Published on September 18th, 2010 | by prime0
The mantra which has propelled this historical simulation’s development is ‘Conquest by Trade’ and it sums up Patrician IV extremely well. This trading game isn’t about fast boats, bountifully boxomed vixens or armed warfare; it’s much more cerebral than that.
Set in Northern Europe during the late Middles Ages, the campaign places the player in a role of a trader, who needs to buy goods, sell high in neighboring cities, stay wary of any lurking pirates and rise up through the ranks of the famous merchant guild, the Hanseatic League, to gain financial and political fame.
Chances are that at this point we’ve either lost your attention or grabbed you by the honchos, as without any doubt this is a game which will appeal to a very specific niche. The whole gameplay structure is based on managing commodities and their respective fluctuating prices. Most of the time this means figuring out what certain cities need – e.g. meat producers require salt to preserve their stocks – and maintaining the supply of commodities which hold their value. Unlike many other games from this genre, all the prices are grounded in reality, and while prices can change due to natural disasters or outbreaks of disease, certain areas’ wants rarely change and can usually be relied on for a some quick gold. From there players can build ships and establish automatic trade routes to bring in money automatically.
As you become more and more successful, guild ranks are gained which allow dabbling in expeditions in the Mediterranean Sea, the ability to produce the regional goods of the local town and buy new property in neighboring cities – all towards the goal of becoming a Mayor of the local region. Patrician IV’s campaign ramps up very nicely and soon the worries of being a sea trader pale in significance to building city defenses to fight off raiders or managing the workforce effectively by building new houses or facilities in your city.
Thankfully there are plenty of tutorials along the way to help and most of them are in video form, so you’re absolutely in no doubt as what needs to be done and when Piracy is a bit of an issue on the high seas, and protecting stocks from raids becomes a growing problem but the 3D engine does a great job of showing the ensuing fights between your galleons and enemy ships in real-time.
Patrician IV is ready to inspire gold lust in some of us
Micromanagement either floats your boat or sends you spiraling into a deep sleep, and it seems that Patrician IV won’t do anything to change that divide within the PC community. However, those looking for a true-to-history take on the trading genre should definitely be interested in this game. Make sure that you check out our review next month.