Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales Impressions - Naval Battles, Swashbuckling, Trade, and RPG Elements

We take in the sights, sounds, and salt-sea air from this upcoming pirate-themed hybrid role-playing game from Akella, Playlogic, and Atari.

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We recently had a chance to take an up-close look at Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales, a pirate-themed role-playing game from the creator of the 2000 pirate-themed game Sea Dogs. Developer Akella is working with publishers Playlogic and Atari to create a colorful game that lets you play as a sea captain during the Age of Sail, trading goods, capturing ships, and eventually seizing control of the New World.

You'll play as a ship captain with various role-playing-game-style statistics, skills, and abilities, such as trading, fencing, and navigating, among others. You'll be able to hire a crew of officers (such as steersmen, cannoneers, and others) from various taverns, who can provide bonuses to your skills as long as you keep them on the payroll (running out of money and/or food while on the high seas is a good recipe for a messy mutiny, otherwise). Your own character will gain experience levels, or ranks, which net you more skill points to spend. And over time, you'll also increase your character's fame rating, which lets you access the tougher missions given by the governors of the various Caribbean islands.

As you might expect from a game about the Age of Sail, much of the game takes place at sea in a ship you'll control with your W, A, S, and D keys, as well as your mouse. These controls let you shift between half sail and full sail and steer the ship. Your vessel will be at the mercy of the elements (random storms may suck your ship in and damage it beyond repair), but you'll also be able to speed up or slow down time to travel longer distances. Though you'll start off with a small sloop, you'll work your way up to a man-of-war--a humongous capital ship with more than 100 firing cannons on board--and eventually, you'll command a small fleet of up to four ships.

Like in other pirate-themed games you may have played, this game will let you choose different types of ammunition to load into your cannons (such as grapeshot to target enemy crews or cannonballs to target the enemy ship's hull). You'll be able to board an enemy ship using your captain's boarding skills, then participate in a third-person, behind-the-back perspective melee battle between your captain and crew and the enemy crew. The on-foot combat seems simple and accessible--you have a few different types of sword slashes you can perform while using the W, A, S, and D keys on your keyboard; you can block incoming sword blows; and if you have time, you can pull out a flintlock pistol and fire on your enemies. Once you dispose of the crew, you'll then go into one-on-one combat with the enemy ship's captain in his quarters.

According to the game's story, you play as an orphan in search of your long-lost half-sibling, who possesses the other half of your deceased father's treasure map. Your primary goals in the game are to find the treasure and unite the New World under one standard--yours. While you may begin the game allied with various sovereign powers (including Spain, France, Holland, and England, along with miscellaneous factions like traders, pirates, and smugglers), you'll end up hostile to most of them, based on a reputation system (you may be neutral or a good matey to some factions, but you'll eventually be considered a wanted criminal for most).

Before you antagonize the settlements on other islands, you'll be able to walk freely on land and trade goods at the general store, repair and upgrade your current ships (and purchase new ones) at the shipyard, and gain missions and manpower at the tavern. After you antagonize them, you'll have to bombard ground settlements from sea to weaken ground defenses, then land with an on-foot contingent of buccaneers and face off against the guards with your sword. After you take control of a town, you'll be able to manage and upgrade it by using your ill-gotten gains to finance barracks, which create new guards that work for you, or initiate expeditions to look for gold and silver mines to keep your cash flowing.

Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales has a bright and colorful look to its clean 3D graphics and a great deal of detail on its ships, particularly the various animations that show crew members bustling along the deck as you sail and preparing the main guns when you've ended up in battle. The game should let players live out the fantasy of being a fabulously wealthy sea-trading captain with a sword in one hand and a steering wheel in the other. Age of Pirates is scheduled for release later this year.

Discussion

30 comments
Robinale
Robinale

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

rkfriedl
rkfriedl

Is Wescottkl2 the only one besides me that remembers Cutthroats? Now that was a good pirate game.

lvlUNE3B
lvlUNE3B

Pirates.... Hurrr.. The game looks good.

Superstan
Superstan

i love sid meiers pirates. but i dont expect anything out of this game. it looks pretty bad

Indigorun
Indigorun

I'm hoping that this game is what POC should have been...a true upgrade to Sea Dogs. In my opinion, POC ended up being a sell-out to Hollywood that produced a game with pretty graphics but with many of the same game play issues Sea Dogs had. Don't get me wrong Sea Dogs was a very fun game and I spent a ton of hours playing it. Like the reviews state, it brought the player into the Age of Sail in a way that was exciting and new, despite it's game play issues. I'm reserving my final decision until it comes out and I get to hear from many of you. Play on. :)

KPAC77
KPAC77

I thought POC was a much better game than SM Pirates!. This looks like an improved POC. I like the much more roleplaying look, with a big close up of your ship. The ships in Pirates were too small. POC really brought out thier majesty. Can't wait.

thepeter
thepeter

i've been waiting forever for this kinda game.

