Pirates! is a go anywhere, do anything game set where you have the entire Caribbean to play around in. Youll ransack towns, dig up buried treasure, battle enemy ships out at sea, and much more in this amazingly addictive pirate simulator. There is so much to do and so many ways to do it, and the game is so incredibly well paced, that Pirates! is one of the most addictive games to come out in quite a while and is highly recommended.
Story and Setting
In Sid Meiers Pirates!, you play a pirate who is out for revenge against an evil nobleman that wronged your family. The main objectives of the game are to rescue your family members and ultimately confront the evil man that forced you into this life of thievery and bloodshed, but the best part of Pirates! is that you dont actually have to even attempt to complete these goals. You start the game at the age of 18 and are free to do anything and everything you want for the next twenty years or so. You can be a reckless pirate and attack everyone, you can be a peaceful trader and never kill anyone, you can work for all of the different countries or you can play them against each other. And, if it just so happens that you stumble across a family member, great. If you dont, you can try to save them on your next trip through the game. You make your own storylines and follow your own path as you play through the game, which is absolutely wonderful.
The strange thing about Pirates! is that the individual aspects of the gameplay sailing, swordfighting, ship battles are pretty simple and there isnt anything here that you havent seen before, but it is the combination of all of these things and the freedom the game gives you that keeps you coming back for more. As you are playing youll think to yourself that what you are doing is extremely simple and silly, but you cant help but play Pirates! for hours on end. The reason for this is that the pacing is absolutely incredible. You are constantly accomplishing something such as sinking an enemy ship or earning a promotion (from the French, English, Spanish, and Dutch colonies that dot the Caribbean) so you keep on playing in order to see what you can do next. The game doesnt have any levels or set battles or anything like that where people usually decide to quit playing so you just keep going and going and going and the hours just fly by.
Most of your time in Pirates! will be spent sailing around and fighting enemy ships. The sailing is incredibly easy as you basically just point your ship in the right direction and let nature run its course, but you do have to watch the winds and make adjustments so youll travel at a reasonable speed. When you come across a ship you want to fight, you enter a combat screen where the camera zooms in on the ships and you have to position your ship so you can hit the enemy with your cannons. You try to do enough damage that the enemy will surrender, but if they wont you have to board their ship and have a swordfight with their captain. Swordfighting is pretty simple as you only have a couple of attacks and defensive moves and is based on timing more than anything else. Once you win the fight, you can either keep the enemy ship or sink it and take all of their supplies. Then you can take your newly won booty to the nearest port where you can talk to the governor to earn promotions, visit the tavern to recruit new crew members or get information and mission updates from mysterious strangers, trade with the merchant, and get your ship repaired and upgraded before going out to sea and doing it all over again.
There are some other key gameplay mechanics that come into play every so often as well. When you approach a city whose governing country isnt happy with you, you have to either sneak into town or attack them. Sneaking into town opens up a minigame where you have to elude guards by either hiding or killing them from behind. Attacking the town starts a turn-based-strategy game where you and the enemy position units around the map and attack each other with a handful of different units. If you win the battle youll get to install a leader of your choice in the town, which is always helpful. Another new gameplay type pops up when you are introduced to a governors daughter and are asked to escort her to a dance. In this game, buttons will appear on screen and you have to press them at the right time to dance. Rhythm game veterans will have no problems with this game. Doing well will reward you with bonus items such as new clothes and weapons that help you in hand to hand combat.
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