Port Royale 2 Review (PC)

Click on the picture to enlarge it

The age of exploration had an unexpected result, that had not been foreseen by the early explorers and settlers. The riches of the new world attracted the jealousy of rival nations, and the ambitions of lawless men of plunder, to whom work was a waste of time, and the easy life was all that mattered. The brothers of the coast, as they called themselves, sailed, plundered and fought all through the Caribbean, in an age we now call the age of piracy. Reliving this colorful age through games has been a long tradition, and the tradition continues with Ascaron's sequel, Port Royal II.

This game is as much an economic simulation as it is a game of piracy. Abandoning turn based for real time strategy, this game is more focussed on sea faring Pirates organizations, rather than individual pirates as was the earlier effort. Over 60 ports can be visited, where you will sell plunder, and trade for over a dozen exotic and mundane trade goods. In the game, as in the earlier effort, some ports produce certain goods, and others are administrative centers for their respective governments. The playing area is a little larger, and includes the lower Carolinas.

Click on the picture to enlarge it

As one would expect of a game based on making money, trade routes are everything. Finding out whom desires what is a large part of the game, and as this progress, cities and towns lose the desire for one trade good in favor of another, so the big payoff you expected might just fizzle out. One of the better factors in the game is, you can set up shipping routes, and let the AI produce, load up, and ship trade goods, but they will only go where you send them, so pay attention to this, or you will lose money.

Unlike the earlier effort, this game includes a complete tutorial, organized as a series of easily completed scenarios. Using this method, you will quickly learn the ins and outs of controlling and navigating your ship, how to fight, how to maneuver, and so on. You will also learn how to use the trade engine, and get a general feel for the design, without having to waste hours restarting from scratch, as is often the case in games without tutorials.

Click on the picture to enlarge it

There is a measure of role playing in the game, as you can select to be English, French, Spanish, and Dutch, and this effects how you are viewed in the ports in each of the respective powers. The game includes such change ups as hurricanes, shipboard rodents, sickness, and other bad tidings that can waylay crews, ruin trade routes, change what ports want and require, and a lot of other things that can ruin your day.

The game interface is extremely well done, functional and easy to use. All of the graphics of this game are quite beautiful, from the faithful ship models, to the maps and towns and seas you sail and fight over. The visual aspects really add a lot to this kind of game, and this game delivers, you will really get a nice feel for the game environment. The sound quality is good, and the musical score is quite nice also.

Click on the picture to enlarge it

Overall, this game is a worthy successor to the first Port Royal. Innovative game play, coupled with an interesting and challenging game topic make Port Royal two a winner in my opinion. Even though there is sometimes a reluctance to pick up a sequel, fans of Piracy and the era of great trade in the Americas won't be disappointed with this title.

Game advertisements by <a href="" target="_blank">Game Advertising Online</a> require iframes.