Port Royale 4 from Kalypso Media is the long-awaited sequel to the classic trading management sim, out now on PS4. Come check out our Port Royale 4 review!
As you can probably tell from its name, Port Royale 4 is the sequel to Port Royale 3, which was released on the PlayStation 3 back in 2013, available on its own with a pair of DLC packs, or you could go all in and get the Port Royale 3 Pirates and Merchants Gold Edition with the main game and both DLC packs ready to go. It’s now 2020, and Kalypso Media has brought us Port Royale 4, a full retail release available on its own for $59.99, or as the Port Royale 4 Extended Edition with, as per the store description, includes four pompous lighthouses and the blueprints for five magnificent parks with a variety of sculptures.
Instead of throwing you into a long tutorial sequence, Port Royale 4 splits all the information it has to teach you a series of lessons that will each take around 5-6 minutes to complete, with one, in particular, taking around 10 minutes or so. I strongly suggest you complete all of the tutorial lessons before you take on the game so that you can be ready to take on what the game will throw at you once you start to play as one of the four main nations. Oh, and as a bonus, once you’ve taken on all of the tutorial lessons, you will be rewarded with an extra ship to select in your hometown.
You will be moving a cursor on the screen with the left analog stick, zooming in and out – or twisting your view around – with the right analog stick. Zoom out in full, and you will see nothing more than islands and larger pieces of land, surrounded by the vast sea. Zoom in, and you’ll get to see the local vegetation and hear the wildlife around you, or find a port with a more developed town. Select your convoy with the cursor, and you’ll be able to sail away as you explore each area, setting up trades that can help you increase your wealth.
Every town will produce up to seven different commodities, and it’s thanks to this that you’ll be able to set up trades to bring each town the commodities they can’t produce on their own while providing you with the things that you need to progress further up the chain. Always be sure to check the production and consumption rates for each item for every town you plan to visit, as well as monitor and review the price for each item and set up the trades that best benefit you and your objectives!
Supply and demand will have a noticeable effect on an item’s price. The stuff that a town produces will usually be in high supply, making it very attractive for you to get in a trade, so that you can being it elsewhere to recoup your investment and then some. Just be sure to purchase a trade license so that you can safely trade the goods on your convoy with the town you visit! You should also make the most of your convoy’s storage so that you can maximize the profit margins for each of your trips, so be sure to invest as many of your funds as possible into purchasing a variety of goods that can provide a good yield.
Don’t forget to visit the shipyard when you dock your convoy. Every trip will have an impact on your ships, so you’ll have to set aside some money to be able to cover any repairs that they might need. You can also purchase new vessels to increase the overall amount of storage at your disposal for every trip that you take, so be sure to check what is available at the shipyard. If you do buy a new vessel, don’t forget to visit the lighthouse so that you can add it to your convoy right away.
If you want to get one of the larger vessels, then you’re going to have to increase your fame so that you can secure enough to meet the purchase requirements for the vessel you want. The sea can be very dangerous because of opposing factions and pirates who, as expected, will be up to no good. Because of this, you might want to add a combat vessel to your convoy so that you can use its cannons to defend your convoy and attack anyone who tries to steal your cargo. You will need to have a Captain in your convoy to be able to add combat vessels to your convoy.
Captains don’t grow in trees, so you’ll need to hire the ones you find so that you can use their abilities and skills to your advantage. A Captain’s abilities and skills will improve as you progress through a campaign. It could, for instance, increase the overall travel speed of your convoy, boost the speed at which repairs take place in shipyards, increase how many sailors can be assigned to each vessel, or increase the odds of landing a critical hit with your attacks.
You will eventually be controlling more than one convoy, and while you can manually command each one of them as needed, this can prove to be tricky. To ease things up, you can decide to set up trade routes to speed up the process. Trade routes will make it possible to assign convoys to automatically travel between towns to trade for commodities that will be sold at another location. With the wind in their side, your convoys can travel faster, lowering the overall tear and wear of ships while maximizing your profit margins due to the volume of trade that takes place. Because of this, you should edit the exact route that your convoy will take so that you can try to
avoid traveling against the wind or entering areas with risk of a storm.
There might come a time when it will make more sense for you to produce certain commodities instead of waiting for it to be produced at one of the towns. Sure, there are extra startup costs tied to this, since you’ll have to build structures, secure raw materials, as well as hire workers for the job, but, in the end, the cost for producing each commodity on your own will be lower than what you’d pay to purchase it during a trade, reducing your per-unit cost while increasing your profit margins. Be sure to check your hometown for any potential cultivation and resource extraction, so that you can plan accordingly. If raw materials are missing from the supply chain, or if you don’t have enough workers set for a job, then the production will hurt, and everything will slow down. Just be sure you don’t produce too much of any commodity since an oversupply will bring the overall per-unit price down, and you’ll lose money!
Due to its nature, Port Royale 4 is not a game that all types of gamers can jump into. If you liked Port Royal 3, then you’re certainly going to like this sequel. If you enjoy resources and trade management sims with a dash of combat, then you’re going to dig Port Royale 4. If you don’t fall into either of those groups, then you’re not going to like what Port Royale 4 has to offer. The game is out on PlayStation 4 with a $59.99 asking price.
This Port Royale 4 review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Kalypso Media.