Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
Buy On
  1. The premise is fueled by historical accuracy, so there is a lot of realism to the gameplay, yet this isn't just a game for nerds. It's deep, but the curve is gradual, which will accommodate a wide range of gamers.
  2. PC Gamer
    Even if you're not the seafaring type, Pirates of the Burning Sea offers genuinely enjoyable core gameplay that, despite a steep learning curve and a few rough spots, will capitivate even the driest of landlubbers. [May 2008, p.60]
  3. It’s not trying to be particularly clever, but what it does it does very well and when the political and economic side of things starts to affect how you play you will find yourself in a very immersive world that will surprise you and keep on doing so.
  4. MMO developers that are working on new designs really need to take note of what the people at Flying Labs did with Pirates of the Burning Sea.
  5. PotBS offers different fare from the usual assortment of MMOs in release, and that is a good thing. The game, though, is not one that can be truly appreciated inside a week. It takes time to delve into the nuances of the game mechanics and to explore the depth of what is offered.
  6. The lack of innovation isn't what causes the game to suffer; instead, it's a bunch of minor nagging flaws that prevent it from being perfect. Still, in the end the thrilling ship combat and deep economic model thrusts the game into the upper tier of current MMOs.
  7. 82
    The real time ship combat is awesome in its tactical complexity and the player economy is deeper than we've seen in just about any other game. Unfortunately, the sword combat feels tacked-on and really cramps our swashbuckling groove.
  8. Surprisingly good effort for a pirate-themed MMO. Instead of a reskinned Everquest-derivative, we get some actual gameplay innovations.
  9. Pelit (Finland)
    Pirates of the Burning Sea is basically Sid Meier's Pirates! as a MMORPG. High points of the game are the ship battles and a detailed, working economy, but the swashbuckling episodes and rather mediocre graphics are a bit of a letdown. Still, it's a refreshing change to a stale sword-and-sorcery genre. [May 2008]
  10. With plenty to do and gorgeous visuals, Pirates of the Burning Sea is a quality MMO no one should miss.
  11. 80
    Pirates of the Burning Sea is a very, very deep game. There’s PvP for those who want it; trading, crafting, and a detailed economy for the would-be barons of the sea; and the kind of strategic and dynamic combat that will appeal to gamers who just can’t get into the typically boring MMO function key combat system.
  12. An excellent MMO on nearly all counts, but suffers from a shockingly huge learning curve.
  13. 80
    The steep learning curve for Pirates of the Burning Sea is a shame, because underneath that crusty exterior is a brilliant naval combat game and one of the more interesting economic models ever introduced to the online gaming scene.
  14. AceGamez
    These brave and new interpretations of familiar ideas are what sets Pirates of the Burning Sea apart from a great many other MMOs out at the moment.
  15. Features a depth not often found in MMOs. While its steep learning curve may turn off a few early on, eventually things fall into place. Once you figure things out shaping the world is highly engaging.
  16. It's a great MMORPG, and while it begins as a fairly overwhelming experience, it soon evolves into an almost casual game.
  17. If you can overlook Pirates of the Burning Sea's steep learning curve, you'll be rewarded with some of the most unforgettable moments in any online RPG.
  18. Half brilliance, half blunder, Pirates of the Burning Sea sets players up with a boutique online experience rife with piracy, privateering, national pride, cutthroat commerce, user-generated content, conquerable ports, and a highly-listenable musical score.
  19. PC Format
    It needs a lot more polish, but it's a really enjoyable romp, with some splendid scene-stealing stories. [Apr 2008, p.108]
  20. 80
    The game is at its best when it is most imaginative, and even after the novelty of the outstanding setting fades, you'll find fathoms of depth in the ship combat and trading systems - especially once you find a regular group of sea-dogs to join.
  21. Mar 9, 2011
    Learning to play may take too long, but sea-battles are really exciting and the setting is more than catching.
  22. There's no doubt that Flying Lab have created the best online sea-faring adventure there is for players to get their fix of the Caribbean with such a large, intricate and growing community.
  23. A unique hybrid of plundered gameplay elements. It doesn't manage to actually improve upon its MMORPG parents, but if you've become tired of space lasers or elf wizards, Burning Sea is easily the most interesting new game in town. In the long run, it will be the complex economy and the faction warfare that will determine the success of this ocean venture.
  24. It's so fundamentally flawed that most gamers are going to simply bounce right off it. [Mar 2008, p.72]
  25. Newcomers might find things a little too complex, but PC gamers who have experience with these types of games should be rewarded for their efforts.
  26. Pirates of the Burning Sea has perhaps one of the steepest learning curves in an MMO to date, but with its strong implementation of dynamic economies, sea combat, and swashbuckling, it provides more than enough reward for player perseverance.
  27. 67
    It's an acquired taste. And for die-hard pirate fans, it's the only MMO that offers eye patches and peg legs as rewards. What are you waiting for?
  28. games(TM)
    No amount of crystal-ball gazing can help Pirates Of The Burning Sea be anything more than a slightly above average MMORPG in the here and now. [Apr 2008, p.110]
  29. In the ship combat, the depth of the trading, the spectacle of mass PVP, and the fine period detail - (the lovely music, the animated colour of the towns, the crew scrambling over the rigging of your ship) - Pirates of the Burning Sea is a highly specialised, but highly seductive game. It's a hobbyist's paradise. Unfortunately, you'll need to be a hobbyist to put up with its many serious flaws.
  30. PC Zone UK
    A lazy game that makes no effort to be atmospheric or fun, leaving only a husk of ideas that could have, potentially, been fun. [Apr 2008, p.76]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 61 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 25
  2. Negative: 5 out of 25
  1. Sergeys
    Nov 18, 2009
    I was Flying Lab Software (the game maker) subscribed customer for 7 months and you'd think they'd care about customer loyalty, I was Flying Lab Software (the game maker) subscribed customer for 7 months and you'd think they'd care about customer loyalty, right? Their customer support has no understanding of such basic things as "customer appreciation" or "customer satisfaction". They don't even have a phone to call in, all communication is done over e-mail. Too bad such a promising game must suffer from incompetent customer support. Full Review »
  2. AlG
    Sep 23, 2009
    While I enjoyed this game initially with all the different kinds of ships and all the personalization capabilities the game's ugly side While I enjoyed this game initially with all the different kinds of ships and all the personalization capabilities the game's ugly side reveals itself towards the end. As players will find themselves running a gauntlet of endless grinding, game bugs, unbalanced PvP, as well as economic baggage that seem to be intentionally designed to make it impossible for solo players or players who can't find a good guild to join to obtain decent ships. The most infamous of which is the Lineship Structure Bundle. In addition to all this the developers at Flying Labs Software are less than helpful and tend to ignore player issues. I've also seen some documented cases of FLS devs banning players accounts for simply expressing their opinions about how the game is operated and monitored. If you are a player interested in naval combat set in the age of sail I highly recommend you try either East India Company or Empire: Total War as opposed to this game. Full Review »
  3. LudoL
    Jul 17, 2008
    Should be amazingly fun but too many bugs and abuse/cheating scenarios create too many situations frustrating and inevitable loss. Up the FUN Should be amazingly fun but too many bugs and abuse/cheating scenarios create too many situations frustrating and inevitable loss. Up the FUN factor and dont penalize all customers for the sins of some is critical to building a community and sustainable MMORPG... Even for genre fans. Full Review »