Generally favorable reviews - based on 50 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 139 Ratings

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  • Summary: An entirely new game engine delivers updated gameplay, stunning new features, spectacular 3D graphics and enhanced surround sound, so players can fully experience the intrigue, adventure and danger of life as a pirate on the Spanish Main. In Pirates! you take the leading role of a Pirate Captain in the 17th century Caribbean amassing fortune and fame in an attempt to seize your rightful place as one of the most revered (and feared!) pirates in history. Test your skills as a sea captain exploring the high seas and exotic ports in a richly detailed 3D world. Overtake the enemy and seize valuable booty. Exchange plank-shattering broadsides in fierce naval battles, and engage in duels with worthy opposing captains. As your reputation and skills grow, so will the size and quality of your crew, and your ability to take on larger enemy ships, raid and plunder heavily fortified ports, and locate ancient treasure. There?s a whole cast of interesting and dangerous characters to meet, mysteries to solve, exotic island destinations to discover, and powerful alliances to forge! [Firaxis] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 50
  2. Negative: 0 out of 50
  1. We can't recall another PC game that challenged us to furious one-on-one sword fights and strategic warfare with cannons blazing -- interspersed with a test of ballroom dancing skills in which each click of our keyboard's keys translated into a deft move on the dance floor.
  2. An exciting gaming experience, its versatility makes it accessible to a variety of gamers, and it possesses dynamic game play that eliminates the monotony plaguing so many single-player games.
  3. Voices have been done in grumbling Sim’s style that really adds to the charm of the game.
  4. This game gets high marks for the attention to detail in each scene, and the authentic feel of doing battle with other ships at sea.
  5. The only thing stopping Pirates! from becoming one of 2005's best is the lack of variation in the gameplay - it is an immensely enjoyable game at first not to mention very unique, and there are plenty of mini games included, but soon enough repetition sets in with these mini games and it sets in rather hard.
  6. A game where analytically I keep thinking I shouldn’t like it all that much, but then I play it and get absorbed, and I look up and see it’s 4am already. So Pirates! is a fun game to play, but it’s a little bit shallow and repetitive.
  7. Elements such as marching onto an island, or talking to a governor, seem flat and underdeveloped. Islands are sparse and awkward experiences, while their governors are often illogical and nonsensical in their responses. [Jan 2005, p.88]

See all 50 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 36
  2. Negative: 7 out of 36
  1. S-P
    Oct 1, 2012
    Having just finished my umpteenth playthrough, I figure it's a good time to write a short review about this underrated gem.

    I've been a
    gamer for over 20 years. A relatively passionate one, and not one to generally like strategic games as much as the more action-y titles. The first time I was introduced to Sid Meier's Pirates was with this 2004 remake, in 2004/2005. Played through it, loved it, and sort of forgot about it. Since then, though, I've felt the urge to play it again and again. Sometimes it's after a year, sometimes a year and a half. But it always happens. That is a rare quality in a game, as most titles you beat once and forget about afterwards.

    It rarely happens with any game, and almost never with games that are this flawed. Pirates is repetitive, relatively shallow for a strategic game, and because it's rated E, it can be obnoxiously childish in tone as well. Plus some of the minigames are just downright tedious, the worst offender being ballroom dancing, that can luckily be skipped with a trainer.

    But none of the flaws overshadow the fact that Sid Meier's Pirates is FUN. Bringing criminals to justice, forcing that one unfortunate nation off the face of earth (for me it's usually Spain or France), plundering ships and towns, creating the strongest pirate army the world has ever seen, and retiring a legend.. With a bit of imagination, your journey truly becomes legendary -- if not for anyone else, then at least for you. And that's what counts. You start playing, and suddenly, nine hours have passed, and you have to fight against speaking in a pirate "slang" if you manage to somehow exit the game and actually venture outside your apartment for long enough to actually meet real humans. Actual humans, who never seem to have appreciation the struggles us pirates go through during the days after the game again draws you back for a new playthrough.

