Outside the Box – Rise of Venice

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Outside the Box – Rise of Venice
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Rise of Venice
Strategy
PC
Publisher: Kalypso Media Distribution
Developer: Gaming Minds Studios
Release Date: September 27th, 2013
When it comes to Strategy and Simulation games, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the biggest fan. I do get into my fair share of titles in the genre though, such as the Civilization games, early Sim City entries, and a few war-based titles on the computer that escape me at this time. But, I’m always willing to give a game in this field a fair chance. With a recent press release, screens, and videos for Gaming Minds Studios’ Rise of Venice, a title being distributed by Kalypso Media, sparking some intrigue, I couldn’t help but give it a shot. With an open mind and anticipation, I grabbed this title from the Steam store and loaded it up.

Sadly, my computer was just under the requirements for the game, so the graphics and gameplay were a little choppy, but far from unplayable. I’ll admit that it made figuring everything out a little more difficult, even the most basic of things like moving my ship from one town to the next. I sat in front of the computer screen at the opening tutorial stage clicking away with the mouse, typing away on the keyboard, all trying to figure out how to even move my boat to the next port to complete the first major task. After clicking on the mini-map in the right hand corner of the screen again, it finally started moving, and I began progressing. Sadly, at this point, a fire had broken out in my home town.

Next I had to buy and trade items, which was simple enough to figure out, though buying a new ship proved to be a hassle since I didn’t have the right rank to do it. The fire is still going, and there are probably many deaths at this point. Once this was done, I had to buy a new ship, which was a huge problem since I didn’t have the rank required to buy said ship, which seemed to go up the more I buy and sell items. Back and forth to neighbouring ports as the fire ravaged the land, and it still never climbed to the rank I needed. Frustrated, I turned the game off, and walked away for the day, as I had already put a good seventy minutes in, and the choppiness was giving me a headache.

The next day I brought the game back up, and the tutorial level had restarted. Things did seem a bit easier and moved on quicker from the knowledge I already possessed, and finally grabbed a boat. From here, the game was smooth sailing, though still rather vague on what it is you were supposed to do to accomplish some of the goals. The lack of a somewhat more descriptive tutorial is definitely a huge downfall, but chances are good that if you play Strategy Sims, or previous games from Gaming Minds Studios, the controls are essentially engrained into your DNA.

Once I managed to figure the game out, I admit I had a good deal of fun, though most of that does focus on things like setting up trading posts and continuing to grow Venice economically. There are some rivalries that erupt, but for the most part they seem to go on in the background, though you do have the option to enlist some help to do things such as steal from your foes. Sometimes you will have to head out on the water and conduct a battle, usually as part of the chapter’s progression. The game can traverse a linear objective path based on the history of Venice to try to keep things rather accurate, making it hard to establish trading grounds with certain areas for various reasons.

While Rise of Venice isn’t really the kind of game I would play on a daily basis, it is rather fun. Once I figured out how to play and better my city, the gameplay flowed a lot quicker. Of course it would have been easie had I simply searched Youtube for any of the “how to play” videos that exist. The frustration of the tutorial’s lack of details definitely had me frustrated, and some situations I couldn’t gain control of in some chapters did push me to not pay attention to everything going on in the world, but the soothing soundtrack did ease my tension at times. Even some of the voice overs had me chuckle at how corny they can be, though overall were done well enough to fit the crisp graphics and environments.

In the long run, I don’t really see Rise of Venice being a game I’ll really go back and play again after I’m done. However, I can definitely see fans of the style exploring this world a few more times to see what else they can do to achieve the best results possible. It is a slower pace that won’t really speak to a good amount of kids these days, but will speak volumes to the dedicated patient gamers who want to feel king in a time of one nation’s prosperous times.

Overall Score: 7/10
Rise of Venice
Rise of Venice
Rise of Venice
Digital review copy of this title provided by Kalypso Media Distribution.