System Requirements

• OS: Windows® XP, Vista
• CPU: 1.6 GHz Intel® Pentium® processor or equivalent AMD® Athlon™ processor
• RAM: 1 GB (2 GB recommended for Windows® Vista™)
• Video: 128 MB DirectX® 9.0c compatible or better video card with pixelshader 2.0
• Sound: DirectX® 9.0c compatible sound card
• Available Hard Disk Space: Approx. 6 GB
• DirectX®: 9.0c
• Other: 3-button Mouse, Keyboard and Speakers.
• Internet connection for multiplayer.

East India Company: Privateer is an expansion pack that allows you to play as a privateer not sailing under a nation’s flag. Your goal is to make money and you can do so by trading and taking on merchant or privateer missions. Many new interface enhancements have been implemented such as a 2D port menu versus always going into the 3D mode, and automatic ship repairs. Two new multiplayer modes have been added: Breakthrough and Beehive. Unfortunately, I was not able to test out the new multiplayer modes since there are no populated servers to join.

Upgrading your fleet commander remains the same but there are two new skills you can apply to them. “False Colors,” allows the player to get close enough to ambush the victim, and “Critical Hit,” which gives the player a chance to hit an enemy ship’s magazine, causing their ship to explode. Specialists are now available that can give you a better chance of infiltrating enemy ports, raising crew morale, increasing speed, organization, and so forth.

There are three Privateer campaign modes: 1650-1670, 1700-1720 and a sandbox 1630-1720. When you start each campaign you have two fleets with a total of three ships. If you do the 1650 campaign you’ll start off with $50,000 and the 1700 campaign gives you $100,000 gold to start. This isn’t much money to start trading with but you can start taking on merchant or privateer missions. The merchant missions include smuggling or transporting goods. If you get caught smuggling you can be detained for a few months or heavily fined. Make sure you have a smuggler specialist if you wish to pursue those missions. The privateer missions are much more fun in my opinion. The privateer missions involve destroying forts and ships, escorting ships, kidnapping political figures, and my favorite: smuggling spies.

If you successfully complete a task you will be rewarded with gold and favor with that country. Be warned that as you gain favor with some countries you will lose favor with others. If a nation has a friendly status with you, they will construct warships for you. The diplomacy menus will show you the financial statistics and what the other nations think of you. You will not be able to trade with or bribe nations as a privateer.

Graphically this game looks just as good as the original game. The battles are in 3D and I like how the 3D port is now optional. When you win a battle or capture a port there is a little movie clip that you can watch or skip. The water effects look realistic and the moving flags on the map view adds a nice touch.

The sound effects get the job done. I no longer heard any overlapped sound clips as I did in the original game. The background music is catchy, I like it.

I’m also happy to report that I did not experience any video driver not responding errors this time around. The only glitch I ran into was one privateer mission had a line of programming code instead of the mission description.

From an appropriateness perspective this game isn\'t perfect. There are some battle scenes in the video clips when sinking a ship or capturing a port. When ordering a ship to sail to its home port the commander may say something like "Good, I\'ll be glad to go home to my wife". On the other hand when you sail to some foreign ports he\'ll say something like "I know a nice girl there" or "I know lots of girls there". The commander may also mention that he wants to grab a pint when you dock. On a positive note, this game isn\'t historically accurate and you don\'t have to trade opium.

There is a lot of re-playability since there are many random events that will alter your game, not to mention the different levels of difficulty and the free play mode. The ship battle modes added a nice change of pace but they are not my favorite part of the game, so I really don\'t have an interest in playing multiplayer. If you enjoyed the multiplayer or single player campaigns for East India Company then this $9.99 expansion is definitely worth getting.

Game Play: 17/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 6/10
Interface: 4/5
Stability: 4/5
Game Score: 39/50

Appropriateness: 44/50

-3 for sex outside of marriage
-3 for battle violence

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Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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