Game Info:

Rise of Venice
Developed by: Gaming Minds
Published by: Kalypso Media
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Available on: PC
Genre: Simulation/Strategy
Number of Players:Single/multiplayer
ESRB Rating: Not rated

Thank you Kalypso Media for sending us this game to review!

While Rise of Venice considers itself a strategy game, it's more of a 3D trading simulator. The single-player campaign has a story mode that will show you the ropes and is required to unlock the multiplayer component.  Sadly there is nobody online to play against.  Thankfully the single-player campaign offers hours of entertainment and even more so with the various DLC packs available. 

Rise of Venice begins with your grandfather's dying wish of you becoming a respectable merchant instead of taking the mercenary path.  To honor his wishes you embark on your trading career in Venice.  Your father will give you missions and a ship to get you started on your new journey.

If you don't watch the tutorial videos, the game's interface will quickly confuse you.  Of course the rules of profitable trading apply: you must buy items at a low cost and sell at a higher price.  Each city has different goods that they specialize in making.  In the beginning of the game the items that you can buy and sell are limited.  As you rise up in rank by getting senate approval, you'll unlock more items to trade and ships to carry them.

Not surprisingly, the number of cities you'll see in the beginning is restricted as well. As you sail past them you'll be able to dock  and learn their names. In order to trade in a city, you can buy a license which varies in price depending on your popularity in Venice or Genoa.  Sometimes a city won't offer you a license, but you can bribe a harbor master for one. 



Strong Points: Beautiful graphics; non-linear gameplay; variety in missions and natural disasters
Weak Points: Nobody online to play against; high learning curve
Moral Warnings: You can bribe, frame, and sabotage your way to the top; Christianity portrayed as greedy


While bribing isn't required, it sure helps expand your trading routes and career advancement by "earning" senate votes.  Making enemies is inevitable as your peers will get jealous of your success.  To keep you in your place, they will try to tarnish your name, arrange for warehouse theft and even suspend your trading license in certain cities.  Of course you have the ability to do the same to them by hiring black-market help at the local tavern.

The towns have a lot of options like the ability to borrow or lend out money from the bank, pray at the church or make donations to it, take on missions from the senate, buy and repair ships or build hospitals, schools, and homes for the townspeople to help them prosper.

There are many economical and natural disasters that can negatively impact a town's wellbeing and need for supplies.  When there's a fire or a volcanic eruption, a town will be in urgent need of logs and bricks  to rebuild their buildings.  Famines can also occur, but can be prevented if there is a hospital in the city.   

Each senate member has a way of winning them over - one will be won over as you build warehouses in different towns while another appreciates it when you build hospitals.  They all will think more highly of you when you defeat pirate ships and destroy their hideouts. 

Pirates will inevitably attack your ships.  To increase your chances of winning a battle you'll have to make sure you have enough sailors onboard and arm them with swords and guns.  Having cannon balls and scatter shots onboard will greatly diminish your opponent's ships and crew.  You can let the computer handle the battle for you, or you can manually battle from a third person perspective.  To speed things up, I let the computer handle my battles.  If you lose a battle, you'll lose some cargo and possibly your ships as well.

The background music is pleasant to listen to, but forgettable.  The voice acting is pretty good as all of the family missions are narrated.  While you're playing you may hear random remarks from your opposition like "Serves you right" or encouraging remarks about prospering cities such as "Take a look at Venice!"  You'll also be audibly alerted when a city is in trouble and needs assistance.  

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 91%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

The graphics are stunning in this game.  Some may say it's overkill, but the water and fire effects look amazing.  While this game ran fine on my AMD powered desktop, many Nvidia users have experienced multiple game crashes according to some negative Steam reviews.    

Like many Steam games, there are various achievements that can be earned.  I've earned achievements for sinking ships, lending money, and bribing senate members.    There are also achievements for marrying, losing your wife at sea, and marrying a second time.  Unfortunately, I wasn't on good enough terms with the senate families to be offered a daughter to marry.  

As if not finding a spouse was bad enough, I wasn't able to find any online games to join.  There is a local network option available if you have multiple friends in the same building to play against.  If you do get a game going, there are various winning conditions like acquiring the most wealth, ships, buildings, warehouses or population.  You can also set the match to end after a certain period of time.  

Even though I wasn't able to play online with friends or complete strangers, I had plenty of fun building up my trading empire in the single-player campaign.  The story isn't that deep, but it's still enjoyable.  I like the fact that you can play though the story mode at your pace or disregard it entirely.  

Morally speaking there are some things worth noting.  The Catholic church is represented as greedy and you have to pay them to earn their favor and "blessings."  Towns can get excommunicated if they fall out of grace with the Vatican.  There are mosques that you can visit and read some passages from the Quran.  

If you don't mind paying officials and donating to the Catholic church, Rise of Venice may appeal to those who like trading simulation games. The regular version retails for $25 and the gold version goes for $30.  While I don't recommend paying street price, it's certainly worth considering if it goes on sale.  


About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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About Us:

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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