• Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: Jun 17, 2009

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
Buy On
  1. 82
    Dawn of Discovery provides one of the best real-time strategy experiences of the year, hands down.
  2. It's complex and daunting, but this rich game of exploring, city building, and trading is also tremendously captivating.
  3. There’s little to complain about with Dawn of Discovery. Anyone with modicum of interest in strategy or city-building games should have a go at it; such an enjoyable experience should not be overlooked.
  4. The game is very well devised with a deep and challenging management core. It also has beautiful visuals, but to enjoy them you have to play the game with a powerful high end PC. Unfortunately not all the features are well implemented, the battles are a little bit cheesy and pre built villages in the campaigns remove all the progress made in the previous missions.
  5. With accessibility its central focus, Related Designs has done an admirable job with Dawn of Discovery to allow the player to tackle things when he wants to rather than making unforgiving demands with unclear deadlines or obstacles.
  6. Anno's pastoral, languid style will undoubtedly frustrate some, and those seeking breakneck excitement or a complex military framework would do well to look elsewhere, but if a gentle and rewarding management sim with a hint of tropical sunshine is what you're after, then you won't go far wrong with this.
  7. 92
    Huge, incredibly complex, exciting, addictive, a wonder... we could be remarking the virtues of Anno 1404 for hours.
  8. Dawn of Discovery is a work of art. The game has a solid gameplay, superb technical features and requires only middle-class hardware to work properly. However, the lack in multiplayer features is a minus to the global quality.
  9. Though Anno 1404 has no big improvements in the franchise´s formula, its awesome gameplay makes this game recommendable for those who like RTS games.
  10. If you are looking for action and adrenaline, don't wait for Anno 1404. If you're not, its particular gameplay and its development system and atmosphere, could enjoy you at the best!
  11. Once you get a continuous game going to the point you are bored with it, there isn’t much incentive to being a new continuous game, even on a higher difficulty level. It will take you tens of hours to see all the content available to you, and once you do there’s not a lot of reason to go back and see it again.
  12. AceGamez
    Much like its predecessor, Anno 1404 is an entertaining and friendly city building game with astonishing looks and enough content to last long into the winter months; and, again like its predecessor, its combat still lets things down.
  13. Building your own medieval empire proves surprisingly attractive in terms of both visuals and gameplay.
  14. Anno 1404 has excellent production values and gameplay, visuals and sound complement each other well. The eastern theme gives the game a new dimension, without getting overly complicated. It's a great game to start your summer holidays.
  15. Explore new worlds with this installment in the Anno series. This game presents amazing visuals and use strong gameplay that will allow players to explore the new world. It lacks online modes, but it's a great strategy and simulator game.
  16. High-level fun and addiction is what Anno 1404 is about. The more time you invest in this game, the more satisfaction you will get out of it.
  17. 80
    Fun accessible gameplay, coupled with enough options to keep its life cycle ticking over makes Anno 1404 one strategy title that we highly recommend.
  18. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Complex city building strategy game offers many possibilities to build and conquer new worlds. Anno 1404 looks amazing compared to its predecessors. Unfortunately, the story campaign and combat system bring things down. [Aug 2009]
  19. Anno 1404 is a terrific game and will keep you entertained for a long time. It gives the player challenges after challenges, and you won't get easily bored. It also looks really good. The only downside is the lack of strategic elements.
  20. 100 hours of gameplay without being bored for a second. The developers managed to replace routine with variety and long lasting motivation. Despite all the complexity, Anno 1404 never feels like work, but like one of the best games.
  21. The massive game world and highly detailed units provide hours and hours of entertainment for anyone who can appreciate a slower paced and highly cerebral RTS.
  22. There is a certain charm to Anno 1404's dinky people going about their business, and a lot of pretty detail to revel in, but this familiar collection of well-worn elements only preaches to the converted, offering little to attract new believers.
  23. PC Format
    It's a beautiful, compulsive and rewarding world. [Sept 2009, p.99]
  24. PC Zone UK
    It might sound trite, but if you like god games there's nothing here you won't have seen before. [Sept 2009, p.70]
  25. Anno 1404: Dawn of Discovery is a must buy for any city management fans.
  26. Dawn of Discovery is very complex, but has a boring campaign. The interface is a bit confusing and there is no multiplayer mode. Still, it’s a great strategy game but not as good as the predecessor.
  27. A near perfect blend of west and east, complexity and accessibility - Dawn of Discovery is by far the best economic simulation to date.
  28. Dawn of Discovery is not only the fourth installment of the highly regarded ANNO-series but also the best, offering challenging complexity for core gamers and providing easy access for beginners at the same time. Don't miss this game if you are a fan of economic simulations.
  29. With a level editor and a multiplayer mode, Anno 1404 could have been a front runner in the race for the “Best Game of 2009” award. As it stands though, it’s just the best game in its category, featuring a complex and solid economic system that gives birth to a highly pleasant feeling of having functional and aesthetically pleasing cities.
  30. 100
    Anno 1404 is the best Anno yet and one of the best strategy games in a long time. Tons of games are addictive, very few of them for the right reasons – but this game is both.
  31. Total PC Gaming
    Charming, gorgeous and fun - though too stale for strategy hardcores. [Issue#23, p.59]
  32. Requisite whining about copy protection aside, this is a solid title that offers some fun and addictive game play, with lots to discover and plenty to do. It’s ridiculously easy to sit down with the intention of playing for a few minutes, only to look up and see that two or three hours have gone past. There’s a lot of character in the animations, the voice-acting is superb and the setting is fantastic. Dawn of Discovery deserves to be checked out by anybody who has an interest in exploration and the classic city-building titles of old.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 139 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 139
  1. KristianL.
    Aug 25, 2009
    This is the best empire builder game I've ever tried. There's nothing bad to say about this game. It even corrects all of the small This is the best empire builder game I've ever tried. There's nothing bad to say about this game. It even corrects all of the small annoyances that were found in Anno 1701 from 2006. The graphics are immense, and the fact that you can't let this game go and you have the opportunity to play from now on and until the end of time, makes this the best of the best. So many great features. I am in awe. Full Review »
  2. Sep 9, 2016
    Boring and deceptive game. I really wanted to like this. It has amazing graphics, good music, and it is charming. I wanted so bad to like thisBoring and deceptive game. I really wanted to like this. It has amazing graphics, good music, and it is charming. I wanted so bad to like this because i liked games like Settlers in the past. But this game is bad.

    The main issue with this game, is that there is really no freedom or creativity in strategy/city building. You have to min-max your cities in a certain pre-determined way, especially at higher difficulties. The game may seem complex at first, but it is not, this is not a strategy game, this is a puzzle game. Once you figure out how to layout your cities and in what order to build your production chains, the game gets very repetitive and unfun.

    And this leads to the next problem, this game is complex but is not deep. If you need to make some army units and need weapons, you will need to make whole production chains in order to make those weapons, but this is just busy work. The difference between just making a "base" in Age of Empires to make units, and making a whole production chain to make the same units in Anno, is just that it takes more time and takes memorization of the chains, nothing more.

    In the end, this game is a colossal waste of time. Fun to look at, but very shallow experience. Avoid.
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 24, 2011
    Dawn of Discovery is a classic, a master piece, nonpareil, a game which gives you something new even after playing 20+ hours continuously, OneDawn of Discovery is a classic, a master piece, nonpareil, a game which gives you something new even after playing 20+ hours continuously, One and Only.
    Simply the best!
    Full Review »