Advantages Nice graphics and sound, lots of quests, large game world...
Disadvantages ... awful controls...
Loosely based on the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, this game puts you in the role of a young sea captain setting out from a little English port, off to make his fortune. This game though was designed not for the movie fan however, it’s very much a game in its own right without much in common with the film. In fact apart from the location and the fact that your character looks a little like Will Turner, there’s really not much similarity to the film at all. What we have here is a full-blown pirate RPG, with a serious attempt made to merge the two genres. (A similar attempt was previously made with Sea Dogs- though the developers claim this was not the original intention but happened over time – which would have worked nicely if that game hadn’t been so buggy.) In many ways this game manages to mesh the two genres, but it doesn’t manage to do so perfectly.The game starts with an optional tutorial mode led by your boatswain, and he pops up at various times throughout the game to offer help. In true RPG (Role Playing Game) style, when you’re in the ports you can wander through the area, talking to the inhabitants, dropping into the local tavern for a quick drink, seeking out quests, trading, visiting the Governor, picking up local gossip, and of course the all-time favourite pastime in RPGs: randomly entering peoples’ houses and taking whatever’s inside. The graphics are very nicely done indeed, whether in town or at sea. There are other places you can explore as well like caves and jungles, with new weirdness to be found there (though some of them seem to simply be there as they are nice to look at!) The ambient sound effects are very nice as well, and there is quite a bit of sampled speech here and there which is good quality. Aesthetically I can’t fault the game and there are certainly a large number of characters with quite varied quests for you to find in a pretty big gaming world. There’s a nice amount of variety in the different settings, and the individual towns and ports look pleasingly different. The people you meet throughout the game are, like most RPGs, pretty much a few stock characters used repeatedly, but the Governors at least look a little different from each other.
Role playing games give your character a set of stats that can be improved as you gain experience and level up, and this game has several stats for you to improve. For example you can have skill in leadership, meaning your men will fight harder and be less likely to give up, or swordplay, and various other things. As you go along you can also acquire specific skills related to certain aspects of the game, such as better control of the ship and less damage during storms. Obviously these things can make certain parts of the game easier, or make various challenges or opponents viable targets instead of things to be avoided as they will instantly kill you earlier on! There are many options for upgrading your equipment, your ship’s abilities, and your crew (recruiting officers with better skills). Several nationalities are to be befriended or contended with, and of course there be pirates in these waters. Argh, me hearties. And all that. It pretty much sounds like the perfect gaming experience for pirate sim and RPG fans, doesn’t it? Sadly, that’s not quite the case.To me the big problem was the interface; I felt that it let the game down badly. (Possibly because I was using the keyboard & mouse – although that’s what I generally use in RPGs with no problem - or possibly because I didn’t have enough patience with it; at the end of the day I just didn’t think the interface was up to the job.) Even after customising it I didn’t’ feel comfortable with it. It works much better in RPG mode – despite a couple of niggles even there – than it does in pirate mode. The sword-fighting seems unnecessarily irksome, and the naval battles that are mooted as “intense and exciting” on the packaging initially appear impossible, unwieldy, or just plain boring (you could go and make a cup of tea waiting to get in range on the worst occasions!) It does improve a bit if you manage to upgrade your ship, but even then it seems quite cumbersome. The screen where you sail between destinations on the other hand is unsatisfactory for the opposite reason – it’s too easy. I mean, simplifying true ship movement a little is probably necessary in a computer game, but in this your ship drives more like a dodgem. You can’t just put a sailing ship into reverse! All in all this rather ruins the authenticity and playability of what otherwise looked liked like would be a fine game.
I’m afraid that because of the interface problems I gave up on it completely in the end, which is a shame is it does have several good features. If you either have more patience than me or perhaps have a multi-buttoned joypad that you’re comfortable using, it might well be worth 4 stars – perhaps even 5. To me, you’re still far, far better off with Sid Meiers’ “Pirates!” than with this – though this is the best effort yet to knock that game off its perch of King of the Pirate Sims!
OS: Windows Me, 2000, XP, x64
CPU: Pentium III 800Mhz
HDD space: 2.9Gb (comes on 2 CD-ROMs)
Graphics card: 32Mb
OS: Windows XP Home Edition SP2
CPU: Pentium 4 2.4GHz
Graphics card: 256Mb GeForce 5500 FX
The RRP for this game is £9.99, but you can get it new for a couple of quid less at Amazon.co.uk. My memory’s a little shaky on this but my copy was either £5.99 or £6.99 (most likely the latter) at Morrisons. If you like pirate games and RPGs, and have a good controller (or masses of patience!), this could well be for you. If you like purely RPG or pirate games exclusively, I’m not sure this is going to be for you.
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment
Pirates of the Caribbean is a thrilling blend of role-playing and action that takes place in the Caribbean islands during the golden age of piracy...
amazon marketplace videogames
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days