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Review Pirates of the Caribbean keelhaulled at Netjak

Saint_Proverbius

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Tags: Pirates of the Carribean

There's a <a href="http://www.netjak.com/Reviews/windows/argh.htm">review</a> of <A href="http://pirates.bethsoft.com">Pirates of the Caribbean</a> on <A href="http://www.netjak.com/">Netjak</a> which isn't very pretty at all. They give the title a whopping <b>4.2/10</b>, saying the only really good thing about it are the graphics.
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<blockquote>Now, back into the game. <u>Combat has little to do with stats and all to do with how you control the game.</u> This would have been fine had the game been set up as an action game from the start, but it functions like Morrowind. In Pirates, if you are not blocking when the other guy swings, you will get hit regardless of any other skills. They only reduce damage done. So, combat involves simply holding down the right mouse button (block), let the guy wail on you, and hit him when there is a brief opening. Occasionally, you can dodge back a couple times and let loose a gun shot, and assuming it hits, do a bit of damage. Block, swing, wait for the gun to reload (you have unlimited ammunition for some reason) and repeat.</blockquote>
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That's really rather disappointing.
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Spotted this at <a href="http://www.bluesnews.com">Blue's News</a>.
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triCritical

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Well I went out and bought this game anyway, mainly because I have been expecting Sea Dog's 2 for the last 1.5 years now. I would say that the most glaring problem with the game is indeed combat. I would disagree with the person that said stats were not an issue, because this is blatantly incorrect. As a matter a fact the only thing that makes combat different from one part to the next is stats. Combat is exactly like it was mentioned in the above excerpt block, occasionally dodge and fire your gun and then wait for opening and swing back. However depending on your stats you will either live or die against your opponents. This game does indeed play like an action game, and there is a bit of twitch, but stats do remain crucial. They are so crucial in fact that stats seem to be the only thing besides weapon upgrades that will determine if you character will succeed in combat or fail. The character building system is not very complicated or large, but most of the stats are for sailing, which brings us to what this game is really about. Did I mention the potions... I guess its better I don't.

Its seems that this was a pirate sim turned MW like RPG. I can't help but feel that the bulk of the design effort was made for the sailing and then they added the ability to go on land. If I remember correctly the original Sea Dog's did not have the ability to go on land. The ship combat is actually done pretty well, and for the most part it is a whole lot less annoying then combat on land. I have yet to board another ship or have to deal with something like mutiny, but this is were the strentht of the game is, IMO. The game as far as I can tell is very non-linear and pretty much set up like MW. You have a main quest but no will force you to do it. And like MW, you can pretty much have a fun time in the game without really doing any quest. For instance, if your want to play a smuggler you can just go from island to island smuggling contraband and never touch any of the quest. Well with the exception of some of the first quest that they force you to do.

I think for its non-linearity and pretty fun ability to go out and sail the game is somewhat worth the money. Furthermore I think when they converted it to Pirates of the Carribean then added more stuff to do on the islands, and in way highlighted the weakness of this game and that is combat. Still combat does depend on stats and is pretty much just as mundane and frustrating as NWN's with a whole lot less moves then MW. For crissakes they don't even have a sidestep key, and that IMO is unforgivable. Finally my last gripe is this game feels like a console port. Its not like MW, which most XBOX users felt was a port. Instead this game feels like it was a XBOX game and somebody on a tight bugdget decided to swing it over to the PC. IMO this is why the land based combat just sucks, because consoles just suck, and now the PC players are limited to what those fucks that own SatansBox have.

EDITED: For clarity
I'll have my fun with this game, but if the type of game does not appeal to you, I don't think you will like it.
 

Vault Dweller

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Thanks, triCritical, that was very informative. That's what I had in mind when I suggested to add a reviews forum. This would be a good start.
 

triCritical

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Vault Dweller said:
Thanks, triCritical, that was very informative. That's what I had in mind when I suggested to add a reviews forum. This would be a good start.

Your welcome. I imagine that there were a lot of people that were a bit skeptical about this one especially after the change in the name. So I tried to go a little in depth, maybe I will add more as I play more.

Anyhow a review forum is a good idea. I would like to hear more from fellow CRPG gamers rather then from review sites, who I feel sometimes do not know what a good CRPG is, or are just kind of lame hype machines.
 

Vault Dweller

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Another review http://www.gamespy.com/reviews/july03/piratespc/ . GameSpy gave it 55 out of 100

Of course, good graphics and a good story are fine, but they don't mean much without good gameplay to go with it -- and that's where PotC falls down. The freeform gameplay idea is sound enough. You can choose where and when you go, what missions you want to take, whether to work as a government stooge, become a trader or go pirate, and whether or not you want to participate in the story. Unfortunately, most of the non-story based missions are rather boring, as is trading. There's no economic model at all. Every island always trades, buys, and bans the exact same products.

The last, of course, assumes that you actually manage to play the game at all. Put simply, this is a game that's so incomplete and badly balanced that it's almost impossible to play at all
That's a shame if true. triCritical, you mentioned that the game plays like an action game and did not comment much on the missions, trading, economy, and such. Can you tell us anything about non-combat parts of the game, whenever you have time, of course.
 

triCritical

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Vault Dweller said:
Another review http://www.gamespy.com/reviews/july03/piratespc/ . GameSpy gave it 55 out of 100

Of course, good graphics and a good story are fine, but they don't mean much without good gameplay to go with it -- and that's where PotC falls down. The freeform gameplay idea is sound enough. You can choose where and when you go, what missions you want to take, whether to work as a government stooge, become a trader or go pirate, and whether or not you want to participate in the story. Unfortunately, most of the non-story based missions are rather boring, as is trading. There's no economic model at all. Every island always trades, buys, and bans the exact same products.

