Anno 1404 is a real time strategy game, that focuses on economy and resource management more than war and empire building.
When you first play Anno 1404, the lovely semi-animated painting style introduction really makes an impression. The game itself is also beautifully animated, detailed and generally impressive. Zoom in on a settlement and there's a great amount of detail and activity going on. If you're intrigued by medieval life, you'll love this.
You begin by building up a settlement. This process acts as a good tutorial to the game. What makes Anno 1404 particularly enjoyable is its relaxed pace - while you have objectives and quests to fulfill, it's not a frantic RTS that asks you to do a thousand things at once. Once you set up trade routes, and various other facilities they seem to work well on their own, so you can concentrate on the big picture.
While the tutorial is good, the control system is a little more complex than need be, and playing without a tutorial is just impossible, as there is nothing intuitive about it. Newcomers to the genre might find it all intimidating. It's worth being patient with Anno 1404 though, as it's rich in detail and always fascinating to watch.
If the idea of economics, trading and resource management fires your interest, Anno 1404 will be the perfect game. For anyone else, this is a well made and great looking real time strategy game.