Game of the Week - Dawn of Discovery
Gamers familiar with Anno 1701 from Ubisoft will not be disappointed with this latest addition to their well-received strategy game series. In fact, the publishers have retained the Anno or AD title outside of North America, opting for Anno 1404 in Europe and elsewhere.
For those unfamiliar with the earlier titles, the Anno series are city building and resource management games, with a twist. Unlike the modern-day SimCity games, Anno uses a historical context, asking players to utilize supplies and methods from earlier ages to create and grow communities.
Dawn of Discovery takes place in the year 1404, when King George's land is suffering from severe droughts and brutal famine. Aware of his people's distress, the king calls on his two sons, William and Edward, to acquire new territories in order to produce enough goods to satisfy his empire's inhabitants. Whereas Edward suggests aggressive means to collect the precious resources, his brother William offers a peaceful solution, proposing to explore new and unsettled lands to the south of the kingdom.
With his Father's blessing, William heads to the mysterious Orient and returns with valuable new technologies such as the water pump that allows dry lands to be cultivated for food. But there are still many unmet needs and players are tasked with the mission of fulfilling those needs while both expanding and sustaining the vast society.
As the game progresses, other countries outside of the player’s control are also expanding and strengthening, leading to confrontations and the need to build armies and equip troops for protection. The game is rated Teen for some mild violence. There are some short-lived riots along the way and some fighting, particularly when you are in campaign mode. But the emphasis is on peaceful cooperation and a quest for economic growth.
The graphics on Discovery are excellent and the various challenges will keep strategy game enthusiasts occupied for hours and hours. The game supports a two-player mode offline and a multiplayer mode and leaderboards online through www.ubi.com.
The PC version features DRM protections that only allow three automatic installations. Additional installations need to be approved.
Publisher: Ubisoft, Inc.
Platforms: PC (Windows Vista/XP), Wii, Nintendo DS
RRP: From $29.99 (Wii, DS) to $49.99 (PC)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” – age 13 and older