We all love good game trailers, full of flashy jump-cuts, tightly choreographed action, and dramatic voice-overs designed to crack even the most hardened cynicism. They don’t often teach you much about how the game plays however, and when you’re in the mood for a genre that doesn’t translate well into a tense 90-second commercial — a naval trading and piracy simulator, for example — sometimes learning how to play is the key to deciding whether or not you want to.
I’ve been known to search out an official online manual for a game I’m on the fence about, but that won’t be necessary with Port Royale 3: Pirates and Merchants. The publishers at Kalypso Media have decided the game’s mechanics speak for themselves, so they’ve gone ahead and put two videos up to explain everything you’d need to know about identifying potential trade routes, establishing a convoy, and engaging in real-time ship battles for plunder and profit. No bombastic music or theatrical flourishes: these actual tutorial videos from the game will teach you all the basics of how to start building your own Caribbean shipping empire.
The second video gets into even more detail, explaining how to prepare your fleets for combat, the RPG-like stats that govern your captains’ prowess in battle, and the tactical finesse required to cripple your targets.
Speaking as someone who loved the concept of Sid Meier’s Pirates! but found its minigame-based execution a bit too simplistic, Port Royale 3 looks like exactly the mix of savvy trading and naval strategy I’d hope for.
Port Royale 3 launches today, May 4th, for the PC, and is expected to arrive for the 360 and PS3 later in the year.