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Xbox 360 Game Review

Port Royale 3
Pirates & Merchants


Format: Xbox 360
Kalypso Media
RRP: £39.99
4 260089 413962
Age Restrictions: 12+
Available 05 September 2012

In Port Royale 3, players embark upon an epic adventure through the Caribbean during the turbulent 17th century where the naval powers of Spain, England, France and the Netherlands all fight for supremacy in the colonies. Take on the role of a young captain trying to build his fortune and reputation in the new world colonies. The campaign consists of two different paths for the young protagonist to follow: adventurer and trader. Following the path of the adventurer will lead you on a naval conquest where you must gain notoriety through raids, piracy, bounty hunting, plundering and conquering cities as you strive to build your new Caribbean empire...

Review imageI remember enjoying the original Port Royale game when it was released for the PC back in 2003. I have to admit that I haven't played that game in a while and since then games like Sid Meier's Pirates (2004) have also been released.

You get the option of playing as a swashbuckling adventurer (who can take your crew to the high seas in search of battle) or a trader (sailing from port to port buying and selling goods). I think it's fair to say that most will head down the adventurer career path, but the trader angle is still quite interesting.

The tutorial was a little clunky and there was no option to pause or repeat the current segment you are on. Therefore, miss what you are told to do and you're in trouble. Thankfully the game does come with some helpful instructions to get you up and running.

I think, if you're coming to this series for the first time, you should start two different games - one for adventurer and one for trader. This way you'll know pretty quickly which is your thing. But for your first choice I would opt for adventurer - it's a lot more fun and you'll feel like you're doing something exciting rather than delivering cargo all over the Caribbean.

Review imageStarting as an adventurer the idea is to take your ships into battle (you can do this manually or let the computer take control - though be warned it is useful to be able to fight manually when it comes to elements like boarding enemy ships). Depending on how many convoys you have and which one you are commanding will mean that you may not even need to get involved. If ships take one of your other convoys you can move to that convey and take charge if you so wish. Here you can control elements like the guns and cannons on the main ship - giving commands to the other ships in this convoy. Element, like how many crew you have, also help turn the tide of war. For example, the more crew you have onboard, the quicker the cannons can be reloaded - plus you'll need sailors if you want to board other ships.

Once you get the hang of it, elements like trade will become second nature - and actually having a trade route that brings in riches at every port is one of the most important aspects if you want to progress through the ranks. You can take control of cities when you own a substantial amount of business in the city and have the wealth to take over. Or, in adventurer mode, you can overpower the population and take the land by force.

Review imageI was surprised to see that the game works almost as well on a console as it does on the PC (obviously it's not going to be quite as user friendly, but what we are given works pretty well). I was a little disappointed to see some poor cut sequences which involved animated paintings. It makes the game feel half finished, which was a bit of a shame. I'm sure the developers will claim they were going for that olde worlde feel.

If you're new to the genre then you might like to rent this first - it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But, if you've bought previous games in the series you'll want to add this to your collection.


Nick Smithson

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