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Anno 2205 Steam In Home Streaming Review

Posted in PC Reviews
at 2015.11.07
With 0 Comments

Hey Gamersworldbd readers! The Gaming Wiz here with another Steam streaming review. Today we’re going to check out the recently released Anno 2205 with thanks to Ubisoft for providing the review copy.

This is unusual because the review code was naturally for Uplay. So, I had to add Uplay to Steam, stream that and then start Anno 2205 from the Uplay launcher. I’m not entirely sure how this will affect performance versus streaming it directly from Steam.

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First thing’s first. If you’re new here, you may want to read up the system specs and the testing methodology. The highlights include the main host PC, Core i7 6700K, an EVGA Superclocked Geforce 980 4GB with the ACX 2.0 cooler and 32GB Ripjaws DDR4 2400MHz RAM. Intel NIC. Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit. The Surface Pro 3 is the i5 model and the Razer Blade is the 2014 model. And the NUC is D34010WYK, with a Core i3-4010U, 8GB RAM. Finally, everything is connected to an ASUS RT AC87U Router.

So, let’s not wait around, let’s get on to the tests!

Surface Pro 3 10 Feet, 5GHz, Wi Fi AC, “Balanced” Setting:

Since I’ve never tried streaming another game launcher before I was pleasantly surprised that Uplay started streaming instantly with no issues. I had no problem selecting the Games tab and launching Anno 2205 from within the Uplay launcher via Steam streaming. Goes to show the stability of the Uplay client and the versatility of Steam In Home Streaming.

As I was preparing to further sing praises of Steam and Uplay, Windows 10 decided to download a firmware update in the middle of everything which made me lose my Wi-Fi connection on the Surface Pro 3 (thanks Windows 10!).

After restarting I launched Anno 2205 with no issues and had a solid gameplay experience. Due to the nature of city building gameplay, input lag really wasn’t that important but I didn’t notice any. The touchscreen controls worked well for selecting stuff and placing down buildings. But you couldn’t drag and drop nor place down roads efficiently. So, I connected a wireless mouse to it and started playing. Most of the controls are accessible with the mouse but I’ve yet to find a way to rotate buildings without the keyboard. If you’re reading this Ubisoft or Blue Byte, please give us a way to rotate buildings with only the mouse!

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I noticed that the graphics weren’t quite as sharp and crisp as playing natively but I didn’t face any graphical glitches or compression issues.

After completing all objectives in the starting region and having amassed a sizable income, I switched to the arctic region and started building there.

Next up I had a ship combat mission (which is too simplistic in my taste). There were some compression issues as the camera panned across the ocean. But once I took control of my units, those issues became less apparent.

Overall, I had no complaints in building, managing, waging war, jumping between regions whatsoever. A very good experience so far playing Anno 2205 over Steam In Home Streaming to the Surface Pro 3.

Surface Pro 3 45 Feet, 5GHz, Wi Fi AC, “Balanced” Setting:

I’m happy to report that Uplay started streaming on the first go and I launched Anno 2205 from within Uplay with no issues whatsoever. I normally get issues at this range but not with Anno 2205. The (relative) graphical quality impressed me as well with barely any signs of compression issues or low quality textures.

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Despite the range and with a solid brick will in between the router and the Surface Pro 3, the gameplay was largely smooth with only a little bit of stuttering while changing and loading the other region. However, once the new region loaded it hanged for a couple of seconds after which I got dumped back to the Windows desktop. After a minute I could resume the stream.

So I got back into the game and changed region once more. Needless to say events repeated itself. I concluded that as long as you’re playing in one region, the game should be stable and lag free.

Razer Blade 10 Feet, 5GHz, Wi Fi AC, “Balanced” Setting:

I was greeted with a black screen at launch but that was because I had the Sound Blaster control panel open on my main PC. I had to manually switch focus to Uplay on the main PC by Alt+Tabbing and it started to stream just fine. This may be a limitation of Steam’s streaming protocol where manually added applications and games don’t auto focus properly.

I hit play and once again I got a stuck screen where Steam didn’t auto focus properly. I had to restart the stream and it resumed at the main menu.

This time I started a brand new colony on the moon but I noticed that the intro video was a bit choppy for some odd reason. Upon loading into the region I was once again impressed by the lack of visual compression artefacts as is common on the Razer’s higher res “4K” screen while streaming via Steam. Mind you, the game and especially the textures looked less detailed and vibrant but there were not any Mad Max style glaring compression artefacts.

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The rest of my time playing Anno 2205 via Steam In Home Streaming was as seamless as playing it on the main PC except for the region overview screen, which was lagging a bit. Oh, and this time the stream didn’t crash when changing regions. It did, however, took a long time to exit when I quit the game and was stuck which seemed like it crashed but it didn’t in fact.

Razer Blade 45 Feet, 5GHz, Wi Fi AC, “Balanced” Setting:

There wasn’t any noticeable degradation in graphical quality at this range compared to at 10 feet. But I had one freeze after about 5-10 minutes of streaming. I manually quit and restarted the stream and I was back just into where I left off. Thankfully changing regions didn’t result in a crash.

I experienced yet another freeze in the middle of the game but it recovered by itself after a second or so. The next time it happened, the stream quit to the desktop and I had to restart steam to regain connection and resume where I had left off. This suggests that the Razer Blade’s Wi Fi card struggles to maintain a good signal at this range, especially with a solid brick wall in between the router and the client. But the Surface Pro 3 performs like a champ with the same setting so I’m unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.

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In the hour or so I played, it wasn’t exactly the best experience with random stuttering and unexpected disconnects where I had to restart Steam to resume streaming where I had left off.

NUC 1 Gbps Wired, “Balanced” Setting:

What is really odd is the fact that in my experience streaming over wired connection with the NUC has resulted in more disconnects than over Wi Fi.

Case in point, as soon as I hit Stream, it quit and disconnected. I had to restart Steam and sizable firewall on the host PC to get it to reconnect.

Even with the Bravia XBR’s up scaling, the image lacked detailed when vowed across the 55 inch screen. But playing from a distance with a wireless Logitech media keyboard and mouse, it is not too noticeable. But you could clearly tell that the high rise buildings had jagged edges and was missing anti aliasing. The plus side is that unless I was directly over ocean terrains or I moved around too fast, I rarely noticed compression artefacts.

Apart from the graphical issues, I had a good time with Anno 2205 with no disconnects and very rare (if at all) stutters.

Verdict:

Anno 2205 is perfectly playable over Steam In Home Streaming with the Surface Pro 3. Since this genre of gameplay rarely supports a controller, I wouldn’t normally recommend it streamed to a big HDTV, especially with the loss of graphical fidelity. Although there were issues with the Razer Blade at 45 feet and some issues over wired but that’s at no fault of Anno’s but rather the Steam streaming protocol.

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