reviews\ Jun 5, 2001 at 8:00 pm

Merchant Prince II - PC - Review

I have always tried to be fair when I review my games, as I know that a game, which I may not like, may be another’s gamers delight. This game unfortunately is not what I expected having played Merchant Prince and loving it. I will however point out the good as well as the bad so that I can give a balanced review.

The game is strategy driven so you know that you will have to overcome some hurdles to win the prize. The prize in this case is 1 million florins. To become the winner you will have to be the first trader to collect the florins and your competition will consist of 3 traders who are just as determined as you to become the first to collect the florins and thus keep their title of Merchant Prince.

The game takes you through 5 scenarios and each one contains its own manner of collecting the florins needed. To collect these florins you will become engaged in the real life game of “you scratch my back and I will scratch yours”. You will have to become a “horse trader” which will call for you to do some calculating and at times under the table money exchanging. Officials have their hands out for a little friendly bribery and a few florins to boot.

Unsavory characters such as bandits and pirates will also hinder the way. One feature, which is enjoyable though, is the fact that you do wield some power of your own. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty then you can always turn to the alternative of a hired gun so to speak. Although they can help you to achieve your goal they can also stop it short if there mission is cut short by becoming exposed thus putting you even further behind your opponents.

Although the game can be monotonous there are some genuine things to enjoy about it as well. Some of the locations you are taken to are interesting and so is the history behind each one. The only problem is that it is almost like reading a small blip on a pop up video minus the video. A little more of animation with upbeat sound accompaniment would have made this part a real winner. Storms brewing ala weather will catch your eye but somehow they at times seem to interfere with the gameplaying instead of enhancing it. As I said in the beginning though, although this game did not live up to my expectations it may be just the game you are looking for. It is a strategy game and that alone can give a lot of good gaming hours. 

Install: Easy
Includes installation of one CD

Gameplay: 7.0
Gameplay unfortunately is almost a chore instead of a score. After a short time you almost feel like each scene is more like deja vu instead of something new and different. It loses the spirit of adventure far too soon.

Graphics: 7.1
The graphics seem sketchy and definition you expect to find in games of this genre are missing. With so many exotic locations to choose from, graphics could have been used to bring out the mystique and beauty of each one but instead tend to blur together.

Sound: 7.0
Although all sound is clear, the problem is that it is just sound. No music to keep the tempo of the game moving and nothing that gets the gamer adrenaline going.

Difficulty: 7.0
The difficulty of this game just does not live up to what you expect a strategy game should do. It just seems to go on and on but you have the feeling that you are getting nowhere.

Concept: 7.0
The concept is pretty basic a give and take venue but it does not take it any level higher than that.

Multiplayer: 7.0
Games generally make the Multiplayer option an option which heightens gameplay but alas this one does not make it any more challenging than single playing. Either mode will afford the same manner of gameplay.

Overall: 7.0
I really wish that I could have given this game higher marks. I loved Merchant Prince and looked forward to Merchant Prince II. I will admit that this may have made a difference in how I looked at it. If you have never played the first then perhaps this game will be more enjoyable. The problem with sequels in this day of technology is that you expect the game to be even more tech friendly than the last and this one has not used the technology to its zenith. Perhaps though the next Merchant will and then we are talking about some great gameplay for all of us!



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