previewed on PC
Pirates have always been popular (well, perhaps not during the actual era of Piracy), but not always in popular culture. Since the global success of the film Pirates of the Caribbean, there has been stark raise in the sales of almost all Pirate-related merchandise. Since then, clever developers and publishers have been pushing for more Pirate themed games?and here we have yet another to add to our bulging barrel of niche gaming. Will this bring anything new to this, so quickly over-milked genre of gaming?
I am happy to report that yes, Age of Pirates: Captain Blood looks set to look at the pirate genre in a new light. Whereas previous games, such as the incantations of Sid Meier's Pirates! and the title of a different subtitle: Age of Pirates: Caribbean tales, take a rather impersonal role-playing view on things, AoP:CB puts you directly in control of our anti-hero in combat, and at sea.
While the game is based on the novel by Rafael Sabatini of the same name, the developer Akella and the publisher Playlogic have promised that the game will have a faithful yet lenient storyline, and can easily appeal to casual gamers and avid 'Pirate-Game-philes' alike.
In Sabatini's original, a physician named Peter Blood is captured and sent as a slave into the Caribbean and the novel mainly deals with how Captain Blood attempts to clear his name, while also roaming the Caribbean as a pirate. Sabatini has openly admitted that he took some of the major plot points in the novel from the actual exploits of Sir Henry Morgan - another figure well known by pirate enthusiasts.
The (unsalted) meat of the matter
Graphically, the game looks solid. From fluid water effects to detailed knotting in the ships' hulls, it is easy to see a great deal of work has gone into it. The combat animations imitate real motion soundly, and are a pleasure to watch. The variety of enemies is plenty, all with detailed and authentic costumes, and facial expressions to match your actions (most poignantly, a gaunt face when you've thrust your rapier through their chest). Though there is still some time until its release in the third quarter of this year, for everything to be truly polished (the blood effects looked a bit powdery).