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Dawn of Discovery Review

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Developer: Related Designs Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: June 23, 2009 Available On: PC

History buffs, strategy fans and economists rejoice! The real-time strategy game that blends elements of politics, economics, warfare and trade all into one game has made its way to the PC, Wii and Nintendo DS. Dawn of Discovery, known in Europe as Anno, is a series that has been around for a while but never made much of a splash in the American market. Ubisoft plans on changing that with this year’s Dawn of Discovery. How well does the game play? Is it even worth the effort? Read on to find out.

The first thing you need to know as a consumer is that Dawn of Discovery is a very slow paced game. Extremely slow. There really aren’t any time constraints on when you need to complete missions, which in terms of the pace of the game is probably a bad thing, but ultimately is welcome since they tend to involve a lot of strategic planning, micromanagement and even a certain amount of guesswork since not everything is strictly spelled out for you.

Dawn of Discovery is very vague about how you complete objectives. It is not as simple as having houses, a farm, market or their military equivalent like what you expect from an RTS similar to Warcraft or Age of Empires. They have cidar farms, hemp farms, fishing, stone mining, wood collecting, etc. Once you collect the raw materials you then need to have buildings to build weapons, clothing and ships. You also have to keep your citizens happy while meeting the demands of the king.

Unfortunately the developers took a route where you spend more time in menus than in city building or combat. This game is heavy on micromanaging the economic system of your community and trading routes. I think that if they would have taken the macro approach to the economic system in the game it would have been a lot more enjoyable and time consuming. For instance, levying taxes, opening trade routes, and building the necessary structures without needing to keep tabs on production. Even as a Political Science major I found the game as it is to be a bit boring. On the plus side, if you are an insomniac and need an alternative to a sleeping pill, Dawn of Discovery may do the trick.

The game is broken up into two different main modes: the single-player campaign and a “continuous” play mode. There is no online multi-player, which greatly deters the replay value of the game. That said, the levels are fairly long and the continuous play mode promises the ability to play for a long time to come for die hard fanatics. I just couldn’t see myself playing this game for dozens of hours like I could an Age of Empires.

Fans of economic strategy games that are light on combat and heavy on micromanagement of resources, Dawn of Discovery is your game. If you like a faster paced and more action packed strategy game, you are better off looking elsewhere. Certainly Dawn of Discovery is a welcome addition to the growing list of strategy games on the market. Furthermore, it is nice to see these games make it to the Wii and Nintendo DS. It just is not for everyone.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 8.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.8 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review