Overall performance was good and I encountered nothing game-breaking or frustrating. Aside from those adult chores I had to do like eat and sleep. The most annoying thing I had was the pop-ups from all those schnapps trades. Easy to dismiss with the press and hold of X in the notification menu. I even spent some time decorating my city with some cosmetics from the Deluxe edition and barely felt an impact on performance.
Anno 1800 Xbox Series X review: Conclusion
This is an amazing port of the excellent Anno 1800 to Xbox Series X. Not only is it available on the Xbox series X but also on the Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5. I’ll be spending those rainy fall afternoons trying to optimize my citizens’ needs. I don’t think I need to elaborate any further if you are in any way interested in trying an Anno game. This is the perfect entry-level experience and the customizable options can make Anno 1800 challenging for veterans as well.
Get Anno 1800 Console Edition for the Xbox Series X here.
Thank you, Ubisoft, for this review key. Job well done!
Get off your sofa in between Anno 1800 sessions with Just Dance 2023. We did a review about how it takes the Just Dance franchise to a whole new level!