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GAME REVIEW - January 9, 2007

by Devon Varesko

Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales (PC)

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Age of Pirates

Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales is a Pirate game, similar to Sid Meier's Pirates!: Live the Life. In fact, I saw it sitting on the shelf next to that other game. I decided I would give it a chance, despite it looking like the equivalent of a spin-off title and bearing a Playlogic logo - a company I hadn't heard of before.

You play as a character or as a boat, and the game is rendered in 3d. You can actually walk around cities and go to different buildings, fight swordfights up close, or pull out a gun to get a shot off at your enemies. You can board enemy ships, steal ships, steal cargo, and work for a myriad of different factions.

The game has a number of features I still haven't explored, but I still felt a review was due instead of torturing myself by playing this more. I'll explain that in detail.

This game is one of those that you might call a "nice try". Simply put, the game isn't really that fun. The user interface is complicated, and despite the fact that you can walk around cities, they are very small and you cannot interact with much of anything. If you have any luck, you will be able to at least interact with the non-player characters who give you quests or sell you things at their shops.

The user interface for this game is horrible. Sometimes your mouse will work and other times it won't, and the same goes for the keyboard. It's like it depends on the menu. Worse still, is the fact that when you get a mission/quest to go somewhere else, you have no idea where the port is located unless you are good at geography. The map you are given in the game has few islands, but you are given no hints about which island contains which cities. Therefore, you will receive a quest to escort a ship, and have to either do some research or go wandering the isles for quite some time before finding your final port.

Despite many flaws in the interface, the designers at least took some time to put in a quick-buy option to help you buy supplies faster for your ship, instead of having to click over and over. They also had the foresight to offer tooltips for skills and such, to let you know more specifics on the item.

The sound in this game also seems to have problems. I went to 1st-person mode while doing the things captains do on their ships, and found out that whenever I turned my camera certain angles, I was suddenly unable to hear waves crashing anymore, and if I turned just a bit more, I would suddenly hear it as if nothing had happened. This gets so annoying that it is hard to even captain your ship at all in 1st-person, and they may as well not have it. To top that off, you can't even really walk around your ship - except perhaps if you get into a boarding battle.

The graphics in this game are quite excellent, which I think is the number one saving point for it. You get to steer your ship across oceans that actually look a lot like real water. If you look up at the sun in a village you will see it flare.

In fighting with other characters, the animations seem extremely flawed. Attacks in combat don't come naturally and either get interrupted or don't even hit when they look like they should. The ship animations are somewhat better, but not exceptional. Although the ship designs themselves seem quite extraordinary.

It was similar to many games of poorer quality (or less popularity) in the respect that there were no internet servers listed when I checked their in-game server browser (multiple times).

As I already said, "nice try". This game could have been a LOT better - considering all the effort you can tell was put into it, but it seems they just didn't produce this game properly. Do yourself a favor, and stay clear of this title - unless you are a huge pirate enthusiast and don't mind having to jump a very steep learning curve. If you want a title that is easier to play, try Sid Meier's: Pirates!

Well, I feel like I've done my part - you've been warned.

Related Links:

Playlogic: Age of Pirates

Screenshot(s):