BEST ABOUT IT: The open ended nature, sailing around picking on ships that outclass you, and managing your fleet and supplies.
WORST ABOUT IT: The quicktime event dancing and fencing scenes are downright awful and the mere thought of them is usually enough to prevent me from playing this game.
GAMEPLAY: You start by choosing a country to side with and a small sloop in that chosen country's port. You can get some info and supplies from that port and then you're off to sail around the Caribbian. The ship controls feel fantastic, working with or against the wind, and there is strategy in what type of cannon shot you fire, round to damage a hull, chain to damage the sails, and grape to take out crew. You also need to buy or raid supplies to keep your crew from a mutiny.
CONTROLS: Steering your ship and firing the cannons is very satisfying. However the UI and map screens are clunky and seem like from an age prior to when this game was released. The QTE cut scenes are obnoxious and repetitive but they can mostly be avoided altogether.
STORY: You play as a young pirate who is trying to rescue his family and defeat some marquis villain. This is a sandbox game so you’ll be creating your own story for the most part. There's no way to customise your character other than your name and some stat bonuses (1 perk at the start and others with items), but you can captain any ship you can get your hands on and deck it out with upgrades.
GRAPHICS: The main graphics look Caribbean and still mostly hold up today and are certainly functional, but the cut scenes look dated. You have to use your imagination a bit. The highest screen resolution is 1152 x 864 and no widescreen. It looks ok though, and there are ways to force the resolution if you want.
PERFORMANCE: Ran smoothly for me and I didn't encounter any problems.
SOUND: Excellent. The sounds of the waves, creaking of the wooden ships, and shouts of your crew are some of the first things that come to mind thinking of this game. I’m not a fan of the Simlish spoken dialect though. The music is fitting and sets the cartoony pirate mood well.
REPLAYABILITY: Replay doesn’t get any better than this game. However I haven’t actually finished the story yet, it's just fun to sail around and do your own thing.
SIMILAR TO: I don’t know, the Sims 2 mixed with Grand Theft Auto 1 and Port Royale?
RECOMMENDED PURCHASE PRICE: I don't see this on sale often but $10 is reasonable.
Sid Meier’s Pirates
Firaxis Games 2004 (remake of 1987 original)