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Port Royale 4 Game Review

Port Royale 4


Format: PS4
Publisher: Kalypso Media Group GmbH
Developer: Gaming Minds Studios
RRP: £49.99
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Age Restrictions: 12+
Release Date: 14 August 2020

Set sail and join the colonial powers of Spain, England, France and the Netherlands in their fight for supremacy of the Caribbean in the 17th century. Take control of a colony as a young and ambitious governor who is eager to learn what it takes to manage and grow your small settlement into a bustling trader city in the latest installment of this popular business simulation series...

Review imagePort Royale 4 is the latest addition to the Port Royale franchise which began life in 2002 with the original Port Royale. The last entry in the series, Port Royale 3, came out eight years ago in 2012.

If, like me, you're a fan of the franchise then this game has been a long time coming. As with all games in a similar vein, there is a really steep learning curve. If you're an experienced business sim player then you might be able to pick up and play this straightaway... but (and this is a big but) you're really best advised to go through the lengthy tutorials first as there is a huge amount of info to take in if you're to get the best out of this.

This isn't something that will come as a surprise, as most sims of this nature require you to learn the mechanics of the game over a short space of time.

Review imageI did find a few bugs (which I'm assuming will be patched shortly after the game is released). The only really problematic one was in the tutorial when I was tasked with setting up a trade route. When I was shown how to switch the the order of the towns my convoy would visit, the game froze and I had to rerun that part of the tutorial.

Other issues include the fact that even the tutorial is not overly intuitive at times. You'll be asked to complete some moves... but working out which buttons to press, or where certain menus are, can be a bit of a headache on occasion. Add to this the fact that the instructions on screen are quite small, and you might have to press your nose against the TV to see what button you need to press.

Review imageWhile the tutorial will take several hours to complete, the real learning comes once you start the game proper. This is one of those games where after a short while you may be tempted to restart and play differently as you gain experience of how some of the mechanics work.

On the shallowest of shallow level, this is a game where you ship your goods around the map trying to make as much money as possible, whilst at the same time building up your naval army to see off any threat to your power base. But it's so much more than that in practice. The game is what you make of it. Put in the hours, carefully weigh up the odds and play tactically and there's many months of fun to be had.


Nick Smithson

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