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PC Review - Patrician II 'Quest For Power'

by Rainier on Jan. 25, 2002 @ 12:19 a.m. PST

Patrician II from Strategy First (Developed by German Ascaron Software) sails the high seas! Claiming to be an innovative game in the RTS genre we decided to check if the ship stays afloat or sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Find out if we needed a life jacket or not.


Patrician II is a real-time trading simulation featuring elements of construction and the historical background of maritime trade in the North European area between London and Novgorod during the 1300's. As a citizen of a medieval town, the aim of the game is to rise from the status of a simple, insignificant trader to that of a big businessman and perhaps even become the head of the Hanseatic League. To achieve this goal, the player must gain recognition and prestige among the people - rich and poor - and try to make profit by means of maritime trade, the production of goods and the completion of missions. The player can raise his standing through city improvement and diplomacy or he fills his treasury through piracy and smuggling.


Patrician 2 is a unique game as it combines several elements from other real time strategy games and makes it work well. Trading, sea battles, construction, resource management and politics are all incorporated into Patrician 2. The action is set in the early days of the Hanseatic League, whats the Hanseatic League you ask? Back in 1241, the towns of Lubeck and Hamburg signed a treaty of mutual protection due the lack of any security, since Germany had a weak government. Eventually, the Hanseatic League was founded during the treaty of Stralsund in 1370 which gave Hansa towns a trade monopoly in Scandanavia. For the next 70 years the Hanseatic League was a powerfull trade organization until they were defeated by the Dutch some 70 years later.

The object of the game is to not only make as much money as possible, but to improve your hometown as well as other Hansa towns until you become a merchant hero, then the ultimate goal is to become to leader of the League "The Alderman".

For the most part Patrician 2 (P2) is a "buy low, sell high" trading game. You start with 1 ship and a few crew, and as the game progresses you can hire more crew, buy more ships and captains. You will eventually have convoys of ships carrying your goods to and from.

Yes there is more to it than that, you are also responsible to helping the towns raise their standard of living. The better your standing with the people, the higher score you receive. Each town has 3 classes of people. Poor, wealthy and rich. Each class needs different things to make it happy. Poor people are happy with the basic food and shelter. Wealthy people like better housing and food and of course the rich are hard to keep happy and like extravagent things.
There are some twists, however. If you dont have a trading office in another town you dont get a real good idea what they need and have no idea what items buy/sell for in that town. The economic part of this game is no afterthought, and you are wise to shop around and make sure the deals you are doing are whats best for you and your towns.

Ship battles, when manually done, are strongly reminiscient of the game PIRATES !, and, like that game, are largely symbolic. This is afterall a economy/trade game primarily so dont expect too much from the battles. They can be tricky, though, and doing the battle automatically is advised. Incidentally, all battles and travelling through rough weather damage the ship, which lessens its effectiveness. (A trip to the shipbuilder is advised.)

The graphics of P2 are crisp, especially since a resolution of 1024x768 is required to play. The cities look gorgeous, and little animated touches are nice. For instance, if you instruct a boat to sail to another town, you'll see the sails billow and the ship leave port.

The sounds are basic and functional, nothing special. The narrator gets a bit anoying sometimes, but that can be adjusted in the options.

The major problem of the game is that once you gain power, and have tons of ships and convoys under your command, there is no real level of automation, and the game becomes very tedious. You can have automatic trade routes, but that doesn't account for fluctuating prices and shortages in other towns. There are, gratefully, enough overview screens to help you sort through the data. It still can be a handful, though. All in all, what you have is a very deep game that takes many games to fully appreciate. Patrician II is a good economy/trade sim game. If that is your cup of tea then this game will not dissapoint you.

Minimum System Requirements: Win98/ME/2K, P II 233MHz, 32 MB RAM
Tested on : WinMe, Pentium III 1Gigh, 512Mb Ram, Geforce2 Pro

Official Features :

  • The principle of a classic trading simulation in a completely new real-time design
  • Immense detail-richness by taking the historical background of late medieval northern Europe as well as historical events into account
  • A genre-mix including trade, economics, sea battles and diplomacy
  • Two separate game environments, dividing city activity and maritime trade, which results in optimum user-friendliness and ideal graphics for each environment
  • A realistic simulation of a complex world that comprises production, transport, trade and consumption
  • A number of various game modes and objectives, ranging from small single missions to 'life-long' campaigns. Additionally, game objectives and difficulty levels can be adjusted in various ways
  • Very detailed and historically adapted graphics (buildings, ships, city walls, citizens, etc.)
  • Multiplayer games via network or using a single computer in turn-based mode for up to 8 players

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