Tortuga - Two Treasures Updated Impressions - Ship Combat

CDV shows off the latest progress in this action adventure game that lets you play as a pirate of the Caribbean.

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In the wake of games such as Sid Meier's Pirates! and movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, CDV is prepping Tortuga - Two Treasures, an action adventure game that puts you in the boots of an 18th-century pirate. In Tortuga, you get to play as Thomas "Hawk" Blythe, a young pirate captain who works for the most infamous pirate of them all, Edward "Blackbeard" Teach. However, after being betrayed by Blackbeard, Hawk has to set out on his own in his ship, the Hawkwind. The goal of the game is to uncover the treasure of famous pirate Henry Morgan, though there promises to be plenty of battling and romancing along the way. You'll sail around a virtual Caribbean, visiting different ports, trading ill-gotten booty, and engaging in battle on the high seas.

Use chain shot to shred enemy sails and rigging. In other words, make your target a sitting duck.
Use chain shot to shred enemy sails and rigging. In other words, make your target a sitting duck.

Since we last saw the game earlier this year, we're told that the battles have been lightened up to make them more accessible for casual players. For instance, sailing is easier now. It doesn't appear that you have to worry about the direction of the wind so much anymore, so you can focus on maneuvering your ship to unload broadsides into the enemy. These sailing vessels also zip around at a pretty fast clip, too. However, challenges will come in many forms. Sailing your ship through a reef will cause the bottom of the hull to scrape against the coral, causing damage. If your sailors get knocked overboard, you can try to save them before the circling sharks get to them. (And if you slam into a shark, you'll kill it.)

While the difficulty is being eased for casual players, there will still be some depth to the combat. For example, you can play with three different types of cannon shot in the game. Regular cannonballs are useful for punching holes in the hull. Grapeshot is basically shrapnel, so you can shred the crew on the decks with it. Then there's chain shot, which is designed to rip apart the sails and the rigging of a ship to slow it down.

Combat goes beyond ship battles, as well. Boarding actions let you jump aboard an enemy vessel and engage in sword battles for control. One of the interesting aspects of this is that you can simply bypass most of the fights and head straight for the opposing captain, or you can help out your crew in their fights. By going for the shortcut, you can bring the battle to an end quickly if you defeat the captain; however, taking the longer route lets you recover more gold from fallen sailors. The combat is tied heavily into using the mouse. Clicking the left mouse button swings a sword, while clicking the right mouse button can be used to block incoming attacks. Because this is a third-person action game, you control Hawk by using the traditional W, A, S, and D keys on the keyboard.

But it's not just battles in Tortuga. We were able to see a British port as Hawk learned that a wall in the town, covered with ivy, contained an important clue. You'll be able to wander around these towns to do your business, be it trade or otherwise. Just be careful not to arouse the interest of the guards, or else you'll have to fight your way out of town. Of course, that might be just what you want. Still, Tortuga's mix of swashbuckling and adventure looks like it'll appeal to pirate fans. The game is scheduled to ship in March.

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