Review by Lao Nash Epyon

Reviewed: 07/18/05

The PC hit sails onto Xbox!

A remake of a remake of a remake, this game deserves to be redone every generation. Sid Meyer's Pirates! Never strays too far from the formula. Hire a crew, go kick someones ass...take their boat and their money...go get a pat on the back and some upgrades...and feel like a badass the whole time.

Graphics: 9/10

Straight port out of the PC version, which looked good, but should have seen some improvements for the Xbox port. The animations for winning/losing battles vary a bit each time...but not enough to where you feel like they are different.

Sound: 10/10

Hard to mess this up, cannons sound like cannons...swordfights sound like swordfights. The Snozzberries taste like snozzberries. A nice generic "island" tune plays as you sail around.

Gameplay: 10/10

Man oh man...I love the gameplay. Your family gets screwed over by this Spanish military man, you escape and vow revenge. Yawn. Thankfully this game doesn't focus much on it's badly cliche'd story. So you're a pirate now...the captain's a jerk so the crew mutinies...and of course elects you as the new captain. You then choose who to ally yourself with for this particular go around. Has little bearing on anything because you can attack anyone at any time. The different navies: The English, The Dutch, The Spanish, and The French all fall in and out of warlike states with one another...but you can choose to ally yourself with anyone at any given point. I always tended to side with everyone but the Spanish...because they are EVERYWHERE! You can attack the spanish all day long. Anyway, gameplay wise...sail around...find an enemy ship...could be an opposing country...a notorious "top 10" pirate...generic pirates. Engage in a ship battle, choosing strategic movements based on wind direction, ship size and distance between you and the enemy. Pummel them with 3 different kinds of shot...Damage to the ship, damage to the sails which slows them down, or killing off crew which makes the sword fight go much smoother.

The swordfighting is an interesting mechanic. You fight the enemy captain with two basic ways of winning or losing. Your recruited crew is fighting his while you are dueling him. If either of you runs out of men, the one without the crew loses. Or you can knock him off of the boat by landing blows which force him to retreat.
Then you choose to sink his ship or keep it, and sort the plunder accordingly...do you have enough room on your ship to hold all the cargo? Or do you need to keep his ship to keep the loot?

You can attack enemy towns using a simple strategy type minigame involving land battles. If you win these, you can install a governor from the country of your choice..and of course relieve the town of its money.

You get different quests...to reunite you with your family, to defeat other notorious pirates, to find the other pirates buried treasure...things like that. All very exciting.

Overall: 8/10.

The bulk of the gameplay is fun (dancing minigame? ugh!) A few things keep this from being a perfect ten, but this is a vast improvement over alot of the drivel that console releases have been lately.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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