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East India Company PC Review - -

Gameplay 7.5
Graphics 8.0
Sound 7.0
Value 7.4
Distributor: AEI
Review Date:
November 2009
James Wright
Classification: PG


East India Company

I must commend developers for continuing to make classic strategy games and East India Company by Paradox Interactive is no exception to the rule. Combining the genres of war and economics, East India Company is the perfect game to get lost in, especially during the holidays as players attempt to monopolise the 17th century trade route as they battle their enemies in order to ensure that their items are the preferred purchases.

In East India Company, players take the role of Governor Director, a powerful merchant of one of these powerful companies. Before embarking on your mission, you need to choose which nationality you hark from which include the British, Dutch, French, Danish, Portuguese, Swedish, Italian and the Spanish. Your goal is simple, bring back what the European require and of course, make a healthy profit along the way. Sounds good huh?

The game features a strong campaign mode that basically starts the player as a sole trader which has them travelling between Africa and India in order to buy and sell items such as tea or precious ivory. As your bank balance begins to rise, you then have the option of purchasing additional ships and upgrades in order to fully maximise your resources. Unfortunately things are not as easy as they seem and your rivals have painted a nice red target on your back.

East India Company features a strong micro management system that would make some economics blush and you really need to research your trade routes and what would ultimately make a profit. If things become too difficult for the player to micromanage, the game can assist such as automation options and of course, the ability to hire better trained seaman but it is fun to control your seafaring vessels.

Thankfully the menu system is quite in-depth and there are some great shortcuts to display various prices both locally and abroad which does make things easier to manage. Of course, you need to keep a good eye on your fleet, especially as you visit a variety of different ports because this is where the battles begin but of course, it can also benefit the player. Nothing is more fun, than declaring war on your opponents and securing ports for your nationality.

But then you've made some enemies hey? The battles are relatively quite fun in East India Company as you attempt to move your ships with or against the wind to either attack, flee and defend from pirates. This aspect of the game does take a little getting use, especially if you are a purist strategy fan but the real-time definitely makes things more exciting as you blow these scurvies from the sea. The game also supports a plethora of ships and upgrades to ensure your dominance on the seas. Of course, there are a few issues with this game.

For me, the only downside to the East India Company was its lack of initiative as it felt like a game from 3 to 5 years ago and even as you start building up your merchant company, the lack of the inspiration is a little disappointing. With that said, the random battles can also be a pain in the rear, especially as your attempting to move precious cargo and if you're dumping cargo in the sea to make your ship go faster, you'll definitely start cursing.

The presentation of the game has been well designed from easy to navigate menus to some great in-game graphics. The details are rather impressive and if you have a big screen, you can definitely feel like you are more powerful than you really are. The developers have created some interesting water and weather effects that is matched with a humbling soundtrack and decent background sounds for added ambience.

At the end of the day, East India Company is a competent game, however it fails to deliver any real advances in this genre which is a shame as the interface could definitely be expanded. However if you're after a sturdy interface and a realistic trading game, than East India Company is definitely your cup of tea.

Competent definitely sums this game up quite well!


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