When I go to my favorite management games sites and forums, there are a couple of sagas that are always on everyone's lips: Patrician and Port Royale, both from Gaming Minds and distributed by Kalypso Media. They are those types of games that are always there, and someone always ends up downloading them and playing them again. Many years ago since the departure of the third installment of Port Royale -which dates from 2012-, it is time to enjoy a new adventure on our PCs. Luckily, from Gaming Minds and Kalypso they listen to us, and in September we can play Port Royale 4.
The first thing Port Royale 4 recommends in the player's main menu is to go through the tutorial. In fact, as an incentive, after completing the tutorial you will be given an additional schooner. And it is appreciated, because we are not talking about a quick course, but rather you are immersed in the different options that the game offers.
The problem here is that after 5 minutes the player is already looking for the button to skip the comments of Sammy, the bearded pirate lord who teaches him the ins and outs of the game. Who decided that for each option it was necessary to listen to the entire monologue released by this character? Even more, having the possibility of reading it, where it takes 10 seconds instead of the minute it takes to hear the voice. Perhaps in Gaming Minds they could consider being able to cut the monologue if we have given the button that he wants us to give him, which would greatly speed up this entry to the game.
Once the tutorial is finished we will have the option to play a campaign or a free game. We have only been able to choose the Spanish in this beta, although we understand that the English or the Dutch will appear in later versions of the game -or directly, in the full game that we will have in September-. Whether we start a free game or the campaign, we will have to choose an archetype of governor, be it an adventurer, a merchant, or a pirate, among others. Each with its advantages and disadvantages.
Our mission will basically be to make money. And how? The easiest thing will be to trade. The law of supply and demand. We will see what the different cities produce and what is scarce, in order to buy low and sell high. For this we will have different boats of different types in which we can load material and provisions to sell them later.
The player will be in charge of optimizing each trip of each ship or convoy of ships, since, obviously, there are maintenance and repair costs. Luckily, Port Royale 4 allows us to automate these trips with trade routes. We will be able to choose which cities a convoy will visit, and what will buy or sell in each of those cities, so that a route will be created that our ships will follow periodically. Wind, storms and currents must be taken into account. A trip with the wind against will always take longer than one with a favorable wind, of course. And it is already known that time is money. In this case, lost gold. But with several well-optimized routes of this type, we can be earning gold in a flash.
However, the most abrupt change from previous installments are the naval battles. In an age where piracy was our daily bread, wars between nations were cyclical, and Corsican patents were offered non-stop, our trade routes will be attacked more times than we would like, especially if they are profitable. Or who knows, perhaps we are the ones interested in attacking other captains. In any case, a naval battle will begin that, for the first time in the saga, will be in turns.
We must say that we liked this change, although the chases between ships are lost a little, that although they could be made infinite - and heavy - they had a certain realism. Even so, with these new naval battles the need for tactical sense increases, since both the translation between squares and the rotation within them will waste action points. The captains that we have inside the ships themselves also come into play, since they will have abilities that will be passive or that we will be able to activate throughout the battle. Without a doubt it is an important addition that possibly causes a certain division among the followers of the saga, but with which we are in favor. Still, you can always end battles automatically by simulating the result.
It should be noted that from Gaming Minds it has been tried that the non-veteran player of the saga does not meet an excessively high barrier to entry, and we will find a fairly intuitive HUD with which we will have most options at hand, or even warnings by the game to tell us that a route is not going well financially, for example. These things are appreciated, and it is not usual that this type of games are friendly to the new player -I look at you, Crusader Kings-.
For the rest, we have found some bugs here and there -some quite annoying-, and several crashes. But remember that we are facing a beta, and there are still 4 months left for the game, so it does not seem something particularly remarkable to us. Still, the game is perfectly playable and stable, so we are calm in that regard.
So, in conclusion, we are facing a highly anticipated installment that will probably not disappoint fans. In my hours played, I have really enjoyed it, being also perhaps the Port Royale with the easiest barrier to entry for the new player. I haven't talked about things like economic simulation, or the different relationships between different nations.