Seach Independent Gamer Blog

Monday, November 1, 2010

Patrician IV: Conquest by Trade PC Review

Politics, Pirates and Economic. What can possibly go wrong.

Trade, Politics and Piracy. Sounds like something going on in today's society but that is something that is as old as the dirt in your toes. This is what Patrician 4 for the PC is all about. Taking place in the turn of the mid century where ports are open and pirates roam around the earth. Patrician IV puts you in the shoes of a member of Hanseatic League who is in charge of building your town from the ground up. This sounds fine and dandy with a cup of tea but it isn't as easy as you think it is.

Your biggest rival in the game is the UI. The User Interface can be confusing and can take a while to learn and if you don't spend the time getting used to it you will drop the game in a few days. There are tutorials which teach you how to use the UI which I recommend you view them. After getting past the UI there is a story behind Patrician 4 told by cut-scenes and text.

You are a member from the Hanseatic League, a powerful group of merchants operating around the coast of northern Europe in the late Middle Ages. At first you start out as a fledging merchant with only one ship in your name. With that one ship you must go out and buy products for a low price and sell them at a high price making money in the process to build your economy and city. You have to do all of this while dodging pirates which can steal your loot. You do all of this in order to get recognize by the Hanseatic League, rise through the ranks and become a major power. 

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg in Patrician IV. You have to also balance the political system as well as build your city so it can grow bringing more money into the economy. As your economy grows you will be instructed to purchase more ships and more ships means more management work for the player. However you can always set it to automatic trading which lessens the load however you will  still have to supervise the shipments to make sure the ships are doing what they are suppose to be doing. 

As you progress through the game, it practically abandons you with what you are suppose to do once you become mayor of your hometown. This can be a great experience or your worst one as it is a Sim game your hand will not be held at all times. This adds an added level of detail to the game as it's just like real life. Saving can be your best friend as doing things down the line can cause severe consequences. If you are feeling adventurous you can take the ball and run with it or go back to a previous stage and not do whatever it is you did to get you in that mess.

Building the city and managing your economy are not the only things you get to do in Patrician IV. You can also battle pirates which are trying to take over your shipment of goods. The way you battle pirates though is kind of boring as your ship only fires to the nearest pirate ship. It would be fun if you can just click on a pirate ship and shoot but sadly that is not how the game was build. It can get boring after a while.

The game's engine does a good job of handling so many things going on at once.  However you do not need a high end computer to accomplish this. Graphically the game is very detailed but can suffer from graphical hiccups at times. This aren't truly game breaking but they are annoying as any imperfection can catch your attention real quick.
While trying to keep the experience authentic, The developers decided to use simple music which goes in par with the 15th century style. Of course you can always turn off the music and just listen to your music in the background. Sound effects are not the best there are but considering you are playing from a top point of view it kind of plays off well. 

Closing Comments.
If you manage to invest time in Patrician IV expect to spend a lot of hours on it. However the lack online play will make your quest a lonely one. For those of you who enjoy Sim game, Patrician IV is definitely a must. For casual players it may keep you interested for a few days before moving on to a shooter. If anything Tropico 3 is a better game as it has a comedic style but Patrician IV is the more series game.

Gameplay: 7.5/10
Sound: 5/10
Graphics: 7/10
Performance: 8/10
LifeSpan: 9/10
Total Score: 73/100

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