_Sam_
_Sam_

It looks alright

erkki0
erkki0

It looks like sequel to the Pirates of the Caribbean and Sea Dogs, cause they both had same style of playing. I can't wait when it comes out.

JBiker51
JBiker51

Everyone, please note that Sea Dogs got a 7.9 score, and Sid Mier's Pirates got a 9.2. This tells you you shouldn't expect much out of this guy. If you're looking for a swashbuckling adventure, try Sid Mier's Pirates.

herrkeso
herrkeso

Eoh another Sid Meier copy how original. Seriously how the hell can people spend 2-3 years on a game thats an exact copy of another game. Fire your game designer immediatly! ;)

jem_gal
jem_gal

i was going to buy sid meier's but when i saw this i think i'll wait till it comes out and make my decision then on which one to buy. i'm more of an rpg player than a strategy player anyways, i prefer to walk around than clicking around to go to the place i want to go.

wescottkl2
wescottkl2

This game is the the sequel to Sea Dogs. If I'm not mistaken. So to say it is ripping ideas from Sea Dogs it a bit foolish, wouldn't you say. This game is going to be good. I can assure you that. And as someone mentioned earlier, how much can you really be original in this era. Sid Meiers is great. Sea Dogs was great. Age of Pirates was good. POTBS will be fun and Pirates of the caribbean online should be ok. But they all will have the same content. If your a buccaneer at heart, like me, then cutthrouts was the only game in this era that could have been better.

ivan20005
ivan20005

The graphics at sea still look kind of meh, though.

Swashbuckler_2
Swashbuckler_2

If it were possible to copyright the concept of a pirate RPG set in the Age of Sail, then I would say this game has taken the ideas from others. But it isn't. Why does everyone think these concepts are copied? How many things can you DO in a game like this? You can sail around, ally with factions, attack other ships, hire crew, find officers, trade--all or most of these will be found in ANY pirate RPG. It is HOW these ideas are implemented that determines originality. And we won't get a full view of that until we actually play the game. So please...try to avoid running around like second graders, yelling "Sid Meier called this!" or "Sea Dogs did that first!"

_JK_
_JK_

stop acting like you know where they took the ideas from! cuz i know from where they took' em. And they are purely taken from the game "pirates of the caribbean" published, either designed by Bethesa softworks. And 2 "age of pirates" is somewhat an updated version of the first game. And now.. i will buy this game and no starforce or whatever, is going to stop me from that, whatever starforce is. Cuz i've been waiting so long for such a game to be realeased. (sid meier's pirates have no relation to this game whatsoever, and i can proove it). Let's just say i played all the pirate games: Patrician 3, pirate hunter, port royal 2, sid meier's pirates, tropico 2 (favorite), pirates of the caribbean ( favorite)... And a question, what the heck is the relation between tropico 2 and this game???!!!

andre0075150
andre0075150

Looks like everything pirates of the carribean should have been.

l8bitz
l8bitz

Well there are only so many concepts you can put into a pirate themed game without copying anyone and still keeping realistic. I think it's good that they all at least keep true to most of those aspects.(ex: No Russian towns etc.) There seems to be a new rush of Pirate games since the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The one thing we need to look for is a game that offers us something interesting and addictive that seems new while still being realistic. I hope to see how this one measures up

ShotGunBunny
ShotGunBunny

Hopefully this will be a worthy sequel to Seadogs, since Pirates of the Caribean (the first one, not the Jack Sparrow one) wasn't as good as Seadogs.

frrrkk
frrrkk

IF YOU ASK ME THIS GAME IS THE EVOLVED VERSION OF SID MEIRS!! I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR SWARD FIGHTS TO GET INTERESTING NOW THEY HAVE!.....when this baby hits the shelves....i'll BUY IT!!!

Ingaroo
Ingaroo

This game sounds fine if you haven't played Sid Meier's Pirates! - it seems like they have stolen all the ideas and concepts from that game and then added a little bit of Tropico 2 to it. I'm sure it's going to be a great game for anyone who hasn't played either of those two, but I'll keep to the originals.

Firndeloth
Firndeloth

I'm not seeing the problem with Starforce... the recent versions remove themselves when the game uninstalls. Why do people boycott it? I did a little hunting and there doesn't seem to be much more than rumor against it.... then again, I don't believe I've ever had it on my PC.

alanorman
alanorman

I have already played Polish version of this game and I can tell you it's quite a contender. The game has already been released in Poland. Please PM me if you have any questions regarding this title. I will try to answer them as precisely as I can.

ogrenator
ogrenator

has anyone played a little game called pirates of the carribian from akella....that was a sweet game and was this game before they got payed to finish it quick and slap the name on it

masterjjx
masterjjx

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Aleth
Aleth

Damn, really? Oh well. I'm definitely not putting Starforce on my pcs either. That's a shame, as this game looks awesome. I'd love to control a pirate town.

ricktheski
ricktheski

Sounds great, and I wanted it very badly, until I found out that it will use Starforce. That I will not buy on principal.