Allegiances are thrown out of the window. This time you will be doing it for the money.
East India Company: Privateer is an expansion to the game, East India Company, developed by Nitro Games and Published by Paradox Interactive. This expansion takes the player into the world of the Privateer, without alliances and offering their services to those with enough money to pay. It adds a whole bunch of new content to the game, but lets first have a look at the original game.
East India Company charges the player with building up and managing a trading empire covering routes from Europe to the Far East and between. Choose from British, Danish, Dutch,French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish nations to play as, and then build up to one of the most powerful trading empires in the world.
This game combines two different gameplay experiences. Firstly is the management side of things. This is where you are involved with building a fleet of ships from a wide selection of different types of trade and battle vessels. You will then have to create your routes, capture ports and fight off the opposition. This is all done on a top down map, making the management easier. The user interface is not that straight forward, but can be picked up with a little bit of practice.
The second type of gameplay comes in the form of the naval battles. There are plenty of others that also want to build their trading empires, and they will inevitably be threatened by your progress. This will lead them to try and remove you from the competition. Or maybe you will be the instigator and try to remove your competition. Either way, battle cannot be avoided, and the battles will become more frequent as you continue through the game and build your empire. The naval battles are sadly not the most exciting ship based experience to be had. The ships move very slowly and you may find yourself tapping your fingers whilst waiting for them to fire on the enemy ships.
The multiplayer game takes the form of the naval battles, which is a shame as this is perhaps the games weakest point. Graphically the game looks lovely, with some really nice detail on the various ships. The maps look great and the overall finish is of a high standard. The game audio is equally well done, with some wonderful sound effects during battle and pleasant background music.
Overall, despite its problems, East India Company is an enjoyable game that will provide a good experience to fans of the genre.
East India Company: Privateer takes the game in a different direction. This time you play as a mercenary, hiring out your skills to anyone, with no allegiances to any country or organisation. This time around there is more emphasis on the naval warfare, with no building of an empire and only a small amount of trading.Your sole goal as a Privateer is to make as much money as possible.
Privateer brings a number of improvements to the table, and some new content. As a privateer you are offered missions from various factions, and it is your choice to accept them or not. Accepting a mission may mean escorting ships, attacking ships are something as simple as transporting goods. However, it is important to remember that by accepting a mission, you will inevitably upset another faction, who may be less inclined to deal with you in the future. Also, failing a mission will put prospective employers off aswell.
There are a collection of new skills available for captains, that are designed with the Privateer in mind, such as the handy false colours skill which basically allows you to prevent others from identifying your ship. Also included is the ability to hire specialists, that can bring much needed abilities to your ships, such as cooks and surgeons.
There are two twenty year campaigns that can be worked through, which give you a set time limit in which to earn your fortunes. This works well and adds some much needed tension to the game, which is somewhat lacking in the sandbox mode. A really interesting add on are the fort battles. These are available in certain missions and allow you to take on these stationary targets and their defenders. This opens up a whole new style of gameplay, and a different way of thinking is required.
Privateer doesn’t add a huge amount to the game. There are improvements to the interface and the game looks even better, not that it looked bad to start with. The naval warfare is still rather slow, although the addition of being able to do battle with forts has certainly added some spice. The new skills and specialists are also a welcome addition, and the twenty year privateer campaigns are certainly enjoyable.
People who enjoyed playing the main game should definitely consider picking up this add on, as they will no doubt enjoy the extra content and the shift in tactics. However, Privateer doesn’t bring enough to the table to encourage new players to take up the challenge.
This game was provided for review by GamersGate
East India Company is available here and the expansion, Privateer, is available here.