I so wanted to review this game based upon the gameplay itself and try to steer clear of all the DRM stuff. Unfortunately the problems caused by the DRM system in effect make the game almost broken. This is exactly the type of game I would love to install to my laptop and have available for those nights I'm away on business, the problem is that I cannot always guarantee an internet connection, and with this game if you have no internet connection then you cannot play even the single player mode of the game.
Ontop of that I experienced a lot of connecion problems with the game, it keeps telling me I'm not connected to the internet when I clearly am. I visited the Ubisoft forums and there were many other people in the same position, some had been unable to login for days, yet others seemed to be working fine. There was very little response from Ubisoft regarding these connection problems. It is possible that there was some kind of attack happening by Pirates to take the authentication servers down, but I find that excuse unacceptable, Ubisoft should have had things in place so as to not inconvenience the paying customer.
My advise is to stay well clear of any Ubisoft game that uses this online system until they hopefully see sense and change direction.
Oh, and as for the game itself, when it does work it is actualy a very good game, it's just these contstant connection problems have really soured my taste for the game. They seem to have gone back more towards a feeling of the older Settlers games with less focus on the military side of things than with Settlers 6. The graphics are very nice, if a little blurry close up sometimes. Other than that it is difficult to judge the game much more on gameplay as I've actually not been able to logon and get that much actual playtime in.