Metascore
65

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 30
  2. Negative: 4 out of 30
  1. Just that sort of game. It sucks you in and won't let go until suddenly you're late for work or the morning sun is peeking through the blinds and you realize you stayed up all night again.
  2. 83
    Naval battles are where Pirates shines. The game's ocean settings look spectacular, with some of the most gorgeous graphics on Xbox. [Sept 2003, p.56]
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean is a tough game; it might mislead some buyers into thinking it shares much more than a name with the Hollywood movie.
  4. I wish Pirates of the Caribbean was easier to get in to than it is, but it's worth your time if you're willing to hang in there.
  5. The fact that Pirates is not based on the movie works to the game's advantage...The player is free to follow his own path with no preconceived notions.
  6. 80
    Though I was irritated with the cache issue (still am), the game itself manages to be everything I expected in a pirate title and more.
  7. 80
    The weather effects are beautiful (the storm sequences are downright scary), and pulling off a successful ship capture is an exhilarating experience once you manage it.
  8. The world is truly your oyster. Whether or not there's a pearl in it depends on how much you enjoy the freedom given to you. [Aug 2003, p.97]
  9. The big, dramatic-looking naval battles pack in a lot of variety, and the open-ended structure of the campaign rewards your curiosity.
  10. Although the lackluster land gameplay drags the experience down a bit, the sailing parts of the game are just so exciting and enthralling that you can totally forget about the less riveting parts of the game. I do prefer Bethesda's other published RPG, "Morrowind," because there is simply more to do.
  11. Even with it's incomplete manual and it's many frustrations, I still liked Pirates of the Caribbean. There's much to do, places to see, buccaneers to slaughter, and mutineers to squash – all wrapped up in a colorful package.
  12. 75
    PotC's depth is maybe a notch or two below what was seen in Morrowind, it suffers from new combat and camera problems stemming from the third person perspective and nearly makes up for all of its shortcomings with outstanding sailing and ship-to-ship combat elements.
  13. Long and addictive, if you let Pirates consume you, it will.
  14. Besides making personal progress, you must hire hands, choose a complementary hierarchy of mates, explore the Caribbean, and, ultimately, earn cheddar. Giving your neighbors a good buggering simply comes with the territory.
  15. Pirates does have a few shortcomings such as some cumbersome controls, which result in a fairly steep learning curve, and some technical bugs. They don't detract from the game too much but may affect its suspension of disbelief from time to time.
  16. There are a few bugs we encountered, including one that muddled our quest list. Put it this way: we spent a lot of time saving, loading, and cursing. [Sept 2003, p.85]
  17. Realism is good, but it is important to find the fine line between being realistic and being boring. For example, a big ship in the game is slow and unmanageable, just like the real thing I am sure, but not much fun to control.
  18. Once you're past the technical hurdles (and the brutal realization of just how easy it is to die in a swordfight or sea battle), Pirates of the Caribbean is an absolutely beautiful looking, freeform RPG adventure. But it is really suited for experienced, patient gamers.
  19. 65
    A beautiful RPG marred by numerous bugs which render it nigh unplayable.
  20. We'd feel good about recommending this game to RPG fans if not for the stuttery framerates. [Sept 2003, p.75]
  21. 60
    Not a terribly friendly game. It has a wicked learning curve that will cause casual gamers to contemplate walking the plank. But if you're tough and self-reliant enough -- RPG-nerd points count here -- there be treasure here.
  22. Pirates controls very well in first person mode, but while in 3rd person that pesky camera gets on your last nerve.
  23. Instead of the marketing-driven production you might expect, Pirates of the Caribbean is a deep and interesting role-playing experience. [Sept 2003, p.81]
  24. It's like "Morrowind," minus the best part - exploration... The gameplay simply isn't fun. [Sept 2003, p.122]
  25. The joy of Pirates of the Caribbean is to be found in the variety of the elements delivered - sword fights and canon battles happily sit alongside contraband trade route management. But ultimately none offer a tremendous amount of depth. [Nov 2003, p.107]
  26. An oddity, and one cannot entirely dismiss murmurings of a rush job from its topsy-turvy execution - perhaps acknowledged through the slightly reduced retail price. This is not the definitive pirate RPG that many had hoped for, but beneath the problems a game exists with an enjoyable undercurrent; just reaching it is the challenge.
  27. A cool game hiding underneath scads of bugs, control problems and weak swordfighting, leading to not a cool game whatsoever. If you're dying to be a pirate, dig up one of the Monkey Islands.
  28. A sham, and doesn't stand fit to carry the logo of such a stunning film. Once past the multiple loading screens required to start the game, the real waiting begins, as the low-octane action jerks more than a shoe fetishist in Clarks, even in one-on-one combat.
  29. Pirates is a kick - swift and painful - to the gonads for all who've claimed the Xbox is no PC... This is a junky PC game waiting to be patched. It should be made to walk the plank. [Oct/Nov 2003, p.90]
  30. 20
    Who would want to buy this game? Only Sado-masochists who enjoy shoddy frame rates, huge loading times, unintuitive controls, poor menu design, bugged gameplay and boring storylines. It could have been good, that's what infuriates most of all.
User Score
7.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 19
  2. Negative: 3 out of 19
  1. KevR.
    Dec 16, 2003
    8
    It's true that this game is bugged and imperfect but if you can use Bethesda's work around it's well worth the trouble. Relatively open gameplay (you can 'complete' the game and carry on), great sea battle scenes. The lure of ever greater ships, piles of money, valuables and weapons.. adding officers to your crew and building a small fleet - great fun. I've got my fingers crossed for a POTC 2 where they take more time and get it bug free... Full Review »
  2. Keith
    Dec 2, 2003
    5
    Hard to grapple at first. Manual doesn't provide much help for battles or identification of symbols in menu's. Save game as often as you can (time consuming), because more than likely you will lose most battles at sea and on land for that matter. Won't be long before i get bored of this one (Lucky i didn't buy it!). I suppose thats one good thing to do always borrow or read reviews before you buy. My advice - Don't buy unless you like frustration and have lots of time. Full Review »
  3. TimT.
    Sep 17, 2003
    3
    This game starts off promising to be full of adventure and pirating antics, but soon the endless waiting for areas to load - even taking about 15 secoinds just to load a single shop - and the buggy area transitions - often the game finishes loading an area only to show you a blank screen where you can only access the main menu to load your previous game or the character menu - just get too annoying to continue. Full Review »