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Author Topic: [PC] - Port Royale 2 is awesome!  (Read 4636 times)
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rrmorton
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« on: October 10, 2004, 07:15:01 AM »

A ton of new games are begging for my attention right now but I keep going back to Port Royale 2 which really has its hooks in deep.

Appropriately, I traded for the original Port Royale but for some reason I never gave it a chance. The reviews for the sequel looked good (in the 80% range) and the $29.99 price tag was right so I took the plunge.

So far I've played the first four tutorial scenarios, which might not sound like much but actually was quite a lot of gaming. Probably seven hours or so. Each individual tutorial scenario is extensive, informative, and very fun.

It starts by introducing the mechanics of trading for profit, then moves on to topics like earning a good trade reputation, setting up production facilities in towns, arming a convoy, waging sea battles, etc. The tutorial strikes just the right balance between clearly explaining how things work and butting out so you can get your feet wet and your hands dirty by playing for a while. It does a great job getting you comfortable with the gameplay which is as deep as the Caribbean.  

The interface is unintuitive in places and micromanagement playa hatas need not apply but I'd call this highly recommended so far. I'm looking forward to seeing how the game plays when all these different elements (trading, production, combat, etc) come together in later scenarios or the free play mode.

Anyone else playing this little gem?
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Valael
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2004, 06:00:26 PM »

Being someone who is rather impatient when it comes to learning a game, I have to ask:  How hard is it to learn?  Are the tutorials good enough to figure everything out?


Have you played RTW?  Is it anything similar to that?
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rrmorton
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2004, 05:05:26 AM »

Quote from: "Valael"
Are the tutorials good enough to figure everything out?


Definitely. I haven't needed to crack the manual once (though I use the poster-map quite a bit). Port Royale 2 has top-notch tutorials. They're clear, thorough, and well-paced. Be aware the game has quite a steep learning curve but I found it easy to get started and I've been addicted ever since.

I consider myself generally impatient to learn a game too. PR2 just has that addictive x-factor for me that makes me want to embrace the challenge rather than shelve it for a flashier title. A big part of that is the historical/tropical setting which really appeals to me. Reminds me of Tropico, the Ancient Art of War at Sea, or an isometric Sea Dogs (though it's a far better game than that clunker).

I've played about ten hours so far and I'm midway through the fifth out of eight scenarios. I've just begun capturing military convoys and enemy towns and the challenge has increased ten-fold. By now I've come to realize that it's impossible to tell where the tutorial ends and the meat of the gameplay begins. Many, many layers to uncover.

The only times I've felt lost while playing is when I go hunting for an obscure interface button.

I don't know how to compare it to Rome: Total War because Port Royale 2 has kept me from playing it. I've spent less than an hour with Rome so far and while I'm looking forward to tackling it, right now my strategy game of choice is PR2.
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Haplo
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2004, 11:41:41 PM »

Can you set a resolution in the full game? I don't see a way in the demo.
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IHateMorrowind
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2004, 12:59:05 AM »

The dreaded Forum Effect lives on!  Damn you, sir!  biggrin
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rrmorton
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2004, 05:46:01 AM »

The fixed resolution is mildly irksome but the game looks perfectly good at the default (which I think is 1024x768). Maybe you can mess with it in an .ini file or something.

Glad to hear my recommendation sunk in, IHateMorrowind, but you better be warned... ILikeMorrowind! biggrin

I'm still waiting for a NO-CD crack for Port Royale 2 over at that place that shall not be named. (Or can it be named here in this new CG turf?) The CD check takes at least 30 seconds on my system if not more. Way too long.

It occurred to me that I haven't yet gone into any detail about (or even mentioned) two big parts of the gameplay... the sea combat and the captain duels. Allow me to retify that...

SEA COMBAT:

When a convoy of ships under your command encounters a hostile pirate, the military convoy of an enemy nation, or just an innocent trading ship you want to plunder, the game zooms in to a simple but engaging little combat screen.

You control your ship's direction with the right mouse button and depending on its tack (there's a wind indicator compass at the bottom of the screen) it'll speed up or slow down. You circle the enemy ships trying to get an advantageous angle and unload cannons to port or starboard with a left click. A yellow semi-circle indicator expands outward to indicate when cannons are reloaded on either side of the ship.

