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Posted on Feb 21, 2012 in Electronic Games

Kalypso Games Preview – From Fighting Pirates to Exploring Outer Space

By Jim H. Moreno

All is serene on the island of Tropico—for now.

Kalypso Media has helped publish some excellent strategy games over the years, including Grand Ages: Rome, Disciples III, Patrician IV, Airline Tycoon 2, and my two personal favorites, Dungeons and Tropico. I recently attended a games press event hosted by Kalypso in the great city of San Francisco, where I got hands on playtime with the upcoming expansion pack Tropico 4—Modern Times, along with two other solid strategy games in the works, Port Royale 3, and Legends of Pegasus. I have returned to give you this preview report!

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Tropico 4—Modern Times
I played the heck out of Tropico 3 and Tropico 4 (Armchair General Ratings of 90% and 92%, respectively), and I’m anxiously awaiting the new expansion, Tropico 4—Modern Times, which aims to bring the little island paradise/empire into the 21st century. Budding and veteran El Presidentes can look forward to the challenge of evolving Tropico’s Cold War–era politics, economy, military, and infrastructure into a modern day first-world country, complete with new and upgraded buildings, modern transportation, biofarms, skyscrapers, the Internet, and even space exploration.

A good part of the charm of Tropico is the tongue-in-cheek humor of a game based in a fictional 1950s Caribbean island setting, with obvious but unspoken nods to real-life Cuba. I’m happy to report that none of the humor has been taken away in Modern Times. All the characters who helped me laugh during the previous Tropico games have returned, including El Presidente’s most trusted advisor, Penultimo, along with my favorite, Miss Pineapple. Like Tropico 4, Modern Times keeps play fun and interesting by not taking itself too seriously, while requiring players to keep their eye on the strategy needed to ensure El Presidente stays in power.

Tropico 4—Modern Times is set to be released March 28th on XBox Live, April 3 on PC.

Tropico 4—Modern Times Features
● 12 new single-player campaign missions that involve protecting Tropico from a sinister new threat.
● 10 new Edicts to use to further your control over the sheeple of Tropico.
● 30 new buildings, many of which replace obsolete models as time progresses.
● Join a New World Order, where El Presidente must contend with global financial markets, terrorists, and space exploration to the International Space Station.

Port Royale 3: Pirates & Merchants
Port Royale 3 is Kalypso’s upcoming naval RTS game which, like the Tropico series, also takes place in the Caribbean, but during the 17th century, when trading ships helped establish many a colony, and pirates helped end just as many.

PR3 comes with two main campaigns: a Trader route, with emphasis on building a strong economy; and an Adventure route, that emphasizes combat and exploration. After completing those campaigns, players may continue to game in Free Play sandbox mode, building their own island into a prosperous nation using what they learned in the main campaigns.

You take on the role of a new sea captain looking to stake your claim in the New World, while having to contend with the mighty world powers of the time: England, France, Spain, and The Netherlands. Obtain missions and Letters of Marque from NPCs for various trade and combat quests, or strike out solo and discover any of over 60 towns—or even establish your own. Whatever your choice, you’ll also have to deal with weather, crew and worker morale, settler safety, and your own reputation, all of which have realistic in-game consequences.

Multiplayer mode finally makes its way into the Port Royale series, allowing for LAN and Internet play for up to four players, leaving it up to you whether you play with allies, or turn it into a battle royale.

Port Royale 3: Pirates & Merchants currently has a Q3 2011 release date.

Port Royale 3 Features
● Adventurer campaign, focusing on a conquest of the seas by defeating pirates, playing bounty hunter, and doing a bit of raiding of your own.
● Trader campaign, where the path to fame, fortune, and glory is achieved through developing profitable trade routes, establishing industries, and keeping everything safe and secure.
● Real world trading system, where the price of goods dynamically fluctuates according to in-game supply and demand.
● 16 different ship types to use to discover 60 settlements and cities.
● Conquest mode, allowing players to acquire and control cities, through economic or military means.

Legends of Pegasus
Legends of Pegasus is still in early development, but what bits were shown look promising. LoP will take Kalypso fans away from the high seas and into (pause for dramatic effect) outer space (space … space … space …)! This fully 3D, 4x strategy game will mix RTS, TBS, and RPG elements into a cohesive and epic space journey.

Legends of Pegasus is going with the "lost fleet" scenario (akin to the Battlestar Galactica story), wherein your fleet must not only fight assorted hostile aliens races to survive, you must also seek out and colonize new planets. The massive single-player campaign will have players engaging in full-scale space battles, customizing their ships for specific combat roles, leveling up captains with new skills, and ships with new flight maneuvers. On the ground, settlements will also be customizable, with researchable Doctrines (tech trees) and various modules to build for specific colonizing functions.

Legends of Pegasus is also promising to have extensive modding tools available when it ships, though this was not shown at the press event. All the tools will be made ready to use with the editor, along with ships, buildings, weapons, textures, and effects. Kalypso is hoping to create a strong modding community for LoP, and I think it likely they won’t be disappointed.

Legends of Pegasus is looking to hit gamer space summer of 2012.

Legends of Pegasus Features
● Game focus on 4x play (eXplore! eXpand! eXploit! eXterminate!)
● Unique melding of roleplaying, real-time, and turn-base strategy game play.
● Three races, twelve playable to factions to choose among.
● Hundreds of technologies to research.
● Epic single player campaign spanning a vast game universe.
● Will be enjoyable and a challenge to both new and veteran 4x gamers.

About the author
Jim H. Moreno dropped his first quarter into a video game back in 1977, and has been avidly gaming ever since. He joined up with Armchair General just before the website went live as a game reviewer, and remains a regular contributor of war, combat, and strategy articles here. When he’s not working on an ACG piece, he’s freelancing MMORPG articles for The WarCry Network and The Instance Podcast, catching some sci fi shows, or just being zen with his cat, Spritzer.

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