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Sid Meier’s Pirates! is a Real Pirate Game

Jay’s Look at a Pirate Game that Makes Skull and Bones Look Like Child’s Play.

Seven years ago, after the massive success of Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Ubisoft announced that they would make another pirate-based game. Dubbed Skull and Bones, it promised to give fans everything that made Black Flag tremendous and then some. Instead, the game was met with so many delays that it became a joke. Then, when the closed and open beta’s came out seven years after the game was announced, responses were mixed. One bad aspect is that boarding, one of the best parts of Black Flag, is reduced to a cutscene. A cutscene. They failed if Ubisoft hoped to dig up buried treasure with Skull and Bones. Gamers are better off replaying Black Flag; better yet, they should try Sid Meier’s Pirates! 

The Story (Sort of)

Suppose you need to know what Sid Meier’s Pirates! It’s the name of three games. The first was released in 1987 on the Commodore 64 computer; the second was a remake in 1993. The third, final, and best one was released on PC in 2004. It would then be released on Xbox, PSP, MAC, mobile phones, and the Wii over the next six years. And, modestly speaking, it’s one of the greatest pirate games ever. When I was a kid, I’d spent hours upon hours sinking time into this game, and it was worth it all.

Before you start, you get a quick cutscene showing your backstory. As a kid, you had to watch as an unscrupulous noble forced your once-wealthy family into indentured servitude. Now all grown up, you set off for the New World to find them and avenge this wrongdoing. Before that, though, you have to create your character. Right away, the game shows off its versatility. While the PC version doesn’t let you customize your appearance, it lets you pick everything else. Your skills, the difficulty, what decade you want to start, and even what nation you’re from. After that, you’re thrown into the 17th Caribbean and free to run wild. 

So Much Freedom to Be Had

While you can play as a pirate in the traditional sense and attack everything, it’s not recommended. In this game, being a pirate usually means being a “privateer,” AKA someone a country grants legal permission to attack and sink enemy ships. This is essential because one of the other big things to his game besides rescuing your family is gaining fame. You do this by accomplishing things worth renown. Fighting notorious pirates, plundering ports, earning promotions, romancing governor’s daughters, finding lost treasure, and, of course, finding your family. Play your cards right, and by the end of the game, you’ll be a legendary pirate people will speak of for generations. 

The best part of the game, though, is the sheer amount of freedom it allows. You can use any ship you capture, build a crew as big or as small as you want, and generally do whatever you want. You don’t even have to rescue your family if you don’t want to, though it would be a black mark on your eventual legacy. Because as the game progresses, your character will start to age, meaning you’ll have to retire one day. Depending on how much fame you’ve earned and how much wealth you accumulated, that will affect what your life is like post-piracy. You can govern a colony or live as a petty pickpocket for the rest of your days.

An Oldie, but a Goodie

This game was made over twenty years ago, so the graphics are starting to show their age. And you don’t have nearly as much freedom in combat as in a game like Black Flag. That being said, the sheer amount of freedom it gives players is addictive. I’ve spent hours trying to get that perfect play through I want. Compared to Skull and Bones, this is a real pirate game. 

It’s available on Steam or the App Store if you want it. So, if you’re disappointed with Skull and Bones or have already beaten everything in Black Flag, try this game. The seas are yours to rule.

I Give “Sid Meier’s Pirates!” a 5/5

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