Flawed but interesting maritime adventure
This is another of those games which gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect simply by a cursory glance at its title. The follow-up to Merchant Colony this provides players with an exciting strategy yarn that takes them out into the wide blue yonder in search of fame, riches and glory. Players are thrust into the well-worn shoes of a rather unfortunate nobleman who has run into hard times and who must turn to the ocean in order to regain his fortune. Starting out small, you must trade in a variety of goods, deal with unscrupulous bankers and venture forth into pirate-infested waters and who will have no compunction about relieving you of all your hard-won resources. Of course, you get to upgrade your ship with weapons and armour to deal with such problems, while as your reputation grows, new business opportunities will present themselves and ultimately you will regain your rightful position amongst the elite of society. While not staggeringly original, with the concept having been seen in the likes of Exploration, most of what is on display here is pretty well put together. The narrative and opportunities for character development are interesting and provide a well-developed spin on the genre, while the subject matter itself is undeniably attractive and with the trading aspect being extremely well implemented. Visuals too are pretty decent. However, a few niggles stand in the way of it being a classic. For example, combat and sailing are awkward and dull, which given their importance in the game, is a major issue, while there is also a distinct lack of variety in the towns that you get to explore. There is still much to enjoy though, so if you can get past the frustrating battles and all-too-frequent ocean voyages, then this is worth a look.