Caribbean, is as you've probibly discovered if you've checked out other reviews here or on youtube, Mount and Blade. It is a fun continuation of the franchise, though it does make me question why the devs didn't tag on the Mount and Blade in the title. Ahh well, no biggie.
Now the game play is fun, and I've been enjoying the naval combat and the ability to loot, plunder and either take a captured ship or just sink it. As in all prior "pirate/caribbean" games of old, capturing other ships helps make a nice profit at the dock. How ever, there is no incentive to actually repair the ship if you are going to sell it because the cost of repairs actually will not grant you extra money, so even if you decide to repair the ship for 2000 to get it's price up to say 4000, you don't make any money off of it, just recouped the 2000 that you spent repairing.
In traditional fashion, you can start earning the right to own settlements and cities, which is fun, though I do wish there was some form of tutorial or guide towards owning them. Tried looking up on google, youtube even checked a few forums, and there seems to be no real guide or help to explaiin what the real point of having a settlement other than for additional income through taxes. I really, really, REALLY, wish that I knew how to build up them to help generate more income. Also, I wish that they had at least a button to show you exactlly what cities and settlements are under your control other than having to search through the screen showing all the characters in the world. However, this is just a personal gripe of my own.
The trade system is as usual as most other games. Buy hemp from port a for 150g each, and as you sail around, check other ports to see if you'd make money or not by selling it. Can be profitable if you find a good trade route but the prices always fluctuate to help simulate actual supply/demand, which I do like. This style is common in a few other games of this style, and it is nice to see that they impliment it into this game. One personal gripe of my own is I do wish that they had implimented something to show you how much you have purchased the item for in the first place other than having to remember how much you spent, or jotting it down on a note pad.
The land combat is very enjoyable. I expecially love the beginning of the battle where you can see you'r battle formation lines, and where your troops are in conjenction with whom ever you are attacking, allowing you to adjust your tatics accordingly. Also, they implimented an "always visiable" for your commands while fighting so you're able to quickly glance and hit the right order button when needed. A nice addition vs the other M&B games where you need to remember which number is for which troops, than hit one of the F keys to open a sub menu and than hit the needed F key again to issue the command. Really helps smooth out giving orders. Also, they implimented friendly fire into the comabt system so if you are lining up your shot and one of your soliders decides to run if front of you at the wrong time, well he take the bullet, and when you hit one of your own troops, and kill them, your army looses moral. Nice touch.
One gripe of mine with the land warfare, which I've always had with the other M&B games, is FREAKING TRAFFIC JAMS!!! Gets so annoying when you are charging into battle on your horse, trying to cut down troops along the sides and than suddenly, you get pinned in by your own guys. Don't get me wrong, it adds to the feeling of combat when you get surrounded by a huge crowd of you enemies and you cant move because there are so many and you are left despratlly hacking and slashing trying to create a opening to escape before you or your horse get killed. Though you would think that your soliders would get the hint that their leader is trying to get through, and they just sit there....a minor annoyance.
Last little gripe is that the cities feel a little.....flat/lacking. In the prior M&B, especially Warband, you could go to major cities, walk around, check out shops in the plaza, the taverns felt more alive, and you could actually walk around in the bayrons/kings hold. Here, nnnnoooottt so much. It's just a over view map of the citie(and they all have excatly the same layout). While yes you can go into the tavern, any "important" NPCs that you can interact with that will literally be standing at the bar. A bit of a let down, expecially since in Warband, the "important" NPCs would change out, and be located in differant areas in the tavern, which added that extra layer of depth to the game. I wish I were able to actually walk about the cities and towns and actually see the ocean, sand, palm trees....something.
All in all, this game IS fun, and for the price of $20, not too shabby. Now I know there are modding communities out there, and I've yet to check out any, but I am looking forward to seeing what the Modders are going to come up with. This game is pretty well delivered, but still has a lot of potental to grow into something bigger and better.