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on October 11, 2012
Jim here, with my short & sweet review just in time for the official launch of the boxed edition next week.

Sadly, I missed out on playing the previous versions of Port Royale. Port Royale 3 is my introduction into the series, and from the start until now, my experience has been rather pleasant, indeed.

To me, PR3 is Railroad Tycoon meets Age of Sail, both of which are legendary and beloved gaming series' to me. There's simply a lot I love about this game. I love the acts of trading goods between ports, stocking up my ships with goods at one port, then selling them all at another, and watching my profits rise higher and higher. I love outfitting ships for war, shanghai-ing sailors into servitude, arming them with swords and muskets, and hoping they don't mutiny. I love the aptly-paced real-time combat, outsmarting the AI with my naval combat maneuvers, and slowly and expertly filling their ships with holes and lead until they sink in the drink. Surprisingly, I also find myself enjoying the main campaign's storyline, with the adventure, love, and political intrigue.

Yes, of course, it's not a perfect game. There are more than a few things I find bothersome with PR3, but thankfully none of them are things that break the game for me, or are causing me to dislike and quit playing. The buy/sell slider is one of my most irksome griefs, as it's a nuisance to use. For what it's designed to do, it does work, but it requires much more effort than is warranted, in my opinion.

Another string of errors I've noticed come in the way of mismatched verbal and written dialogues. For example, the character speaking will say `ship', but the on screen text will have it written as `vessel'; spoken `city' is written as `town'; `commodity' is written as `good'. Again, not something that breaks the game, but still a noticeable error, and something a quality editor should have caught and fixed by now.

Looking at the official blog and forum posts, it's clear that a multitude of fixes have already been instituted, with many more in the works. As long as that continues, it works for me. In it's current form, PR3 is absolutely playable, and worthy of the 4 stars I gave it. Its solid economics engine, engaging combat, clear and colorful graphics, and interesting storyline will keep me coming back to play until the finish.
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on October 11, 2012
If you're looking for something different than the long list of shooters for Xbox 360, give Port Royale 3 a shot. It's a mixture of economic sim and ship combat game set in the days of piracy. The merchant and trading stuff is very deep, coming from the guys who did the original port royale games (and Patrician), so it feels very realistic. The sea battles are a fun diversion, it's always fun chasing down pirates. There's an adventurer campaign, in case you don't just want to become a trading powerhouse. In the adventurer campaign, you still have to buy/sell goods, but you also have a storyline that you lead your character through, and the gameplay feels a bit quicker and better paced than just "sail from here to there, sell things, buy things."
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on March 20, 2013
I should not have waited this long to get this game, It has been so much addicting fun. Perhaps it is not for everyone, but if you like games about empire building, trading, and tactics in general, this is a solid game.

The trading aspect of the game is very customizable, albeit it takes some time and practice to master them. I found myself thinking "Why can't I make a certain setting this way?!?!", only to find out that the option was available, I just had to do a bit of digging around in my warehouse. You can set up trading routes, and if you want to get nitty gritty about it, there is an option to plan out the transactions you want your trading fleet to make along the route.

The sea battles are pretty exciting. I liked this aspect of the game very much, although I didn't dig being thrown into the first battle with no idea about controls, etc. Needless to say, I had my butt handed to me a few times before I started winning. Beyond that, combat when boarding ships and attacking settlements is almost completely a numbers game. To beat a heavily guarded settlement, you have to either patrol the port and sink any ships approaching, or you have to attack with wave after wave of your men, until you bring their numbers down. Another thing that is a numbers game is if you automate the sea battles. It is almost guaranteed that whoever has the highest power rating will win the battle.

I found myself playing this game and thinking that there is much room for improvement, but honestly, I find myself thinking that about every game. The most frustrating parts for me were:

- Having to decipher what their little icons mean. They use a lot of icons rather than text, to symbolize things in this game. Holding the left stick down does give a legend, but it is an incomplete one. This is frustrating when dealing with the warehouse, and the side menu of the particular fleet.

- Taking over towns economically is very tedious, but the worst part is that you have no idea how far along on the requirements to do so you are. I found that the easiest way is to build a bunch of houses, businesses, kiss up to the particular faction and the town, and some time in the future I get the choice to take over.

