by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
Tricks of the Trade
Of course, the game is all about supply and demand, and the way you manage your goods and money. Rise of Venice features a deep system which means that none of the goods are ever "cheated". A city will consume the resources it has, will buy what it needs and sell what it has to spare. If you are unable to trade with the only city that needs what you have, then you are going to have to gain access somehow. Bribing the harbourmaster is always a good way of getting into a city quickly, but he will usually require a hefty donation. If the price is too steep, then you might have to revert to dirtier tactics. Blockading a city will starve them of resources if weaker trade ships can’t get through. Doing this for long enough is sure to reduce the harbourmaster’s price.
However, playing dirty will only get you so far, especially when the Church is one of the major powers around. Acting naughty enough will get you excommunicated, making it much harder for you to complete your goals. Other acts like sabotaging warehouses and plundering other people’s wares will all draw unwanted attention from the Pope, so you will have to be careful lest you feel his wrath. Besides, you are not the only one who can act like a less than savoury character. Each game will have three rivals, people who are attempting to do exactly the same things as you are. You will be able to see them growing their own trade empire from the main map, and they will be able to perform all the same actions as you, sometimes to your detriment. These three rivals can be taken over by other human players in either offline or online multiplayer action. A multiplayer can be saved at any point and returned to, so you and your friends will not have to set aside a whole weekend to play a match.
Pirates are another factor preventing you from becoming a master trader. At times your convoys will come under attack, and you can choose to either surrender, automatically resolve the battle, or fight manually. These ship encounters can feature up to five boats on either side. You will be controlling the navigation, choosing your targets and when to fire, deciding which ammunition type to use and employing other tactical maneuvers. You can dump oil over the side of your boat and ignite it, creating a highly dangerous area in the battlefield that will set fire to friend and foe alike. Similarly, you can place explosive barrels in the water which act as mines to any ship which collide with them. The sea is a dangerous place, and sometimes sailors will be thrown overboard. You can pick them up if you like, and whether they were originally an ally or an enemy they will fight for you, simply grateful for the rescue. You even have the option of boarding an enemy ship, and if you can bring it under control you can add it to your own convoy.
Genre Fans Prepare!
With all these systems in place, it will certainly be a challenge to trade your way to the top, not to mention uncovering the truth behind all the political mystery in the process. Rise of Venice promises to be a great game for all aspiring empire builders who were born at the wrong and far duller time in history.