Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 47 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 47
  2. Negative: 2 out of 47
  1. If you missed the original game 18 years ago, you should definitely pick this up - it could be another 18 years before they make something this purely fun again.
  2. While it does have hidden depths, then, they're not much more than handfuls of sand scooped out of the bottom of a rock-pool. Fun though it undoubtedly is, it isn't very vicious or memorable. A bit like that Disneyworld ride, actually.
  3. A missed opportunity. It does nothing to ruin the memory of a groundbreaking 8-bit game, but everything to prove that games have moved on since then.
  4. 92
    A must-have Xbox game. It's that simple. This "adventure" game comprises a little bit of strategy, touches of RPG, it's got fighting and collecting, and it's designed in an ingenious way so that the goals, economy, and mini-games, all tie into, bolster, and support one another.
  5. Addictive, varying gameplay. Whether you choose to be a trader or a flat-out ruthless pirate, you'll find something to enjoy in this open-ended exercise in the pirate lifestyle.
  6. A wonderfully lighthearted game that boasts an intoxicating blend of strategy and action.
  7. 85
    For a few weeks, Pirates! reached full-fledged addiction status for me, complete with numerous lost hours and mutterings of "just one more mission." A fine summer fling indeed.
  8. 85
    This port of a PC game (it originally appeared on Xbox) is stiff, formal and corny in the way that PC games usually are. And it requires the patience of a Buddhist monk to get into. But persevere, matey, and you'll discover plenty of treasure worth plundering.
  9. Eventually, my impatience with the same little games set in like seasickness, but the quests and fleet of ships and play-as-dastardly-as-you-dare piracy kept me from hopping overboard.
  10. A little more successful as a PC title, just because the precision and depth of the controls is so much better on a keyboard. But the Xbox version is still tons of fun.
  11. 80
    It's a game that you can pick up and play for 20 minutes, or keep hammering on for several hours at a time. Everything is simple to pick up and once mastered, very little can stand in your way.
  12. The fusion of many games into one is uninspired and lazy, which is all the more depressing when you consider the basic frame of the game is a solid one.
  13. It's not the most glitzy-looking coin in the haul, but it's finely milled, expertly crafted, and has just enough hidden nicks to give it Old World character and a sense of adventure. It's addictive, and you will lose hours of your life.
  14. The historical period is beautifully realised, and the included onscreen encyclopaedia is great reading. If you have an interest in this period, pirates, the age of sail - you'll find lots to enjoy, especially if you're a fan of the works of Patrick O'Brian or Alexander Kent.
  15. There's really only one word to describe Sid Meier's Pirates! and that's 'charming'. The excellent presentation, clever gameplay design and exquisite pacing mark it out as a unique and well thought out game.
  16. Very few games allow you to jump right in and experience everything it has to offer from the start if you want to. Those looking for a superb and exciting adventure can't go wrong here, especially if you're into pirate simulators or Sid Meier titles.
  17. Ever dream of sailing the high seas and plundering treasures and riches from all over? Then Sid Meier may have given you the perfect pirates game.
  18. Just one of those rare gems that make you glad you own an Xbox.
  19. If you enjoy strategy games or RPGs, it's hard to imagine you not liking this game. In fact, it's likely to become your obsession for a while.
  20. It's fun, challenging and very addictive simply because it's impossible to figure out what happens next but you just can't go to bed until you find out.
  21. A ridiculous amount of fun... for a while. I truly love the game and have had an absolute blast while playing, but parts of it will eventually wear on you. There are very few unique environments and combat animations, and the dancing mini-game and other elements will eventually test your patience.
  22. The thing that makes Sid Meyer's Pirates! a must-have Xbox game is the complete openness of it.
  23. 90
    If you're looking for an action packed platformer, this isn't the game for you, but if you're in the market for a fantastic adventure that can be replayed as often as you like, than Pirates! may be your port of call!
  24. Pirates is one of those games, like "GTA: San Andreas" or "Everquest," that eats into your life and stops you from being that social butterfly that you usually are.
  25. 90
    It's adventure-based in the sense that the game is incredibly open-ended . Finally, it's somewhat action based in the sense that fast reflexes are required for the sea battles. There's something for everyone in Pirates.
  26. Overall this game provides a swashbucklingly good time through fun mini-games and a great theme.
  27. The open seas have never looked better for aspirin Xbox scalawags. [Aug 2005, p.51]
  28. "Port Royale" was the closest that anyone has come to the original Pirates, until now. All hail Sid Meier, the master of the computer game.
