Title: Pirates of Black Cove
Release Date: August 2011
Publisher (Developer): Paradox Interactive (Nitro Games)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Drug and Alcohol references, mild language, mild sexual themes, mild violence
Pros: Quirky humor, beautiful world, pacing is very deliberate
Cons: Control responsiveness is inconsistent, pacing is very deliberate, tends to over-complicate itself
Overall Score: Two thumbs sideways; 70/100; C-, ** out of five.
Pirates of Black Cove seems like an interesting game. It’s an adventure role-playing game mixed with a strategy game. Even better, it’s got exactly what it advertises: Pirates from the 16th Century.
The clans of pirates are split and warring. You’re a lowly humble pirate and, if you do the right thing, you’ll bring unity to pirates and become the pirate king. What is the right thing? You could try to gain the respect of the other two factions through a multitude of ways. You could also decide to crush the other two factions, also through a multitude of ways. It is certainly an interesting premise for a game.
The game’s unknown-to-hero plotline is an ambitious one. It’s more to the fact that this exactly plotline has been used quite often in the gaming world. We’re talking a plot that has been used for The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Fable games. Pirates of Black Cove had some pretty big shoes to fill in this regard. The plotline is used well enough for what the game is. It’s not a genius storyline, just an adequate one with the way that it is used.
The all-pirate humor works really well. Even though Some of the jokes and puns are groaners, there’s something endearing about it. There are goofy pirate-related pun names like Walker de Planc or Jolie Roger (as I said, there are some groaners). You’re also going to end up finding message bottles in the sea that hold hilariously bad jokes. Its quirky humor definitely is a strong point.
The world is beautiful, especially when you’re on your ship and at seas. The waves and times when you choose to fight or are forced into a ship-to-ship battle to the sinking are beautifully rendered. I could get behind the world that we’re treated to. It really is something that should grab the attention of most gamers.
The pacing in terms of travel is very deliberate. It offers a sense of realism in this realm of jokes, puns and bad jokes piled on top of each other. The pacing also gives you more time to take in what details you can get with the view that we’re given. While it is good, coupled with the bad, the pacing can actually be a problem. On that note, it’s time to look at what’s wrong with the game.
Why’s the Rum Gone?
The control responsiveness level is very inconsistent. I’d understand if it was just slow to act. However, sometimes a turn or acceleration key or the mouse to fire just doesn’t register at all. Other times, the controls are slow to act. Then there are times where the controls respond and act too quickly to be believable. The controls were just designed in such a poor way that I thought that it was one of the jokes of the game, until I realized it was actual gameplay. Even when you’re on land, where the movement is covered by mouse clicks, sometimes clicks don’t register.
The game tends to over-complicate itself. For one thing, it’s an adventure game. You’re also doing a strategy game as well. There are RPG elements and city managing elements. It just feels like this game is trying to figure out what it is as it goes on. While the individual genre elements are solid, they just aren’t designed together in a way that mixes well. It’s feels like the developers were trying to make four solid individual games and decided to sell it as a single game. The product just falls apart at the seams. It’s not irreparable or irredeemable but it is noticeable. There just should have been more done to make sure that the individual elements successfully meld together.
The deliberate pace, even though it is a good thing, becomes a big problem when you realize that the controls aren’t always responsive. This means that you’ll miss turns that you meant to make and will have to backtrack. You might sail right into shots, land or other ships. You might manage to get turned around because suddenly the controls are overly responsive. Then you’ll have to try to get back into trying to face the right direction. These things make the pace of the game almost painful to go through. They needed far more work done on the controls.
Pirates of Black Cove had promise. It’s an admirable attempt at making a game like this but it’s poorly executed. More work needed to be done to make sure that the controls were consistently responsive, even if they weren’t responsive. It would have also been better if the different styles of gameplay were implemented in more seamless ways. At least then it would feel like one product rather than four forced into one title.
Is it worth the $15 price only if you’d buy a game regardless of how bad someone says it is. Otherwise it might be worth grabbing when, and if, the price drops down to $10.
Sorry Nitro Games. Better luck next time. Paradox, I expected better from you.
Site [Pirates of Black Cove]