Who carries out the most accurate economic simulation

Patrician 4 in the test: The economic simulation for selected people

Patrician 4 at a glance

Anyone who knows the predecessors will quickly find their way around "Patrician 4", because nothing has changed in the basic principles. At the beginning, therefore, both in the thin single-player campaign and in the free game, which is largely identical in terms of content, the key is to sell cleverly and sell cleverly.

This still requires a little research, after all, the many cities in the Hanseatic League and beyond offer a wide variety of goods at very different prices. For example, while skins are relatively cheap in far-off Novgorod, as in their 2D predecessors, grain or beer is best bought in the western Baltic region. The buzz of buying and selling is made easier by some constants. For example, salt from Lübeck in Aarlborg, Denmark, always sells well, as it is used to cure the locally produced meat. It is even more practicable that this meat can again be sold excellently in Lübeck - a first resource route from the rock-solid cycle of goods from "Patrician 4" is quickly discovered.

If the search for these connections is too lengthy for you in the long run, you can now simply fall back on an automatic system (here you will also find one of the few innovations). With this, only a few cities have to be named to the captain of the respective ship - the purchase and sale is then carried out surprisingly reliably by the artificial intelligence.

What some might call a cheap shortening of the requirements can also be understood as a meaningful handover of a moderately exciting task in the long term and fits into the concept of the developer, which should be noted that the beginner-friendliness is one of the important aspects in Patrician 4. Since real pepper sacks should always give preference to the first of the two interpretations, the function can of course also be dispensed with, so that the contents of the trade routes can still be completely determined by yourself.

The actual aim of the game, the ascent from shopkeeper to nobleman, is largely far away from the sea. Even if the latter represent the essential ways to act, you will only be really successful if you produce the raw materials to be traded yourself in the ideal environment in each case. In order to make real cash with skins from Novgorod, you ideally need your own production facility on site, which delivers the coveted goods at low cost to the local office, from where they can be shipped all over the world. Here, too, it is pleasant: An administrator in the office ensures that the raw materials required for the respective production are automatically purchased. If necessary, it can also be sold automatically, which means that you can comfortably get rid of excesses.

Once the first wealth is secured in this or a similar way, bigger tasks quickly await. The real big money is made in the Mediterranean region, where you can, provided you have the necessary change and reputation, send expeditions that ensure that business flourishes even more with excellent and exotic raw materials. Just as profitable, but also rather monotonous due to a strong simplification of the combat system, is existence as a pirate. Monotonous because there are two equally bad ways to fight sea battles: The automatic one often leads to implausible results, in which a fleet that is actually clearly inferior triumphs; the manual puts the player's patience to the test without giving him too many opportunities to intervene. Of course, this also applies in the event that the player falls victim to an AI pirate.

Those who have succeeded in expanding overseas are even more involved in the bustling local politics, building their reputation, which ultimately means that all activities stand and fall, and may even be elected mayor. As such, you have some urban construction options and can pursue both the interests of your own city and your own goals more effectively.

In terms of graphics, the title is mostly at the lower end of what can be called “contemporary” today. Although the new weather effects provide for small bursts of euphoria at the beginning, both the cities and (and above all) the surroundings shine due to the lack of detail. And the retro-style overview map, in which most players are likely to spend the majority of the time, would be an excellent revision. Of course, this also means that you don't need a high-end PC to play "Patrician 4" - on our practical test system, the title ran through the bank with maximum settings at over 50 frames per second.

What is actually “out of date”, however, is that there is no multiplayer mode at all - a fact that, given the small size of the team at the developers of Gaming Minds, can be understood but due to its importance for a business simulation title it is difficult to ignore.

On the next page: Conclusion

  • Sasan AbdiEmailTwitter
    ... is primarily the author of video game reviews at ComputerBase.