Solid and morally dubious exploration experience
7 Cities of Gold is an undeniably fascinating excursion into a historical world of exploration and adventure, taking players back to a time when the world was a much smaller place but where going off the map took on a whole new meaning. It's a strategy game which thrusts you into the role of a bold explorer, venturing forth into the New World for the glory of Spain, where you must negotiate with the natives, or enter into battle with them, while keeping your fleet outfitted with men who can help you uncover the incredible wealth just waiting out there in this virgin territory. The concept is compelling, but some may find it slightly distasteful, as it does present the player with opportunities to behave in the violent and invasive manner of the real-world explorers who brought so much chaos to people supposedly less civilised than themselves. In a way, this is one of the game's good points as it does send a strong message on the dangers of colonialism and exploration but which might seem out-of-place in a gaming context. However, if you can get past this moral debate, there is a decent, if unspectacular, game to enjoy here. Exploration is always interesting and there is a genuine sense of discovery and which creates a strong atmosphere but which might seem a touch simplistic to those brought up on more recent adventures. There's a fair amount of depth in the trading elements of the game which adds some interest for strategy veterans and when combined with the solid visuals and epic scope, you have an enjoyable enough experience that provides at least a few hours of compelling gameplay.