Have been playing for one day now.And so far , I am actually very pleased with the game .
The gameplay is pretty much the same as in POTC.We have the same 4 "instances" - land 3rd person,land fighting , ship 3rd person , ship first person.The controls are pretty much the same too , but we now have some little improvements in each.
Most important are -the side-step feature (yes,we can side-step now , although it's not integrated to well.Some people may find it hard to use the feature as it is , but this is very usefull in battles as you can dodge you enemy left , right and backwards)
Then , there are the different attack options we have with the sword.We now have energy, and each attack costs some energy .if we do not have too much energy , we can't preform a strong attack.Energy replenishes itself constantly.
Ok,so we have : -slashing attack - a powerful and fast attack , but it takes some energy.
-thurst attack - a thrust with the sword .Is fast and doesn't take to much energy , but it's not as powerful as the slashing attack.
-vicious attack - a strong attack that can do full damage through enemy blocks.Downside is , it takes a lot of energy , and it is pretty slow.
-All-round attack - an attack that causes some damage to everyone in a circle around you .
We also have multiple ways of dodging or deflecting enemy attack.
-We have the usual block-much stronger now -we can parry ,and deflect our enemy's attack
-or ce can side-step out of it's way .
When we start the game , we can choose one of 2 characters ,which are step brothers.We can choose Beatrice or Blaze .Their father was a pirate , who had a dream about freeing the islands of the "old war" rulers and form a new and free country , Libertania.He was betrayed by a friend , and was killed by an army attack.
We can also choose which country we want to start with now .We can be french, dutch , english , spanish , or we can start with the pirates.
There are some difficulty settings that can make the game quite a challenge .
Also,the game is generaly harder than POTC.Leveling up is much harder , and we get 1 stat point per level + 1 ability ( or special skill , as they were in POTC) each 2 levels.
When we start the game , a strange man gives us a piece of a map .After some time , we find the next piece , and a riddle on the map.If you manage to find out what it means , and go to the island it points out , you will find a treasure , and your sister /brother there, which tells you about all and Libertania.You then go ask for help from the pirates ,fight their leader and try to complete your father's dream.
We have 16 (not sure , that's the official info) ships we can sail ,but only a part of them can be bought from ship-yards.We can purchase ships ranging from the lugger to the frigate from the sipyard , but bigger warships have to be found on the sea and captured ,as they are not given to privateers.
Crew is now separated in "sectors" so to call them.We have general sailors that work with the sail and navigate the ship.
Then , we have soldiers , that join us when boarding.
Musketeers are soldires that have guns and fight from a distance.
And we also have the cannon crew , that loads and fires the guns.
There are also some upgrades we can make to our ships now :
We have 3 hull upgrades (with each upgrade,we gain hull points, but loose speed) , sail upgrades (better sails mean better speeds , but more damage is received ) and guns.Guns are set in 3 categories : copper , bronze ,and iron.
The guns now have a bad habit of exploding when fired.Copper guns explode the most , bronze guns 20% less times ,and iron guns 40% less time.Also,we have the culverines ( longer range , less damage ) and ordinary cannons ( shorter range , more damage) .
Ship fighting is the same as in POTC , but with some differences when boarding.
We don't fight all over the ship now ( deck ,hold, cabin...) , we only fight on the deck with the enemy soldiers, and if we beat them ,we fight the captain of the enemy ship one - on - one .If we kill him , we get the ship.
Also,now we can enslave enemy crews if they surrender ,and sell them to slave-traders for quite some gold...
Commerce is the same as in POTC , but now , exported goods and imported goods for each colony make more of a difference.The colonies now have "levels " (outpost,village,town,large town...) and a population that influences the prices.
We can capture colonies, and build up their infranstructure (with accent on defence infranstructure) to protect them from the other countries.
We can now hire 3 officers per tavern . Also,now there are a lot of positions for them to occupy.For example,we may want to hire a good trader for quartermaster ( to take care of our transactions,money...) , or someone skilled in defence will be a good surgeon ( he will heal our crew ) and some other ones.
If we place an officer in this position,we gain all his skill-points as long as he is in the position.
An interesting new feature is that of "food consumption" .Our crew-men now need food.Luckiy,food isn't that expensive ,but takes a big part of our hold (for example a warship class ship has 900 men .These can take 2000 food for about 2 months.
Also,we can now talk to other ships close to us.If they are friends(or smugglers) we can trade with them on the water ,ask for the latest news...
If they are enemies,we can ask for their surrender , or we can also pay them gold to leave us alone.
Smuggling is no longer island-dependent .There are now some goods that are not legal all over the colonies , and we can find smugglers on un-inhabited islands on the map.
When we start,we can go to the governor of our colony,and start state service.State service will include taking people to other islands , escorting ships to other islands , transporting cargo , transporting important official documents and similar things.When we join ,we are given a salary.First one is 1000 gold per month , but it gets bigger if you advance through the ranks (captain,commondore...)
The main map is larger now , and has a lot more islands then previous games.We have islands like Jamaica , Puerto-Rico, Hispagnola , St.Kittis , Barbados (to name only a few of them )...
Quests are based on the same system as in POTC ,but with some small modifications.
We can now meet people on the street or the tavern that want us to escort them , transport them ,get some freight for them ,and even some slave-traders that tell us to get them slaves (as said above-capturing enemy crews) for plantations.
The game uses the same engine as POTC (Storm ) but now it is updated with some fancy new features.
We now have some nice anti-aliasing effects, better and more detailed models for ships and for people , nicer water-effects , more realistic towns...
At night ,the ships now have lights , and they are quite nicely done.
The game works pretty well FPS -wise , with only some minor losses of FPS when we look at a large concentration of people or houses , or in very crouded sea-battles.
The interface is a bit changed from POTC ,but you will recognise some things.
It is cleaner and more efficient over-all .The player and ship icons can be a little confusing at times,but you will understand them easily in no time .
Sound : Sound is very good,and fits well with the atmosphere.Cannons sound a bit better,and explosions sound much more convincing .
At times,the soundtrack might crash a bit , then resume and play 2 songs at the same time ,but this happens with other games and can be fixed by exiting the game and entering it again.
Other bugs: Haven't noticed to many bugs with quests , except with one where you are supposed to take some freight to a merchant , and the quest does not end for some reason , resulting in the same loop of conversation about "I have delivered your cargo" with the shop-keeper.
Also,very rarely , the game might crash when going from the sea screen to the map screen ,so save before doing anything important.
The game now also has an auto-save feature ,and it saves the game before boardings and some other events.
Overall:This is a great game for fans of the Sea Dogs series , an despite it's little control problems , can be very fun and entertaining.Also,open-ended story and the freedom to do what you want can be very attractive for people new to this action-adventure-ship fighting genre.
So,if you like adventure games , or swashbuckling games ,or both alike , then buy this game and I guarantee you will enjoy it!