Patrician 3 is a fairly unique business simulation. You take up the role of a rising merchant during the time of the Hanseatic League. You start off with one ship and use clever trading to build up an empire and rise to the top of the Hanseatic League. It isn’t perfect for everyone though.
Gameplay (3 out of 5)
The gameplay is heavily focused on trading. There is technically a combat aspect, but the piracy and pirate hunting aspects aren’t that interesting or satisfying. It’s also not very prominent in the game. You are buying the game for it’s trading options.
The trading itself is pretty interesting with a true economy working in the background. Towns consume goods based on their size and population distribution. Towns with proper food and consumer goods are able to thrive. Those without suffer. You make your money by exploiting supply and demand to buy cheap goods from productive cities and sell them at another. Sailing and selling are all accomplished through a simple map interface, which makes it really easy to pick up and play. You’ll be able to figure out your own profitable trading routes soon.
One interesting aspect is the fact that some goods just aren’t profitable. They are just there to be realistic parts of the game. You will almost never make money selling timber, but keeping your town supplied keeps the businesses happy and productive. This adds a nice level of realism to the game.
There is also a satisfying aspect with reputation in the League. Keeping your town supplied, employing people, supporting the church, building a school, holding festivals, and completing missions will help you earn more respect and rise in the political circle. You can be elected as mayor of your hometown and be in charge of defending it from ambitious princes in the countryside. You can even become the head Alderman of the Hanseatic League with enough work. It is very fun to realize just how far you’ve come in the game.
There is a problem with all of this though. It’s very complicated and repetitive. You just run the same trade routes and do the same things throughout the game. It gets boring fast. New tasks you can unlock usually lose their interesting side pretty quick, and it will be a long time before you rise in rank to unlock anything new. It can take a player who’s experienced in the genre hours to get simple trading missions. You really have to work to build up your empire and make people like you. It’s hard and a number of people will get tired of it before they really accomplish anything big.
Graphics (3 out of 5)
The graphics are pretty nice. The map looks crisp and pretty. The towns aren’t very detailed, but they look active and well defined. The art style is a nice look that matches the time period well. The ships are a real disappointment. They aren’t very detailed and they look like little brown boats that were drawn quickly. They could have really done a better job with the ships, especially when you consider the fact that you’ll spend most of the game looking at them.
System Requirements (5 out of 5)
The system requirements are quite light. It only needs 32 MB of RAM and a 4MB video card. I honestly do not know if there are many surviving computers that have these low specs. I’ve played this on a few computers. My little notebook that struggled with word documents didn’t have problems with it, so I don’t think that you will have much trouble.
I advise you to buy it from a place like GOG.com though. They offer a direct download that doesn’t have the game’s DRM on it. Its outdated copyright protection causes a lot of problems on new computers and you might not even be able to run the CD if it has a conflict with a program on your system.
Overall (3 out of 5)
Patrician 3 is a fun game if you are really interested in a good business game. It isn’t for everyone. If you haven’t ever tried a game like it before, then you might want to look into buying Port Royale 2. It’s a bit more friendly to beginners and tends to flow a lot faster. If you are really interested in a satisfying and fairly realistic trading game, then you should definitely check it out. It’s well worth the $9.99.