Reviewed: May 30, 2006
Released: March 27, 2006
Editors Note: Buccaneer's Bounty contains three previously released pirate-themed titles. Since GCM did not have the opportunity to review those titles when they original shipped we are reviewing them separately here. Simply average the three scores together if you need to calculate a score for the Buccanner's Bounty compilation compilation.
Originally released in September of 2004, Port Royale 2: Cartels, Construction & Conquest is one of three classic pirate games included in the new compilation, Buccaneers Bounty from Cinemaware. This trading simulation game takes you to the Caribbean seas, trading and fighting pirates as you gain wealth.
Much like Patrician III this game has you sailing and trading while building your businesses and communities but Port Royale 2 takes you to the sunny locales from Florida to South America. You also have more of an opportunity to fight at sea, in ports and in duels against pirates or other captains.
Port Royale 2 has some training scenarios for you to get used to the controls and strategies. Learning trading is an important part of the game and you need to master it before you can start to progress to more fun things like pirate hunting and duels. Countries go to war and you have to belong to one country at the start of the game so at any time you can find yourself in a fight against other countries ships as well as pirates.
You have the training scenarios and then four others along with a free play mode. In the four scenarios you have to either start your own town and have it flourish, expand the Dutch colonies, hunt down the infamous Blackbeard or save a town from ruin. You can also play in free play that starts you out with some gold and one ship in a town of your choosing. You need to build your ships and wealth as well as fend off pirates and enemies of your country from time to time.
Each convoy you create has a captain you hire trading to reach the status of a seasoned trader where you can then send that captain out on his own to trade with certain restrictions. You also have towns where you can build your businesses and help the town grow along with your wealth. Trading is the most important part of this game but not the most fun. You also get to fight with other ships and duel when you take over a pirate town.
To fight ship against ship you simply steer your ship and fire cannons to sink or disable an enemy. You can also board the other ship and have your men fight with muskets and swords. Your ships are also used to fight the towers and cannons guarding ports like pirate hideouts, which can be tricky. You also get to fight a duel against the defending pirate of any town you do defeat.
Dueling is another hard combat in Port Royale 2. You use your mouse to score hits where you click on your enemy or left click to defend when he tries to strike you. This was not one of the better parts of the game but it does add another area of fun and can be challenging. The gameplay in Port Royale 2 has many aspects that make the game continually interesting and fun.
The graphics in Port Royale 2 are very good; with the usual map of the seas, ship fighting and town views. The game has some low system requirements and with this it is no problem playing even on lower end systems or even laptops. The games menus and controls are easy to use and pretty standard; itís not hard to figure out how to do the various tasks like trading and ship management. The tutorials are more for you to get used to the menus and how to make a profit at trading.
Whalesí surface while in the sea view as you steer your ships from port to port and in town view you have the hubbub of town life in the 1600ís of the Caribbean Sea. The dueling looks pretty good even if you donít move around very much with the hits on each opponent showing as red splotches and characters like censored swear words at the cut.
The graphics looked nice and there was no glitching or other trouble with any of it. One thing while playing, you have to watch your ships as you travel from port to port to be able to pick up things. During gameplay, things will be on the seas like clues, messages in bottles or even stranded sailors and wreckage from other combat. You have to stop and pick these up for addition parts of the game like treasure hunting or helping sailors stranded at sea.
Ships come to life with the creak and groan of the ship as it rocks gently on the open sea, birds sing as you trade and build the community you have your offices in. Sound in Port Royale 2 is also pretty basic with some good background sea related tunes as well as the noises and sounds of sea life in general. The fighting and cannons have the sounds you would expect with no glitching or trouble with any of it.
Port Royale 2 will take you awhile to get to a point in the game that you can freely roam the seas hunting down pirates and plundering towns at will. Trading takes time to make a good profit and you have all kinds of ports to visit. The more trading you accomplish the more you can buy in terms of ships, equipment and more trade goods. You can send captains out to trade for you after you get them experienced and then concentrate on the next captain or other missions included in the game.
This all adds to the fun and adventure of this trading game that is a great value. You can play the eight scenarios with the four being training and the other four with a definite end to the game. The free play mode will have you expanding your trading business with all kinds of extra missions and adventures like assignments from town governorís or finding treasure. Occasionally you will find notes in bottles, stranded sailors on the high seas or other clues and adventures you can accomplish along with the trading.
Considering you are getting three complete games that are still relatively new for the low price of $20 (or less if you shop around), Buccaneer's Bounty is a fantastic value, even if you only end up playing one of them.
You can strictly follow the ways of a trader and acquire wealth or turn pirate and loot towns, fighting against the legal shipping convoys of the high seas. However you want to gain reputation and wealth is up to you in Port Royale 2: Cartels, Construction & Conquest. Ascaron has created an even better trading simulation in Port Royale 2. With the addition of dueling, easier trading and more ports to trade in this part of Buccaneers Bounty is a very good game.