Great gameplay, bad bugs
The freedom you have of making your own choices of who to sail for, which ports to plunder or what sub-plot you'd like to follow keeps you playing this game, and allows a good replay value to try different paths. The names and designs of the ships are fairly accurate with history, though there are a lot of ships in the game with Dutch names whereas there is no Dutch force you can sail for. You can capture and sell enemy ships, take their cargo and sink them, or just sink them.
The game overall is really good, I love(d) playing it. The things that really stand out though, are the inane number of bugs, some fairly large ones they keep promising are fixed with every release of a patch, but don't seem to have changed at all. Always make sure you keep the "Autosave" option turned on, and use several slots for savegames as some bugs can make you lose quest items or other vital subjects.
The dialogue is poor. Your character has predefined opinions, and conversations are often limited because you only get one response to choose from. The quests are good and doable, but the dialogue around the quests can be a big turn-off. Lack of dialogue would have been better in some cases.
Another thing that bugs me a lot personally, is spelling mistakes. I can imagine misspelling a word as "consanguineous", but it would be nice if mistakes as "Tiime", and "see" where it should be "seen" or even "Yes, I did.ççççççÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝççç" (as it literally appears on one of the islands), would have been picked up on. They are very abundant, you'll find several on each page of the manual, and every NPC in the game seems to be instructed to carry at least a few. You might not mind spelling mistakes at all, but to me they show lack of eye or care for detail, and comes over amateurish.
The Bottom Line
The game almost seems to be a mix between Elite Frontier and Corsairs Gold or Pirates Gold. You start off with a small boat, and are offered the chance to sail for England, France, Spain or as a swashbuckling pirate. By either completing quests or doing smart trading you can increase your capital to finance larger ships. Combat at sea or conquer ports to gain rank and ability to sail bigger boats. The quests and NPC interaction are reasonable at best, but the freedom of movement and the fair non-linearity (if you choose for it) keeps you tied in the game.