I had a blast playing Anno 1404 (a.k.a. Dawn of Discovery) this Easter. I spent so much time on it that I’m limiting myself to no more than 10 hours of gameplay a week for the rest of April. I know I’ve played well over 10 hoursof this game by now, because I got the achievement for 10 hours of gameplay a while back. I’m probably closer to 15 hours and I’ve barely gotten started.
Lovely game. Love, love, love the soundtrack. The voice acting is great too. The dialog can be seriously cheesy sometimes, but that just adds to the medieval mood. I’ve been playing Campaign Mode, and it was most fun for me when I got to grow my little town and make my little peasants and nomads happy without worrying too much about the threat of war.
I’m quitting Campaign Mode now, though, because I went and made Kardinal Lucius mad, and he’s promised to hunt me down with a fleet of ships and wreck my bottom. I can’t deal with all that war stuff. Why must we fight? I was sitting in my harbor all happy as can be and then Guy Forcas came and burned all my ships! And my trading ships too! If not for the harbor defense towers and my one Oriental warship, I would’ve been sunk. I barely made it through that stage alive and you want me to come back for more? No thank you!
That doesn’t mean I quit the game though. I’m going to play the Easy and maybe the Medium scenarios in my spare time. I hear they’re quite meaty and can take almost as long as Campaign Mode to complete. If I can set the AI enemies so they don’t bug me at all, I might play Continuous Mode as well. It all depends on how much fighting I have to do because I love everything about the game except the fighting.
I really should have taken some screenshots because even on ‘low’ quality Anno 1404 looks amazing. It takes about 2-3 minutes for a chapter to load when you first start playing, but after that there’s very little loading and almost no lag to deal with. I haven’t experienced any major bugs either. Gameplay might seem complex if you start straight in Continuous Mode, but Campaign Mode has some serious hand holding at the start so that you’re eased into everything in small doses. Which is great because my game came with no manual even though I bought it brand-new and shrink-wrapped straight from Amazon. More and more games are doing away with manuals these days, but this kind of game really needs one.
Favorite part of Anno 1404: overseeing ascension from Citizens to Patricians and later from Patricians to Noblemen. There’s so much to do and so many resources to manage. To get Bibles to make the Patricians ascend, first I had to advance the Patricians enough to unlock paper mills and printing houses, I had to do enough quests to unlock indigo farms, I had to stock up on quartz by trading with the Orient, I had to build a potash factory and then a glassworks to convert potash+quartz into glass so I could build the printing house, where I would combine paper+indigo to make books. All this while growing my population slowly enough that resources could go around. All while seeing to it that my people never ran out of bread, beer, cider, leather jerkins, linen clothing, spices and all the many, many other things it takes to – ONE OF YOUR PLANTS HAS STOPPED PRODUCING GOODS! PRODUCTION HAS BEEN DISRUPTED! – keep a civilization up and running.
Not like it’s a perfect game or anything, but it’s pretty close to my idea of perfect. Gorgeous graphics, fantastic, evocative soundtrack, memorable characters (and accents!) and relative autonomy to do as I please, until Lucius and Forcas crashed my party. I’m not done by any means, but I don’t have any thing more to say than THIS IS AWESOME!!! so I decided to get it out of the way early. Hope you all had as fun an Easter as I did!