Desert Island Discoveries: Anno 1404 Demo

The game does use the word 'orient' a lot.

So, I’ve been sitting and reviewing Anno all day on the Wii, where I found myself unfeasibly amused by being repeatedly told to pay the herb tribute to the king, which sounds like some fascinating kind of drug-dealing slang. I come upstairs and find that the big-boy pants version of Anno 1404 (aka Dawn of Discovery in the US) has just released its demo. It’s time limited, allowing you an hour of play in each of the demo’s two modes, which still leaves a lot of time for city building, trading and herb-tributing. Jim did a mass post with all the videos on recently, but I think you’ll find one beneath the cut which he didn’t include. Or I could be wrong. You tell me, Anno 1404 fans.


  1. Serondal says:

    This looks beautiful! How does the Wii version compare with the PC?

  2. Mil says:

    Unfeasibly amused? :confused:

  3. Turin Turambar says:

    The wii version seems ok on it’s own way, but the visual look is changed to a “fisher price edition”.

    link to

  4. Bob says:

    Moving water! My pc can’t handle that :D

  5. Vinraith says:

    @Turin Turambar

    WOW. Now that’s what I call catering to your target audience.

  6. SirKicksalot says:

    Oh noes, I’m just coming from a Bourne movie marathon and now I NEED to play GTA4 (which I hate)… But I also NEED to play this!

    My heart is torn apart.

    Craaaawling in my skiiiiiiin,
    This orange it will not peeeeel

  7. psyk says:

    Nice downloading now.

  8. Carra says:

    RTS games on a console, they still try to make those?

  9. Serondal says:

    I hear that Halo RTS was good for what it was O.o I have starcraft on my N64. HOORRRRIBBLE! (HISSS)

    I kind of thnk the Wii would be AWESOME for RTS games because of its control set up. It’d be awesome to be able to just point and click at the screen to make stuff move. Circle a group of units with the flick of a wrist. Draw complex move orders into a map and have them synced ect. Would be very interesting Sadly the Wii appears to have the processing power of my daughters fisher price laptop :P

  10. Turin Turambar says:

    Not even one comment about the actual demo of Anno 1404. Shame on you, RPS, it’s a big strategy franchise, a best seller in pc.

  11. Jim Rossignol says:

    Turin: We’ll get some code and look at the full game. Our time, sadly, is limited.

  12. Serondal says:

    I have two toddlers and a wife who demands hour long back rubs each night before we go to bed, plus full time job and house with yard to maintain. I would kill a hobo for your limited time! :P

  13. Inglorion says:

    Did all of these games use the same engine? If they all look this good I wonder if I should start with the first one.

  14. Retuobak says:

    A strong contender for my GOTY. Already played a bit of the demo, sadly on my two year old pos laptop, but I really like it, as I did all previous games in the series. Ordered.

  15. Serondal says:

    what exactly is the end game of this game line? do you win by total domination or just the game just continue on and on until you get bored?

  16. psyk says:

    The halo rts was rubbish

  17. Bema says:

    Played the demo for about 45 minutes. Not too bad. Similar enough to the old games that you aren’t lost when you first start, but still different enough to keep you intrested.

    Loving building up little towns & can’t wait to experiment with the whole ‘harbour’ thing some more.

  18. Nill says:

    After an hour of trying the demo out, my impressions are that this one’s pretty much what Anno 1701 was. There are a few touch-ups here and there, but the core gameplay is still to amass various goods that your citizens crave. It gets a bit repetitive after a while, especially for those that will have already done this over and over in 1701. It really could’ve done with more of an over-haul, switching out the simple goods-farming for something a bit more strategically rewarding.

    On the up-side, it is very pretty indeed, and my city didn’t get past level 3 before the time-limit hit, so maybe there are some innovations there. Judging from the videos released, the new battle-system could be fairly good, for example.