You can select between the usual three cannon ammo types: grapeshot for killing enemy crew to prepare for boarding, chain-balls for tearing up their rigging and slowing them down, and heavy cannonballs for structural damage to the ships hulls. You have to stock up on all these ammo types (along with sailors  [free] and cannons [mucho expensivo]) whenever you're in port. Depending on whether you want to sink the ships, loot them, or steal them and add them to your convoy, you'll want to adjust your strategy and approach.

One major simplification they made is that even if your convoy has five fully manned and armed warships under your command, you'll only get to control one ship at a time. Not nearly as cool sounding as if you could have all those ships going at it at together. (Port Royale 3 anyone?)

So let's say your convoy of five ships gets attacked by an enemy convoy also consisting of five ships. You'll start the fight with just one ship to control while all five of the enemy ships will come at you full bore. You can do your best to slow them down as a group or pick on one ship and try to take it out before they inevitably sink or capture you. At that point (or sooner if you wish) you can take control of your next available ship which appears on the periphery of the naval furball. Then you sail in and continue chipping away at the group. That means all your ships are just circling the outside of the fight like a bunch of ninjas in a kung fu movie politely waiting their turn.

The combat is balanced in such a way that even with this strange control scheme, you'll find you can be pretty successful with just one ship vs. a group of ships if you fight and sail smart.

Once you get over that bit of gameplay simplification, you can enjoy the sea combat for what it is; a fun little taste of action and light tactical maneuvering. You'll also assault enemy ports which has you shooting at cannon emplacements or sending your men ashore to fight the enemy militias in the towns. It's insane the amount of options this game has.

DUELING:

Sword duels sometimes happen at the end of sea combat and they're pretty silly. Click on the enemy captain to attack. Right click to defend. Time your clicking well and you'll trigger a Special Attack. That's pretty much it. On the good side, the captains are nicely animated and the backdrops are handsome.

In the end, I'd grade these modes of combat about a B and a C- respectively. What saves them, and what matters most after all, is the fact that they're sitting inside a rich, deep, fantastic strategy game.
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rrmorton
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2004, 02:34:28 AM »

Come on, PC gamers!

I need more Port Royale 2 discussion!

Where are all you Pirates fans when I need you?
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Haplo
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2004, 02:46:00 AM »

Are there only the eight scenarios? How much play time do you think there is in the game?
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Grievous Angel
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2004, 02:49:13 AM »

With Pirates! pre-ordered, I doubt I'd be picking up any new piratey games. Have you played Pirate Hunter, by any chance? And if so, how does it compare? I think it's made by the same company, and it was supposed to be a lot like Port Royale 1 but without the trading aspects.
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Lassr
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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2004, 03:33:48 AM »

ahhh, the forum effect...this game was off my radar until this post so I went and researched it a little more since I had Port Royale and couldn't get into it because of the learning curve. Sounds like that was fixed in this game so I'm off to purchase it. Should keep me entertained until Pirates!
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rrmorton
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2004, 03:41:27 AM »

Quote from: "Haplo"
Are there only the eight scenarios? How much play time do you think there is in the game?


There are 8 scenarios and a Free Play mode. I'd guess the scenarios provide around 20-30 hours of gaming while the Free Play mode lets you chart your own path a la Privateer.

Midway through the fifth scenario, I've played about ten hours and the challenge (and need for good strategy) has just kicked into high gear. I get the feeling the remaining three scenarios are more like mini-campaigns. They have all the features of the Free Play mode but with a little more structure in terms of objectives and probably a tighter focus on one section of the map.

G.A. - Nope, I never tried Pirate Hunter.

Glad to hear it, Lassr. Hope you dig it like I do.
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Darrell999
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2004, 12:33:47 AM »

rrmorton, thanks for giving us your impressions of this game--I am pretty intrigued by it.
My question--in the scenarios (and in the freeform play) what are the goals?  How do you measure your success?  Make x amount of money?  Capture towns x, y, and z?
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rrmorton
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2004, 04:02:51 AM »

Quote from: "Darrell999"
My question--in the scenarios (and in the freeform play) what are the goals? How do you measure your success? Make x amount of money? Capture towns x, y, and z?


