Excellent remake of a memorable classic
The addictive gameplay of the original 80's classic remains intact. In my opinion that's the most important thing that needs to be said about this remake. The general premise, the selectable nations, the layout of the cities, the travelling on the map of the Caribbean, the separate ship-to-ship combat, the dueling, capturing, sinking and plundering, the pirate "feeling" ... it's all there. And more.
Unlike with some other remakes, everything that was added to the
original concept really fits in. Such as having to actually dance
with the gouvernor's daughters in order to enamour them, or being
forced to literally sneak into a fortified town bearing the flag
of an opposing nation, the Aztec villages and war canoes, the small,
unfortified settlements, the abbeys, the pirate hideouts, the
unique items, ... nothing feels off, nothing breaks the fun.
My biggest quirk with the original Pirates! was the lack of variety
when it came to ships. And this issue has sure been addressed.
Now, there are TONS of new ship types, though most of them are
essentially variants, such as the Sloop of War or the Royal Galleon.
Still, there's nothing like capturing one of the rare "Ship of the
Line"'s and making the whole Caribbean tremble with fear by
utilizing the 48gun-400crew-but-still-lightning-fast monster for
And it almost feels like they really tremble. Everything feels
"alive". Treasure ships are frequently escorted, forcing
you to deal with two enemies in a single battle. Promotions
have actual effects, such as getting ship repairs for free.
The nations wage war on each other (or declare peace),
regardless what you do, causing cities to switch allegiance
without your interference. If you cause too much trouble to any
nation, they'll put a price on your head. Pirate hunters will
then depart cities to hunt you down once you are sighted attacking
yet another hapless merchant vessel ... and a lot of more things
that can't ALL be mentioned here. ;)
One final note: this game was shipped with a very low amount of
bugs, which cannot be said about every game released these days.
In fact, after sailing the seas for several decades, I have
yet to run into one severe enough for me to even notice it.
Finally a game with good QA once again.
The ability to attack cities from seaside was scrapped, which isn't
too good in my book. Also, in the original game, it felt like the
whole Caribbean was crawling with pirates, maybe some remember how
the copy protection itself required the player to successfully
identify one out of the plentiful selection of pirate captains.
Sadly, this is a thing of the past. Now there's the "Top 10 Pirates",
which includes yourselves, resulting in a mere nine other "named"
pirates travelling the seas - and that's it. And besides the named
ones, it can be pretty quiet out there - but this depends on the
difficulty setting and era, too.
Furthermore, players of the original Pirates! will most likely have
strong memories of trips to the central-american coast, and the
lengthy, unpleasant way back to the Windward Islands. These trips
are still a chore. While this may reflect the actual weather
conditions in this part of the world, it's still a bit unnerving.
Also, if you make such trip to acquire some treasure of a pirate
"colleague" ... the treasure hunts can be somewhat unrewarding.
After paying 600 gold for the map itself and travel a vast distance
to get to the loot, it ain't funny finding a mere 8000 gold and
adding them to your existing 100 grand. And treasures can be even
smaller than that.
The Bottom Line
Don't be fooled by the rather lengthy complaint-paragraph up there.
I was merely nitpicking. :P
This is a great game. It manages to bring the things that made it
fun to play into the new millennium, which is exactly what a remake
should do, but also the thing that most fail to achieve.
Kudos to Sid Meier for creating yet another gaming landmark.