Review: Sid Meier's Pirates!
By Sheeky Assassyn
©Erika Dickinson - 2008
Har har my hearty's ...Okay I apologies for the corn so early in the piece but if you've ever played Sid Meier's Pirates you would understand that this game and corny euphuisms go hand in hand. But don't be put off the game by my remark; Sid Meier's Pirates is still an enjoyable game to whittle those hours away playing. Released back in 1987 for the PC and then more recently on the original Xbox. It's now customized version is available to download directly from the 360 dashboard for 1200 points. You start out as a young lad whose family falls into debt, and as a result they're forced into bondage (no not that sort of bondage!) by an evil nobleman. And like most heroes looking for revenge and restoring the family's wealth you are catapulted into political intrigue and adventure. Pitting your skills against other captains in sea battles and duels, some worthy, and some not so worthy jellied kneed opponents. Along the journey you amass your own stockpile of plunder and fortune, wit and charm. While battling your way up the black-list of Pirates, and ultimately becoming the most feared pirate sailing the 17th century Caribbean. More reviw after the jump:
Swishing your sword and swashing the buckle … well you know what I mean. In a nutshell Pirates will keep you busy, you can pursue one of several careers, a pirate, explorer, trader, and so on – independently but usually one career / quest compliments the others.
Pirates the game has also made room for a little romance. Doesn’t all worthy heroes need a lady or two, three or four, swooning over him? Sid Meier’s Pirates certainly puts the tried and tested naval saying a lady in every port to good use. So don’t be shy … woo the Governor’s daughters with suave moves on the dance floor, and shower them with pricey gifts, and instead of sweet nothings whispered in your ears you’ll get helpful hints, and also gifts.
The Governor’s daughters are not the only folk who have information and objects of interest on offer, visit the taverns at each port and talk to the locals. Also available are crew for your ship(s), merchants to trade with, and places to repair the damage done to your ships during battle, and upgrades.
Don’t neglect your sailors, they need to be fed, and the well-earned plunder divided up amongst them – or like rats on a sinking ship they will desert you.
You can easily access your game history, journey, quests, piratepedia, maps etc, and the ability to save regularly throughout the game. By tapping on the right bumper you will get a map overlay, which is transparent and makes navigation a little easier as it displays the world in more detail.
Sadly though the game becomes repetitive not only in its tasks but also while engaging in battles and duals, and interactions with other folk. Pushing aside the feeling of déjà vu I witness my newly engaged opponent – once again – knocked out with a glass bottle by a generic looking lady.
Or when yet another buffoon ummm … captain throws himself overboard rather them meet my wrath. Whatever happened to the naval saying the captain always goes down with his ship? My light hearted chuckles at the games antics are soon history, and sadly I succumb to bored sighs.
Spending the hour with a group of people discussing the mechanics of a paper clip couldn’t be more dull then the scripted conversations in Pirates. You heard it through once you don’t need to hear the same thing said over and over again.
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, the game is cute. Okay, maybe that’s a feminine thing to say, it’s not perfect nor in your face bad, but it does try and that’s what makes it cute … umm alright it’s a light-hearted charming game. That better?
Now to the mechanics, without comparing it unfairly to other games recently released in this genre it holds its own, the 3D graphics is pretty and easy on the eye.
The control system a bit stiff especially during sea battles, regardless of wind direction and where your ship is facing you still need to push up on the left stick to go forward. But you soon adjust to the otherwise simple layout and concentrate on the high sea strategies instead.
With Xbox 360 Live you can view the leaderboards; also available is the ability to go head to head in a four player versus matches. There is also downloadable content like flags / emblems to customorise your ships and so on.
So if you’re after a game that’s undemanding and as a jolly as a near emptied keg of rum then look no further then Sid Meier’s Pirates!