Absorbing and evocative historical sim
History and strategy buffs are sure to enjoy this complex trading game that throws gamers into the turbulent times of the 16th Century. Following the formula laid down by similar games such as Sid Meier's Pirates! where players take the role of a small-time merchant who must rise up the ranks of society through a mix of canny trading, smooth political manoeuvring or even outright piracy. In this sense, Gloriana will be very familiar to veterans of Machiavelli the Prince or The Patrician, but remains of interest due to its clever blending of genre staples. Although fairly complex in nature, the game's intuitive interface renders it easy to keep track of resources and goals, while the depth of gameplay on display here impresses in its scope and ambition. Gloriana also presents some strong visuals which, although lacking in realism, are brimming with character. The expansive game world is brought colourfully to life with a wide range of gloriously detailed environments that are a joy to explore and fully evoke this unusual period of history. Sound design however is limited to some undeniably evocative music but little else, which is somewhat disappointing. For anyone in the market for an enjoyable strategy experience, Gloriana comes highly recommended, blending as it does involved gameplay with attractive visuals to create a thoroughly absorbing historical sim.