Get Ready to Rise
If you're a Port Royale 3 fan, then we have some good news for you, and if you're a fan of historical strategy and economy management games, then this preview is going to be one of the most exciting previews you read this year. Gaming Minds (makers of Port Royale 3) are back with their newest game: Rise of Venice, and let me tell you folks: it's a going to be a really exciting entry into the genre. That's my impression after checking it out at a recent Kalypso event.
The setting of Rise of Venice puts us in 15th century Italy (if you couldn't tell by the title), which is a rich and interesting world for us history lovers. The Mediterranean is an exciting stage for the story of Rise of Venice to unfold. A 12-hour long story mode puts us in the shoes of a young trader who is attempting to rise to fame, riches, and power. Along the way, there will be plenty of deceit and twists, so don't think it will be smooth sailing. The story is told with beautiful hand-drawn art (again, another similarity with Port Royale 3, which fans will welcome back with open arms).
Port Royale 3 players will right away be comfortable in navigating the world. However, Rise of Venice is a huge step forward from PR3. The entire world map can be navigated with an eagle eye view, or the camera can be zoomed right down into individual towns. All at once, you can micro-manage and macro-manage with the simple zoom in or out. This time there are a slew of more details put into the maps: from birds, to clouds, to crowds. The world never gets bogged down with too much, so you are left to concentrate on the meat of the game: trading.
Rise of Venice will have you managing trade routes and setting up those routes so you are maximizing your profits. The games' goods are crafted, traded, stolen, but never disappear into a void. The economy, A.I., and overall trading system here is so well done, supply and demand is never something that is just spawned and/or lost. Even stolen goods can eventually be found on the black market.
There are a ton of raw materials and goods to be had here. Trade routes can be managed lightly, or extremely specifically, catering to both hardcore and casual gamers. Of course, Rise of Venice is all about power of the families. The Council of Ten (which includes the heads of the most powerful families of Italy) will be the ones who you will have to impress (or in some cases bribe) in order for you to gain new trade routes and additional power. Voting by the council will determine if you'll progress, so winning favor of the members will be of most importance. Let us also not forget the opportunity marry and start your own families (which unlock new abilities).
Ship battles can be automatically fought, or, like Port Royale 3, a mini-game can be played. If you want to take a break from trade management and intrigue, the mini battles are a welcome relief. Again, we were told the game is about 90 percent trading / strategy and 10 percent battles.
What most impressed by about Rise of Venice, however, was that it is a game with such a great overall design, from easy to navigate menus to the possibility to adjust the game to both casual, normal, and core gamers. Rise of Venice seems like a game I will be able to recommend to someone who has never played a trade management title before; they'll pick it up quickly.
As a fan of Port Royale and management games in general, Rise of Venice was a treat to see. It focuses on what a trading strategy and management game should focus, instead of overloading us with too much flashiness. Major attention has been put into the economy and trading system, and for us, core gamers, that's all that matters. Multiplayer will also be available, so expect plenty of hours to be sucked up in Rise of Venice, which is set for a release date in October by Kalypso Media.
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Three things describe Rando: Good beer, good food, and video games. On occasion, Rando flies a zeppelin through time seeking power crystals.
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