Pirates of the Carribbean first impressions

Well, if anyone cares, here are my thought after a few hours of play.

First, this game is pretty in depth and relatively hardcore. For those of you hoping for a mindless action game to tie in to the upcoming film, you’ll be disappointed. For those of you hoping for Sea Dogs II, you should be pretty happy.

It’s obvious that the writing was done by non-native English speakers. It seems a little clumsy at times.

Sword fighting is fun, but it’s a little trickier than it may seem at first. Getting skilled with your block and dodge manuevers are important.

The boats are really fun, although I suck and didn’t get too far (sunk in the first storm I hit).

I have the XBox version and I think the graphics are quite good. What I’m not thrilled with at the moment is the loading/stuttering and the controls. HALO really had great controls for an action game, games need to copy that scheme. The left stick handles all movement, the right sort of controls the camera but it seems pretty limited. The other annoying thing is that when you near a door, it skews the camera automatically and throws off your steering a bit. The frame rates are fine but there are a lot of little stutters here and there for quick loads. Loading between areas takes a while. Not sure how it would be on the PC.

Now I don’t want these complaints to sound like gamebreakers, overall the game in really fun and a lot more complicated than I expected at first. Definitely has an open style to it, with jobs to be had and islands to explore. I’m looking forward to really getting into this one. I liked Morrowind and it’s open-ended gameplay, but I think I may prefer this. Definitely brings back memories of Sid Meier’s Pirates! (never played Sea Dogs).

Other than that, no glitches or freezes at all. No technical troubles of any kind.

I’m in good with one of the managers at a local shop and got a chance to playtest this thing briefly today myself on Xbox when I snagged Frozen Throne. I was somewhat impressed with it myself, but didn’t spend much time on it.

I noticed all of the little quirks such as the strange cache-buffering that caused so many stutters earl on. (Acessing menus, drawing swords, initiating conversations, etc…) They all came equipped with some sort of pause while I heard the Xbox spool info from the DVD. I was afraid that it would be common practice throughout, but at least it seemed to eventually go away once I hit the first town, dunno if it pops up again.

The dynamic camera switching sucks I agree. You can alter the control scheme around, but I actually preferred the default tank-esque ‘world spin’ movement over the camer-relative style because the right analog camera control was really wonky and unresponsive. It’s all good when wandering open areas, but like you mentioned, hitting those interior doorways where the view shifts to a cinematic placement really got irritating. I’m sure you learn to compensate after so many trips.

The upgrade system is your standard fare, but there is quite there to upgrade. I threw pretty much all of my points into melee combat mostly since I was just playtesting it out for a few minutes and wanted to try slaughtering a townful of redcoats. I actually did pretty well, the swordplay is a lot smoother and functional than in Morrowind(what isn’t?) and being able to wintenss actual damage ratios in real-time is great. The blocking and countering really surprised me! With the default shitty rapier, I was able to take out two of the brit guardsmen with some snazzy parrying and timing, of course they got pissed and sent 4 other reinforcements at me to take me out. Forgot the button to access healing supplies and didn’t last.

You spend skill pioints at level-ups to buy feats for your charatcer as well as general skills. (I personnally pumped up Melee combat to Level 3(?) and gave my character the feats in “upgraded defense”, and “Critical blow”. There is an “advanced defense” upgrade as well which combined with these other feats I purchased would allow me to buy the feat “Fencing master” or something to that effect which offers all sorts of melle attack and defense bonuses.

Trading is very simple and easy to follow. Buying and selling cargo works pretty much like Privateer, though I wish they had separated your supplies from the shops instead of stashing it all together on one giant scrollbar.

I didn’t get a chance to really find a quest and make some loot. The first town kept mentioning something about a shopkeeper thrown in jail and I should talk to the mayor, but I couldn’t find the proper house. I then went to the overworld of the island which was pretty small, and without any sort of mini-map feature, I got real lost fast. There was little to do out there on that small initial island anyway, but run through jungle and hit awkward loadtimes. No random thugs to slaughter anywhere?

That was the extent of my experience. Not too shabby, but with Knights of the Old Republic just around the corner, I decided against a purchase.

The stuttering does lessen as the game wears on (at least it did for me), never disappear but definitely a lot more bearable. Maybe that stuttering was from the tutorial guy trying to chime in every 2 seconds after each action. I too was surprised by the melee combat, and hopping on a boat was a lot of fun.

With Star Wars: KOTOR right around the corner, I hesitated at first, but I usually buy a game and play it a little at a time for months and months, so I figured it wouldn’t be too bad having both on my shelf.

didn’t the PC version ship at the same time? Anyone have any experience with that?

Check out the gonegold forums there should be some impressions there too.