DLC REVIEW: ‘Anno 1800’ Tourist Season is Well Worth the Visit (PC)

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Anno 1800 Tourist Season

Anno 1800, published by Ubisoft and developed by the team at Ubisoft Mainz is in its third season which has promised to bring players back to their hometown — the Old World — and push them to invest more into their stated islands. The latest expansion in this season, “Tourist Season,” aims to add value to spending time making your city aesthetically pleasing and experiment with new mechanics and a whole new class of people on their island. With this new content, players can try their hand at building a bustling tourist hotspot with new buildings, public transportation, a brand new monument, and more.

To begin, players must upgrade their Public Moorings to Tourist Moorings, add a bus stop, and then jump into the new buildings that unlock as you gain more tourists. Specifically, newly arrived tourists will find luxurious accommodations in new hotels but they need to be kept happy with bars, cafes, and restaurants that provide benefits to nearby citizens (farmers, workers, and the like) based on the dishes served. With multiple recipes available in each of the buildings, players can choose what food to serve based on their cities’ produced goods or they can focus on the benefits added by their production.

The benefits from restaurants here are truly one of the “Tourist Season” DLC’s strongest elements. Traditionally, as you expand your cities, upgrading your populations to engineers and investors puts a strain on your island because of their need of New World goods like coffee. While “Docklands” helped with this a little via its export/import feature, the reduced consumption benefit added by the restaurants, cafes, and bars has a big impact on your gameplay. Because your population has reduced consumption needs, it’s easier to free up space on your islands that allows you to have more space to utilize.

Now, just adding in one of these buildings may seem simple, but in reality, it’s actually challenging. Each one of the recipes at all three buildings takes individual ingredients that range from easily produced in the Old World to needing to be imported from the New World. Additionally, through the recipes, “Tourist Season” pushes you to explore the areas opened to you in past DLCs. This is because certain recipes only unlock after completing tasks in other areas “The Passage” or Enbasa. This interconnectedness is also a strength that makes the new mechanics not only good at expanding the quality of life but also making sure the player explores beyond the Old World, instead of just getting stuck in it.

Anno 1800 Tourist Season

But along with the things that make them happy, the tourist necessities also add a new challenge to the island. Specifically, while you end up saving on space because of benefits from “Tourist Season” buildings the addition of bus stops and hotels pushes you to change the way you layout your cities. One of the things we did in our games before “Tourist Season” was to build the zoos, museums, and botanical gardens in empty spaces where we could build them as large and grand with little interruption from the rest of the island. But now, each and every one of the exhibits need to be placed with a bus stop and close enough to hotels and the routes that lead to them in order to fill the happiness of your tourists.

By playing our existing game, this meant that we needed to reorganize our residential districts of our island. We had to make space for hotels, zoos, museums, botanical gardens, the palace, and even the docklands within bus route distance which completely restructured how our island was designed. Beyond this, you also have to use that newly found space to make room for chemical plants – where you produce shampoo, lemonade, and souvenirs – and orchards. Now, the orchards offer a number of goods needed in recipes and formulas in other tourist buildings, but you can only one in the Old World which forces the player into developing the New World with the other orchards.

While orchards push you to manage your New World islands they also don’t add any new benefits to those islands. This is where our only complaint comes into play. Anno 1800 has done a great job of expanding the world but when it comes to the New World, there hasn’t been much progression, and the inclusion of orchards but no offer of benefits highlights this. While the New World is a hub for a lot of needed ingredients, and oil, it is also stuck in a phase of being underdeveloped without even the use of electricity, it seems odd to open the tourist door with a new resource but not add more elements to the zone.

Outside of that though, “Tourist Season” is really a great DLC the builds on the existing game by introducing new mechanics, pushing you to reimagine your island management and layout at the same time. Additionally, like the other DLCs in the Anno 1800 stable, this one comes with a free game update that also added elements that help with the game’s quality of life. With the update, players can regrow trees in previously deforested areas, slow down the game’s speed by 50%, edit their player profile during a game, introduce updated ground plates for ornaments, create a queue for the Research Institute, and send money to other players in multiplayer.

When all is said and done, the developers at Ubisoft Mainz have once again proven that while DLC and expanding the game are important, so is making the base game feel playable this long after release. Now in its third season, the devs have proved time and time again that quality of life is at the forefront of the choices behind adding new mechanics. With “Tourist Season,” they’ve pushed players to see their islands differently, and also view their world as interconnected instead of sequestered. Now, your goal isn’t just to get an island fully optimized, it’s to get it optimized and make it aesthetically appealing – invest in attractiveness, invest in culture, and make sure that your hotspots aren’t just on their own but woven into your residents.  Which begs the question what will “High Life” bring? For us, well, we can’t wait.

Anno 1800 “Tourist Season” DLC and the Season 3 Pass is available now.

Anno 1800 - "Tourist Season" DLC
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, the developers at Ubisoft Mainz have once again proven that while DLC and expanding the game are important, so is making the base game feel playable this long after release. Now in its third season, the devs have proved time and time again that quality of life is at the forefront of the choices behind adding new mechanics. With “Tourist Season,” they’ve pushed players to see their islands differently, and also view their world as interconnected instead of sequestered. Now, your goal isn’t just to get an island fully optimized, it’s to get it optimized and make it aesthetically appealing – invest in attractveness, invest in culture, and make sure that your hotspots aren’t just on their own but woven into your residents.  Which begs the question what will “High Life” bring? For us, well, we can’t wait.