The last, of course, assumes that you actually manage to play the game at all. Put simply, this is a game that's so incomplete and badly balanced that it's almost impossible to play at all
That's a shame if true. triCritical, you mentioned that the game plays like an action game and did not comment much on the missions, trading, economy, and such. Can you tell us anything about non-combat parts of the game, whenever you have time, of course.

I probably have not played nearly as long as the guy from gamespy, but I would argue that its not the story of the game, or the quest themselves which try to be interesting, but rather playing the game. This is why it hurts the game so much that the land based stuff is such a sham. Sailing is indeed a lot of fun and if you are trading, what is fun is actually getting the goods, going from island to island, avoid hostilities, or creating them if that is what you do, and then making a profit. So yeah I guess he is right that there is no Baldur's Gate 2 Joinable NPC which gives you some pathetic story and tells you to go on some sidequest, they are rather normal. However, like I said I have not played this game long enough to find it boring. Who know maybe after 20-30 hours of gameplay I may find the sailing boring. Still there seems to be enough character building as well as ship improvements to keep me hooked for a while. I think I saw a total of 10 ships, which is still not as much as I was expecting but there is a level difficulty to overcome which can only be over come with the character building.

As for the combat being action oriented. Its worse then that, it might as well be phased based ala the old wasteland, because the twitch aspect really plays no role. I mean you block, jab, block, jab over and over and over again. The only thing that can give you an edge is leveling up and better weapons. So it still has that sort of thing going for it. And when I say you block, jab, block, jab I am not exaggerating, there is no sidestep, there is a dodge, which I only use to fire a pistol and any other tactical movement will most definately get you killed. As a matter a fact if this game did not have the non-linearity, rpg aspect, and the whole sailing thing going for it, it might just be the worst game ever. The land combat is that bad. :( However, I would at the same time say that as bad as land combat is, its no worse then NWN's, which it to had some of the worst combat I have ever seen in an RPG. I think comparing this games land portion to the NWN OC is a fair assumption. Still unlike NWN there is non-linearity, the ability to actually play a role, and a definite sense of exploration, at least early on. I can imagine that if every island looks like every other island, then I will be very dissapointed, but I have only seen three islands and so far there is not much difference, but then agains I do not know how much difference to expect in the caribbean.

Finally all the islands do not trade the same stuff, and each island has different contraband. You do not even need to go to every island to figure this out. It tells you in one of the in game FAQ screens. The guy was just blatantly telling the NON-truth. And it just hurts his credibility since a lot of his other gripes are true, and it should be sufficient to justify the score. I think this game is for someone that has a good rig, and wants some good non-linear action, likes playing a pirate, or a smuggler or a sea captain and would like to see what there computer is capable of after playing geneforge for 8 months straight. It is dissapointing, but no more then the NWN OC. And I think I can stand by that claim.
 

Vault Dweller

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triCritical said:
I think this game is for someone that has a good rig, and wants some good non-linear action, likes playing a pirate, or a smuggler or a sea captain and would like to see what there computer is capable of after playing geneforge for 8 months straight.
Thanks again, I always wanted to be a sea captain :) (I actually was a seaman for awhile, made it to the 3rd mate, but sailing on a container ship isn't nearly as much fun as boarding ships and pilaging cities :lol: ) I will follow your advice and get the game then.
 

triCritical

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Vault Dweller said:
Thanks again, I always wanted to be a sea captain :) (I actually was a seaman for awhile, made it to the 3rd mate, but sailing on a container ship isn't nearly as much fun as boarding ships and pilaging cities :lol: ) I will follow your advice and get the game then.

If you aren't in a hurry, you might wait for the price to drop, then I think its a no brainer. However, if you do get it, one thing I absolutely insist on is that you re-map the keys. I have never seen a worst key/mouse configuration. One thing that is slightly consistent, is that the key configuration is only really poor for the land and not the sea, seeing a trend here. Still, so far for me, I think RPG elements have been enough to keep me happy. Finally one last complaint about the land, there is no jumping, and when you go through the jungle you are kind of forced to stay on the path. In other words, you can't climb up some hill and just explore off the beaten path. This to me is another failure. Still the rendered areas are so beautiful with real fauna, and butterflies that it still gives you a very immersive feel. Basically I think the pirate portion was done to Sea Dog's standards, while the land portion was kind of done half ass.
 
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It really sounds a lot like Sea Dogs with a few improvements. And Sea Dogs was pretty decent. And yes, you could go onshore there and wander around, but I think the only duels where when you captured a ship, (and they sucked then, too).

I'll probably wait a while anyway. Got plenty of games for now.
 

HanoverF

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The cotrol scheme is criminal, they ported a consol game onto PC and that so far is my biggest gripe. It is somewhat non linear, but you get next to no xp from killing in duels or capturing/sinking ships, so if you don't want to follow the story, you're not going to advance far. There do seem to be a couple of solutions to some of the early quests I've done. The graphics are great.

I'd wait for Pirates!
 

triCritical

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HanoverF said:
The cotrol scheme is criminal, they ported a consol game onto PC and that so far is my biggest gripe.

I can't stress this enough. I think with the original layour, I had my left hand in excruciating pain just to reach the necessary commands while fighting. I truly wondered how intensive the PC play testing was.

I'd wait for Pirates!

No doubt, this game will kick ass. But does anyone know when it is coming out? My guess would be a long time from now.

but you get next to no xp from killing in duels or capturing/sinking ships, so if you don't want to follow the story, you're not going to advance far.

I gained a level just from continually sparring with the guy that helps teach you how to fence. :shock: It took me a while to learn, and I must have done it over 20 times, call me a masochist considering how poorly the melee combat was implemented.
 

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