Yep, both of those are goals you have to achieve at different points in the tutorials/scenarios. As the game is teaching you how to trade profitably, it will ask you to raise, say, $75,000. You progress in rank based on your net worth (the value of your buildings and convoys plus what's in your coffers) and each time you "level up" like that, you receive additional privileges like controlling a new convoy or buying a deed to build in a town.

Other goals include:

-Establishing a favorable relationship with a town by trading in their best interest. This means buy their goods that are in plentiful supply and bring them goods that are in demand. There's a little pie chart in the title bar for each town that indicates the status of your relationship as it goes from neutral to friendly.

-Hiring a Captain at a local tavern and assigning him to a convoy.
-Attacking a military convoy and seizing their cargo and ships.
-Building 2 cotton plantations and 2 residential areas in a town.

There are more, but that's the gist of it. The early tutorials teach you each aspect of the game individually and the later tutorials grow more complex, requiring you to put those elements together effectively.

As an example of how it builds in complexity, my latest goal is to attack and capture three British towns and claim them for Holland. In order to do this, I need to acquire through purchase or capture about three 5-ship/150 cannon convoys and donate them to the Viceroy of Holland in order to train them for his military, thereby earning his nation a "Strong" military rating. Simultaneously, I have to attack British military convoys to lower their military rating to "Weak." When those two conditions are met, I can attack a town. Complicating matters is a time limit where I have to do all this before the end of the war which is coming in about three months.

The later scenarios incorporate all the options of the Free Play mode, so if you need to earn X-amount of money before progressing, you can do that any number of ways, such as trading, manufacturing, looting & plundering (beware - that will earn you enemies), finding secret treasure, taking on missions for people at taverns, etc, etc. Lots of freedom in getting from Point A to Point B.

Blimey! All this yappin' has made me wanna go play!
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Butterknife
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2004, 03:03:42 PM »

I was underwhelmed by the demo.  Put about five hours into it, and then realized a couple of things:

1)  I still hadn't done any battles.
2)  I wasn't having any fun.

You'll play the "tutorial" for what, eight hours?  And all I did was trade things, make money, trade more things.  From my admittedly limited experience, this game is incredibly slow-paced.

Anyway, just thought there should be a dissenting opinion somewhere.  The game has potential so I'm sure that those who stick with it and have a longer attention span than my own would like it, but I don't think I'll be picking this one up.
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none
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2004, 05:46:37 PM »

strangest thing.  i absolutely loved patrician 2 and when port royale came out, i couldn't wait to play it.  but, even though it felt and played like patrician 2, i just couldn't get into it.  i think i may have burned myself out on these types of games.  but i know, one day in the future, i'll get a hankering for trading and colonizing and such.  thanks for your impressions, mr. morton.
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HankRaptor
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2004, 07:42:49 PM »

I looks really cool... how similar is it to PIRATES!
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rrmorton
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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2004, 06:02:59 AM »

<---- Post #69

"Uh heh heh- Uh heh heh heh"

Port Royale 2 is not everyone's cup of tea, as you can tell from Butterknife's reaction. It's definitely slow-paced, there's no denying that. I recall a similar moment to you, BK, when I realized I'd been playing for hours and still hadn't fought a battle. But unlike you, I wasn't annoyed. Instead, I marveled at how deep a game this was and couldn't wait to get to it. Of course, I was having fun. Sorry you didn't care for it.

As for how it compares to Pirates, that was a classic I regret I missed. Not sure how it passed me by but I'm really looking forward to the upcoming remake to see what all the fuss was about.

But if I had to guess, I'd say Pirates is a lot better. I mean, Sid Meier. Nuff said. In general I think PR2 is dryer and less "gamey" (as in fun not venison). Actually, I think some of the best parts in PR2 might be ripped off of/influenced by Sid's classic.

Port Royale 2 is a good B+ niche game that can be very rewarding if you have the interest and devote the time but it isn't a triple-A title.  (In retrospect, I think my use of the word "awesome" in the thread title was fanboy hyperbole.) But I still have a hard time quitting the game to go to bed every night.
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HankRaptor
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« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2004, 01:34:35 PM »

Pirates! was amazing for its time.

It was a free roaming game of exploration, it was great for its time. You took assignments/ went from port to port fighting pirates.

There was NO NUDITY though, which takes it down a notch.

Pirates was also the first game that allowed you to make jelly donuts in game. That was amazing too.
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