- This game warns you when one of your towns is lacking raw materials (which believe me, is pretty often), but when an enemy is attacking your settlement, there is not a peep about it until it has been ransacked or taken over. Also, you can not send a fleet to reinforce your defenses or anything. You sort of just have to wait the battle out.

That being said, this game is a gem. I eagerly wait and hope for a sequel. This game is not much about story line, although it is as good as you can expect from pretty much every game out there, this game is a multi-layered tactics game that I could not put down for days. Excellent, especially for that price.
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on May 30, 2013
This is a mathematician's dream game. This is mainly due to the calculations you will be doing when buying and selling goods, of which there are many.

I played Kalypso's other recent game Tropico 4 and was pleasantly surprised how accessible yet deep the gameplay was. Port Royale 3 is not as accessible. The training sessions were informative, but the spreadsheets got boring and the battles were also slow. It's somewhat reminiscent of Sid Meier's Pirates remake, but not as fast-paced, which is what I feel drags this game down.

I spent four hours on the game and didn't feel like I accomplished much of anything. I see the potential is there for a great game, but it obviously required a bigger time investment than I was willing to give.
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on December 13, 2012
You start off with a single ship and over the hours and days (real time) you grow more powerful.

There is enough complexity to enjoy the game for extended times without getting furious at playing (until the pirates show up and you aren't prepared)

5 stars for fun because its kept me entertained on many boring nights. 4 stars overall simply because its a very small play world and the details vary very litte within each city. I find myself playing it a bit less, or restarting games just to keep it interesting, but still very good overall.
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on December 17, 2012
This game initially seemed overly complex and had a slightly difficult learning curve at first, but then again, it's been awhile since I've played a real time strategy game. Like a lot of long strategy games, I could see how a person could lose interest at a point (I've played about 15 hours so far) but for me this is a fun (if not a little bit tedious) game. If you like strategy games I don't think you can go wrong. If you're not patient and have a short attention span or need constant action then this will probably be far from your cup of tea. The developers did a great job making this game and this should surely stand up to any strategy game ever to hit a console. The graphics are average but don't need to be spectacular. The variety in what you can do helps keep things interesting and I expect this to keep me entertained for many hours.
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on April 10, 2016
JUST PLAIN BAD. Clunky controls and mechanics. Poorly designed. Garish graphics. Zero amount of heart, story, or atmosphere. The game might actually have been forgivable in 1985 or earlier. I've played a few "age of sail" games recently and over the years. They have their pros and cons. After several hours of trying to forgive it, I put PR3 right where it belonged-- in the trash!
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on March 8, 2013
I wanted to like this game. I've always enjoyed economic sims. There is just something a bit lacking in this one but it was still fun for a while.

+You can build industries in different towns.
+There is a good variety of trade goods to deal with.
+The main map when sailing from port to port is sprites but it is 3D rendered when in ship combat.The ship combat is kind of cool.

-I wish you could actually get to sword fight the captain like in one old game I recall.
-I never finished either "campaign". I just kind of lost interest. It didn't hold me like other games do.
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on February 24, 2014
As others have said, this really is just a graphical update to Port Royale 2, but the gameplay is actually greatly hindered by trying to put a PC game on a console, which is a shame, because I think it COULD be really amazing and offer so much more to the gameplay (i.e. first person battles, walking around in towns talking to people, exploring new areas in first person with the ease of console controls, etc). The trailer movie seemed to hint at opening new lands to explore, not.

Same towns, same map, same goods, same missions in pretty much the same order, etc. Aside from the graphics, the only real change I noticed was that they've taken away the ability to set up purchasing of individual items by your warehouse, even with a "steward" and several businesses, the only goods my warehouses were able to hold were the items I transferred there from my ship, and it wasn't because the warehouses were selling anything. This bothered me the most since it was my favorite aspect of the previous version of the game (making the money), while my son enjoyed focusing on conquering pirates and completing missions (even this is more difficult on the console, surprisingly).

In short, PC "point and click" games do not just convert to console games. The gameplay ends up being far more cumbersome and tedious to do via a console controller than keyboard and mouse.
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on August 17, 2013
This game is fun if you like mechantile games but be warned if you go broke it is game over. You need to keep enough money to maintain your ship. I made the mistake of investing in real estate too early and ended up busting. Never got the hang of the fight controls though...I heard it gets better with the dlc though.
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