    I really love city-builders, but Anno always felt a bit too simplistic at its core, yet encumbering to actually play through — especially at its higher levels. Considering how few of these games are being released nowadays though, there’s really not much else there to choose from for fans of the genre.

  19. unclelou says:

    By Zeus, it’s prettier than imagined. Incredibly pretty.

    But yes, it’s almost exactly the same game again. The biggest difference to Anno 1701 seem to be some interface improvements. It’s most certainly great, but I’ve played the same game several times now.

    The genre in general (as far as it still exists) is stuck. I wish they’d get some inspiration from Civilization, giving the player much more freedom how to do things.

  20. Serondal says:

    So this is in the same vein as port royal and the Patrician series and The Prince?

  21. Stupoider says:

    I’m quite blown away by the music and the graphics. :) Fantastic demo so far!

    I enjoy this sort of game, haven’t had a decent citybuilder in a while. (This could replace my recent backtracking to The Settlers: Rise of an Empire)

  22. Serondal says:

    The above video would be better if it weren’t in German. All I understood was lead game design ;P

  23. psyk says:

    Just installed and its nice to see it comes with a benchmarker.

  24. Vinraith says:


    No, the focus of the game is city construction, trading is just a means to that end. The closer analogy is the Impressions city building series (Caesar, Zeus, Pharaoh, Emperor etc).

  25. A-Scale says:

    This is absolutely amazing. The demo install file is titled “DawnofDisco”. Either the creators of the game have a tremendous sense of humor, or this is a tremendous mistake.

  26. Serondal says:


  27. Turin Turambar says:

    Jim, i was speaking more about the RPS users, the ones above my comment :P

  28. MikeBiggs says:

    Downloading the demo now. Gonna be a while though, stupid 2Mb connection. Oh and btw Keiron, the video was already posted, though it was actually in english the first time around :p

  29. jarvoll says:

    Oh you did NOT just whinge about a 2Mb internet connection! I pay $AU70 per month, and if I get more than 20 kbps on a torrent I’m VERY lucky (direct downloads are obviously faster, around 150kbps, but still). God I hate this country sometimes.

  30. Super Bladesman says:

    I enjoyed the demo quite a lot – pre-ordered now :)

  31. ulix says:

    I downloaded the whole thing in 15 minutes ;)

    I’ve always loved the Anno series (as a German, how couldn’t I?), and I like what I’m seeing.
    The Orient stuff seems to be an interesting twist, I like that the higher civilization levels now have more then one need in every area, the harbor building system is very nice and well thought out, and the interface is even better then in the previous game (although I had a few little quirks with it).
    They seem to have improved on variety, too. With several mini-quests and stuff like that for you to accomplish besides building up your city and and outposts, and if what the developers promise for the endgame holds true, it would also be very nice (Endgame was quite boring in the last games, because you had nothing more to do).

  32. Serondal says:

    It certainly looks amazing, though I don’t have any room on my PC to hold the demo atm O.o I seriously need to invest in an updated HD mine is tiny lol. Only 20 GB

  33. Vandelay says:

    Just finished the demo (my first experience with an Anno game) and it was really good fun. I did find that there was a lack of information, for example I was getting some buildings not on 100% productivity but was never really clear why. This could just be down to being new to the game and it not having a manual to hand. Everything was fairly easy up until I unlocked the second tier of citizens and started running out of money, which slowed me down a bit. Quite nice that it builds up steadily rather than throwing you in at the deep end, but it did make me a bit cocky and expand a lot too early on, which made the second section much slower and I didn’t have enough honour to cultivate spices.

    Shamefully, I don’t think I have ever bought a city building game, but I have always enjoyed dabbling in the demos of many, particular when much younger and there were plenty about. I’ve recently been struggling to get into Civ4 once again, but this demo has made me think that it has what I want Civ to have. A possible purchase.

  34. Serondal says:

    There is some CivCity game where you raise up a roman city but it isn’t all that good. I played it through 5 missions or so and got extremly board with it.

