Port Royale 4
In the 17th century, the Caribbean Islands were the hosts of four major European countries: the English, the French, the Spanish and the Dutch. People from these four European lands were given the opportunity to create a new life, and maybe a new fortune, in each of the newest colonised Caribbean Islands. Every Tom, Dick and Harry, Paul, Jean and Jacques (in French), Pedro, Juan and Jose (in Spanish) or Van Tom, Van Dick and Van Harry in Dutch flooded the Caribbean to become a businessman or a pirate. So, the question is . . . which nation are going to back as a country and what will you become in Port Royale 4?
Port Royale 4 is a strategy/simulation game with turn-based naval battle developed by Gaming Minds and published by Kalypso Media on the 26th of September 2020 on the Steam platform. The game is also available on Xbox One and PS4 at this stage. The Nintendo Switch version is planned to be released in the first quarter of 2021.
The game consists of two main modes, which are the Campaign and the Free Game. If you decide to play the Campaign mode, you’ll start as a Spaniard, and you’ll have to successfully complete this campaign in order to unlock one of the other three campaigns (French, English or Dutch). In the Free Game, you can choose whichever of the four nations you want to represent.
If, like me, you are new to the Port Royale franchise, I would strongly recommend that you play the 10 short tutorials. They take around one hour to complete, and let me tell you, they are really worthwhile; you’ll gain the necessary understanding of the ins and outs of the game.
After selecting to play either the Campaign or the Free Game, you’ll have to choose a job as either a merchant, a buccaneer, a pirate or an adventurer. Whatever you decide to go with, the role will have 2 positives and 1 negative trait. Then you’ll be ready to sail away to the Caribbean Islands.
As you start your first game on either one of the modes, you’ll only be able to see the towns of your own nation in the Caribbean. Your first fleet will consist of two or three convoys. Each city can produce a maximum of 7 commodities, and most of them will have a few of the commodities at the start of the game. After studying each town and learning what they are producing, you’ll start buying and selling goods from one town to the next. As you grow your fleet, you‘ll be able to create automatic trade routes between several towns. I really like this game option; it becomes challenging to follow each of your convoys after a while. Mind you, the route might become unprofitable as the other three nations start trading with some or all of your own nation towns. To succeed in this game in terms of trading, you must have a good grip of all your convoys and which goods to buy or sell at any given time or you’ll find yourself bankrupt really quickly. Bear in mind, if you’re a buccaneer, a pirate or an adventurer, you’ll have to purchase a trade licence in each of the towns with whom you want to trade. If you are a merchant, you won’t need to purchase a trade licence at all.
You’ll also need to receive fame points to access different buildings, hire captains and unlock a few other things. You’ll receive fame points in the Campaign Mode by completing tasks sent by your viceroy, or by delivering specific goods to a town within a time limit. A gold star will be on the town name for a short period, and you can decide whether or not to accept the challenge.
Other things might occur during your travels at sea. You might find a bottle or rescue a castaway from drifting on the ocean for days on end. Most of these bottles have a piece of a treasure map inside, and you can find other pieces of the map by purchasing them from people who live in shacks on the outskirts of some towns. But you have to be quick; you need to find 9 pieces to reveal where the treasure is buried.
The other important aspect in the game is how to grow your company in each town. As you start a game, you’ll be able to build houses and a few businesses in one town. As you progress and gain fame, you’ll have the possibility to build businesses and other buildings in other locations. Again, you’ll have to purchase a building licence to do so. By creating more businesses and having more people to work for you, you’ll be able to ask your viceroy to become a town administrator and further grow your wealth.
The combat phase is really fun and provides some balance to the micromanagement simulation, which is the core aspect of the game. But before going into sea battle, you’ll not only need to have a captain in one of your convoys but you’ll also need a proper battleship with cannons and crews at your disposal. And that, my friends, will cost you some serious gold coin. But when you are there, it’s fun! Try to have at least two or three battleships in your convoy before you engage in piracy.
Essentially, the combat phases are what you would expect from this genre of game. A hex grid will appear, and you’ll have a certain number of movement points per ship to move around the grid. The trick is to make sure that you fire your cannons on both sides of the bow on each turn. You’ll also have skills you can use during battle, depending on your captain’s experience.
The graphics are absolutely fabulous! When you zoom in on your convoys while sailing, you can see the beautiful sea life, coastlines, and even castaways. Same thing when you zoom out and see a large portion of the Caribbean. Also, the time will go faster when you zoom out, and it will stop when you are in the town buying or selling goods as well as adding new buildings and businesses.
As I mentioned above, Port Royale 4 is more or less a micro-management game, and you really need to be on top of everything to succeed, even with the automatic trade routes available to you. The good news is that the game is well documented and relatively easy to follow.
Review written by THE CPT FROGGY for Zeepond.com!
Positives+ Fabulous graphics
+ Campaign and free game modes
+ Four types of characters to play (Merchant, Adventurer, Pirate and Buccaneer)
+ Well documented and valuable tutorials
+ Comprehensive trade management system
+ Fun turn-based combat
+ Good replayability
Negatives- It’s a bit slow and takes time to get anywhere
Port Royale 4 is beautifully done with a sound management system and splendid graphics. Are you ready to become the wealthiest man/woman of the Caribbean either by trade or by piracy?
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Zeepond Rating: 8/10
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