Port Royale 4 | PlayStation 5 Review
Port Royale 4 is a strategy and simulation game developed by Gaming Minds Studios and published by Kalypso Media. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch. For the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
Port Royale 4 is a management and trading simulator, very similar to titles such as Tropico. You take on the role of a character from either England, Spain, France or the Netherlands and your aim is to set up trade routes throughout the Caribbean and upgrade and improve the colonies to help grow the monarchy's empire. You initially start off with one ship that you use to begin your trading across the various ports spread across the map and as you progress you are able to expand your armada and create other fleets. You have the option of micromanaging each of these fleets and the trade routes yourself or you can leave it up to the AI to deal with everything else whilst you deal with whatever you want to focus on.
Port Royale 4 is an exceptionally detailed game where you need to consider exactly the route you're going and you have to take into account things like the wind direction which affects your travel times. If you feel like a journey will take too long you can manually set up a new route that takes you downwind and allows you to simply cruise along and make it to your destination in a faster time. Once you arrive at your next port you have to sell your cargo. The trade system is really well made and very intricate to the point where if you over saturate the market there with whatever item you're selling, the value they pay per item will decrease so you really want to strike the balance between providing plenty of stock but not too much of the same thing to maximise profits. The trading system was quite satisfying to get involved with and with things losing value depending on the quantity, it really meant that you couldn’t just spam certain ports with whatever the highest value item is there and actually means that you have to work a little bit harder to maximise your profits.
While the game really flourishes in the resource management and strategy front, the area where it fell short for me was specifically in combat. The combat is a turn based style mini game that activates and you have to move your ships across tiles and you then move enemies about as well. It really wasn’t the best. Naval combat is never a strong suit of mine so I was almost thankful I wasn’t having to take control of the ships in these areas like in Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, however what we were presented with really felt like it was lacking compared to other aspects of the game.
As you move around the various ports, Port Royale 4 will also provide you with absolutely stunning landscapes to soak in. Everywhere felt very unique and well crafted and I was able to look around with the birds eye view as I sailed along to my heart's content. These incredible views aren’t just stunning on the PlayStation 5 version - the previous gen version also holds up really well so for anyone who hasn’t managed to snag a PlayStation 5 yet, be comforted, plenty of effort is still going into making PlayStation 4 games beautiful.
I’ve never played Tropico but as a kid I played a lot of games like Civilisation, and Port Royale 4 really scratched that itch for something along those lines. It was an incredibly immersive game and was visibly well thought out and some real love certainly went into it. For fans of simulation games, Port Royale 4 should be a really satisfying addition to your collection and should provide you with many hours of micromanaging, organisation and plundering.
Lj’s Rating: 4 galleons out of 5.
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Many thanks to Kalypso Media for the Review Key.