    And it will, faults and all. For me, Sid Meier's Pirates wasn't all THAT special when I first played it. But during the years, it's slowly brought itself up from behind, and joined the five games that I can honestly say I've loved during the 20-some years I've been around video games. A feat that almost rivals my latest career as a pirate, having retired as a 36 year old Governor of Campeche, with 180640 gold pieces, 37650 acres of land and a beautiful wife.

    I did everything that can be done in the game.. Except I only found eight hidden treasures. Which is undoubtedly something I will have to surpass on my next playthrough, in a year or so.
  2. Jun 13, 2012
    Gets an instant 10/10 for being the best pirate game ever made (don't believe those "Monkey Island" purists). The difficulty can be changed *while playing*. This is awesome! If you find you're having too easy a time plundering you can divide the loot and up the difficulty. Higher difficulty settings grant you access to different items to help you in your piracy and new quests. Your reflexes get slower with age, making swashbuckling duels tougher. There's all kinds of nice details like this waiting for you AFTER sinking everything French stops being "fun" and starts to feel more like "community service". All I can say is play it. Expand
  3. Dec 27, 2010
    I have been playing this game on and off for about five years now, and it I still love it. It's probably the second greatest RPG ever made. The story is pretty dumb, and the graphics aren't THAT great (but decent) and the sounds are fairly low quality at some points, but the sheer fun and addiction of the gameplay surpasses all of that. The main problem with the game however, is that is never really fresh. Once you have completed about three different quests or so, you've completed every quest in the game since every quest is practically the exact same thing. Expand
  4. Aug 23, 2011
    Pirates is a great game fora nice long time and has a high replay value. What the other reviewers say is mostly true however, it gets very repetitive after extended amounts of play time. This is corrected however by raising the difficulty level! I found Journeyman difficulty much more exciting and rewarding than Apprentice, I think raising the difficulty level even once can make the game last hours more. The graphics are a bit outdated at this point, and the story is rather bland, but its certainly worth the 10$ it is on Steam! Expand
  5. Jun 15, 2012
    I enjoyed the original back in the old days, and this has everything that makes a good and enjoyable remake. It's been improved in all the rigth places (graphics and so on), the game mechanics have been reworked while retaining the spirit of the original.

    Hours and hours of good solid entertainment.
  6. Mar 31, 2011
    Game's great, make no mistake, but there are some fatal flaws that make it awful or not lasting long enough. Here I'll try to devide + and - in sections:
    + Innovative gameplay, the difficulty rises slowly at your decision letting you get accustomed to the game.
    + Many minigames within one package, arcade naval warfare, arcade fencing, tactical assault of the cities, treasure hunting.
    + You can do many things in SM's Pirates, do quests, rob caravans, follow rumors, collect valuable items, romance royal women, upgrade your ship, board and capture other ships, represent one of 4 nations or meddle in their business and become a notorious pirate, give and receive gifts, share collected gold with your team, etcetera, etcetera...
    - Controls on the tactical map are just awful... Sometimes you hit Page Down instead of 7 and you automatically retreat from a fight.
    - The game is way too repetitive. The good experience will not last very long.
    - It's a sandbox arcade game. A good sandbox game is a game in which you have overwhelming amount of possibilities and everything is happening at random, making up for more fun! Although in Pirates, events are happening at random, randomly generated, they are getting old very fast, due to your limited possibilities e.g. you put your money in a bank, you have some items, but you don't have a character's doll, so at some point (very fast actually) all of the items are applied to your character and this aspect disappears from the game. Moreover, fencing challenging it may be at first, get's overly easy later on due to your equipment. Ship upgrades can only be made in specific cities (What?), so you'll have to sweep the damn Caribbean if you want to find them all. Back to the idea, all of your possibilities uncover VERY VERY fast, after that you don't discover anything new, everything else is just repetition of thing you did one hour ago.
    = Conclusion: A great game it may be, but it's way too lengthly for an Arcade and way too shallow for a Sandbox. While trying to get the best from each, SM's Pirates end up being none and losing it's greatness somewhere along the way.
  7. Jun 21, 2011
    Total Rubbish, boring, poor visuals, repetitive. Totally overrated, I just don't know how they give it 88, a score similar to half-life 2! I Would not finish this gave if you paid me too, 0 / 10. Expand

See all 36 User Reviews