  35. ulix says:

    Important information for Anno newcomers:

    Farming normally works like this:
    2 Farms, 1 building for further processing
    or 4 farms, 2 buildings for further processing, and 1 mor building for even further porcessing.

    An example from older games:
    4 wheet fields
    2 windmills
    1 bakery

  36. ulix says:

    2 Hemp fields
    1 taylor

  37. RogB says:

    It might be wrong, but I like the look of the Wii one.. (the shame). not the shoddy res or mickey mouse pointer, but the chunky colourful style.
    PC one still looks ace in a different way, mind..

  38. Ape says:

    psyk , the benchmarker is rubbish. I was disappointed with the way the game looked. the bench marker put my settings very low. I cranked the settings up to Max and it looked lovely & played fine.

    jarvoll, I’m stuck in Oz too and it sucks all the time.

    I enjoyed the game though the fickle, difficult to please peasants of Ceasar III put me off these sorts of games years ago. You just can’t please some people. Seriously, it looked great & was sort of relaxing somehow.


  39. MikeBiggs says:

    I played the demo a few times and am really liking it. I’m just hoping that the final release will have more efficient code! Even after turning many settings down it ran quite clunkily for me. Maybe time for an upgrade :D

  40. Vinraith says:

    I hear the US retail release of this is going to be saddled with a version of Tages DRM that allows only three installations (with no revocations, no less). Can anyone confirm that? Is the Euro-release saddled with the same?

    I love the Anno series and would hate not to be able to buy this because of DRM nonsense.

  41. pkt-zer0 says:

    The UK demo had a TagesClient.exe in its folder, so it doesn’t seem all that unlikely.

    Anyhow, as for the demo itself, it’s really quite amazing. The amount of pointless detail is impressive. Hit the time and building limit (you can’t build a tavern, which you’d need to advance to lv. 3), and didn’t figure out how to earn prestige with the Orient so I could build nomad buildings, but it was fun while it lasted.

    As for the “kiddie” version, its prequel on the DS was supposedly pretty good, and with the new one being even better, it might be an excellent portable Settlers alternative.

  42. Chris Evans says:

    Played the demo and really enjoyed it, did the two campaign missions and the open world mission until I hit the time limit. It seems very fun, haven’t played a city builder since Civ III/Zeus etc. though mainly it was my sister who played them.

    Downloading 1701 on Steam now to tide me over until this one is out :D

  43. GregP says:

    Gave it a try last night and wow, it really is gorgeous. I tried hard to get into Civ4 a while back but it just never “took” for me.

    What I can’t figure out with this game is, what’s the point? It’s not turn-based, so I don’t feel like I’m trying to build my world up faster than my opponents by making better decisions, nor is it RTS, so I don’t feel like I’m rushing to just click faster than my opponents … in fact in the demo (granted, I only played the “continuous” part, not the campaign yet) I didn’t feel I had any opponent whatsoever. So what’s the end goal? I don’t quite get it.

  44. Alienstout says:

    No multiplayer. God, how on Earth did this game make it out the door with MP missing? This is the same fiasco that happened with Anno 1503. Sure it says MP on the box – don’t look at it though, you’re not special enough to unlock that feature. Deeply disappointed by this because 1602 was a blast to play with the wife. Imagine that, 11 years ago they had MP but today…nah, it’s just too hard. Fuckers.

  45. Oak says:

    So what’s the end goal? I don’t quite get it.

    What’s the end goal in SimCity, or The Sims? Outside of any you set for yourself (or a scenario sets for you), there isn’t one. In a city-builder, the means are the end, and the enjoyment comes from constructing, managing, and tweaking a world of your own design.

  46. pkt-zer0 says:

    Isn’t multiplayer supposed to be coming in the first expansion, or something? I don’t mind, I don’t really see much point in it in this sort of a game.

    I do mind that the full version comes with 3 non-revocable activations. DRM DRM DRM