  29. But in spite of some niggling problems, Pirates! is a very addictive game that you can while away whole evenings on, just trying out different things.
  30. 83
    Like all open-ended games, the true strength of Pirates! is its near-infinite replayability.
  31. A fantastic port of the PC title and is incredibly addictive to play, but it could've been so much better. As it is, this is more like the Jack Sparrow of the pirate world; it doesn't quite reach the kind of class you'd expect from a pirate like One-Eyed Willy.
  32. While the subject matter of pirates is intriguing, many gamers will be instantly turned off by the basic graphics, dated audio track, and strategy-heavy gameplay.
  33. The structures of some encounters can lead to repetition, but the freedom and unpredictability of the adventure makes it indispensable. [Xbox World]
  34. We couldn't help shake the feeling that Pirates! needed a little more freedom and just a few more mini-games to make it the classic we were hoping for. As it stands the game offers some 30 hours of game-play. Good but not great enough to brand it a triple A title.
  35. The game does feel like a collection of mini games at times and can get a little repetitive as you repeat tasks over and over. However at the end of the day there is a lot of fun to be had here as you go about your pirating career.
  36. An old school delight. This version of the game will keep traditionalists and causal gamers happy, but hardcore fanatics might find the gameplay too repetitive.
  37. This faithful port - no pun intended - of the seafaring PC game shines just as brightly on the big black box. Beware the siren call of its addictiveness, though.
  38. Sid Meier's Pirates! has all the makings of the being the greatest of pirate games, but a few things hold it back, mostly because of the "sameness" it projects. Plain and simple, as deep as it is, Pirates! doesn't have the epic feel of many games of this type due to its similarities throughout.
  39. 79
    A better than average action/strategy game, with tons of replay value but no real impressive or stand-out features.
  40. Each of the minigames is fun a few times, but they are so basic that you won't feel incredibly compelled to keep playing all of them. [Aug 2005, p.102]
  41. Yet the core of Pirates! is scurvy riddled, lacking the precious vitamin C gameplay nuance that would elevate it well beyond the ranks of average.
  42. I can't really be too harsh on Pirates as it does do exactly what it sets out to do; it's a huge game, looks pretty enough with it's mix of cartoon animation and overhead map-views, and it doesn't sound too bad either to boot.
  43. It's a lifeless action game crossed with a shallow strategy game; a game that seems to take the safe route in all things... but one that I still can't stop playing. Arrrrgggh! [Aug 2005, p.80]
  44. 80
    Refined, entertaining, and simple, it's a refreshing change of pace from most of the more violent, dark themes that tend to hound games lately.
  45. The game's interface is wonderfully designed and really lets you lead your own destiny, and the activities and mini-games draw you in to a pirate's life.
  46. An excellent game. For your PC. [Oct 2005, p.90]
  47. It's a mighty strong testament that the gameplay is as addictive now as it was back on the Apple II, though those that got burned out back in the day will likely remain burned out today.
User Score
6.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Feb 15, 2013
    5
    When porting a PC game to a console, your first concern should be to make this game controller-friendly. Well, I hope someone was fired from Firaxis after this port because they somehow managed not to do it. What you get is "Sid Meier's Pirates!" for PC, but it's on your Xbox. No graphic improvements, no new content (after 1 year from PC release) and you have to play this game with the controller, while the game itself is still thought for keyboard+mouse control. Until you get used to a control system that seems specifically designed to get on your nerves, everyone in the Seven Seas will assume you're steering your ship while drunk. Sword combats will be extremely hard since you're forced to use your D-PAD instead of the sticks or the triggers or even the bumpers. Who came with the idea of the D-PAD? I hope the same guy that was fired. --It's a shame, because I loved the PC version of this game. This Xbox port just got me to re-install my old "Sid Meier's Pirates!" on my desktop and got deleted after a couple of boring (and very frustrating) games. I give this game a 5, just in memory of the good old times and because you might enjoy it if you're patient enough to get used to the controls and/or do not have the chance to play it on a PC. Otherwise, go for the PC version. Full Review »
  2. Andyman
    Jan 15, 2007
    10
    Yaaarrrggggghhhh! Walk the plank, ye Halo-ridden landlubbers! Sid Meier's Pirates is EASILY the best pirate game ever made. Even more amazing is the fact that Sid somehow improved upon the seemingly perfect formula introduced in the original Pirates! game. There are few games in existence that are more addictive than this one... you'll want to explore every inch of the Caribbean before you retire from privateering. Full Review »
  3. Loc
    Oct 13, 2006
    10
    It was the most fun I've had playing a game in a long long time. Thank you Sid!