Privateer II builds on the concepts used in the original Privateer, but really is a separate new game rather than a typical sequel. It has a new game engine, new universe, new characters, and well you are probably getting the picture. Privateer II is a much darker game than the original Privateer – and it has some neat new concepts. However it also has a number of downsides compared to the original Privateer.
Cargo trading is definitely better developed in Privateer II – and you can even set up standard trade routes to build up money. But then there are a number of oddities – like the fact that while Privateer only had 5 space ships and Privateer II has 30+ space ships; you are left with the feeling that Privateer had a better range of ships. (Privateer’s ships forced you to trade off speed, armor and cargo space – where as Privateer II’s ships just have more and more of everything as you buy more expensive ships).
Also – the flight system is wildly different. Once again – some is good, some is bad. My least favorite change is that with Privateer II you cannot ‘jump-out’ if enemy ships are present. You could do this in the original Privateer and just suffer the hand full of shots they would get in as you tried to jump.
Having said all of that Privateer II is still a good game and it runs well under Virtual PC:
With one notable exception: Privateer II only allows you to control your space ship with the mouse or joystick (no keyboard). Joystick support under Virtual PC is atrocious (for reasons I will discuss another day) which means that you have to fly with your mouse. If you can tolerate this – then everything is good.