reviewed on PC
Age of Pirates 2.5
It’s time to set sail for glory, riches and adventure … again, in Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships from the Akella / Playlogic team. Set in the golden age of piracy in the Caribbean, Age of Pirates 2 allows the player to take control of one of three heroic adventurers as they try to make a name for themselves on the Raging Main.
For those who have played one of Akella’s previous pirate titles, the similarities are immediately apparent. New technology has improved the graphics, sound and game play, but my very first thought was, “Hey, that’s the Sea Dogs music!” I hope you like more of the same because mechanically, very little has changed between Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales and Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships.
As with the previous games, the sea flows freely with ships, gold and blood. The four major European powers of the era, Spain, England, France and the Netherlands are at each other’s throats over territory and resources. After starting the game, you choose one of the four factions as your Empire (or try and go it alone), and one of three player classes - Corsair, Merchant or Adventurer. Unfortunately, the differences between the actual classes are relatively minor besides starting equipment and character stats in the new PIRATES role-playing system.
PIRATES of the Caribbean
PIRATES, the new character development system, stands for Power – Insight- Reaction – Authority – Talent – Endurance – Success. When you start the game, you assign points to these different attributes. The PIRATES system allows you to make a very specialized character that will excel at specific skills. This will leave your character relying on ship officers to handle the other skills he himself is not proficient in. While it’s more realistic, those who like making well rounded characters will be disappointed. The game favors characters with specific skill sets, and well rounded characters will find themselves below average in all fields, while still requiring the assistance of officers.
Your character can also level up in two ways – himself and his ship. When a character levels up, he earns a point that can be applied to skills like swordplay, personal defense and pistol skills. Ship level-ups allow you to use skill points to improve things like navigation, gunnery, defense, medical and trade. These levels increase independently of each other, and you improve your specific skills the more you use them.
You want me to go where?!
Once you get your sea legs, you’ll want to start looking for income. Unfortunately, the early levels are the hardest levels in the game. Expect to be outmanned and outgunned on the high seas. The safest way to make some petty cash is to check towns for missions. One frustrating facet of the quests is that your country’s alliances are not taken into account. For example, if you are Spanish and are given a delivery quest to England, but England and Spain are at war, expect to be attacked the moment you set foot on English soil. The mission generator should take allegiances into account so you’re not stuck with a mission you can’t complete. Another bother is the fact that the missions are timed, with the penalty for failing a mission a hefty hit to your reputation. Reputation is very important in Age of Pirates 2. It governs what officers you can hire, how loyal they are to you and whether or not other NPCs will trust you enough to give you their own missions.
Well developed naval combat. Great ship design. Open ended non-linear play.
Crashes like there's no tomorrow. Some balancing issues between difficulty and character level.