Pirates of the Caribbean
Published by: Jeff McCloy on 2004-05-07
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Not to be confused with the movie (which I did), Pirates of the Caribbean is a RPG that creates an entirely new experience. Although the absence of Johnny Depp may cause some disappointment (or maybe not), choosing a direction that is unique instead of following the movie is generally a better way to go. The game isn't without its problems, however, it has a number of bright spots to help balance the game out.
As a RPG, Pirates of the Caribbean does create a multifaceted gameplay structure that keeps the game interesting for much longer then you might expect. Although is does start slow, it's not long before you're sailing the seas on the latest quest for gold. You'll be hiring crew, seeking out treasure, and collecting gold for services among many other tasks. It's the different aspects of the game that help it shine combined with the depth of details scattered throughout. For instance, there will be ship fighting on the seas with numerous attacking strategies possible, tons of exploration both by ship and land, and many issues to look after like keeping from becoming a victim of mutiny from your crew and protecting or destroying your reputation.
Personal combat is also a large part of this game like in most RPGs, but is poorly implemented. Armed with a pistol and sword, this type of combat is real time and is similar to the combat in action games. Unfortunately, you'll find yourself severely limited in attacking strategies, consisting of using a self aiming pistol, sword attack, block, and dodge. In addition, this is where you increase your stats so avoiding this combat can't be done. When you win a battle however, you can increase your stats in ten different categories that do effect how you respond in different situations, so the points you allocate does help to make these battles tolerable.
Similar to the gameplay, the video follows the same trend with beautiful environments and outstanding visuals when at sea but various problems when walking around in third person view on land. Here you'll notice fighting is sometimes achieved through objects (poor collision detection) and generally uninspiring character movement. There are also frame rate issues throughout that can be distracting but you can get accustomed to them. As for the sound, it could have been better as well but isn't much of a factor. The music is appropriate and other sound effects at least keep don't sound out of place.
Overall, Pirates of the Caribbean is a full experience but can be frustrating as well. The depth of the game should help most overlook its other shortcomings, however, and sail the seas for some time.
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