It is not unusual to see popular movies or novels are adopted into video games of various kinds in the entertainment market. Pirates of the Caribbean is one of them. Though we’ve gotten quite a few of the movie-inspired games such as the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, we have another newly released one in the series known as Pirates of the Caribbean: Isles of War from Playdom.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Isles of War sets its background story right before the Curse of the Black Pearl and creates an enthralling pirate-related tone with a series of interactive cut-scenes with Captain Jack Sparrow. The captain is depicted into its usual eccentric and charming style and leading us into the core of the game, base building and strategic sea fight.
As led by the prelude, the player as a baron from prestigious family will take charge of a small island using it as a base while trying to chase the Captain. For those with experience with some RTS games, you will find it natural to get into the essence of the Isles of War immediately, for the core here is not much different from what you usually get in games of this kind. Building the island and setting sails to fight enemies constitute the majority of the quest line.
You will need to construct a series of structures related to production of resources and ships, research of ship parts and weapons, trade and diplomacy and so on in your island. Different buildings serve varied roles in development and constructing and upgrading them make you grow with greater power. In terms of game pace, time is still the essence. And in order to reduce the waiting-time-caused quitting in the very beginning, the game offers a special treat for newbies, i.e. instant completion for free for any projection under 8 minutes. Such a design gives players a quick start and a favorite impression of quick action and by so achieves its goal in retention.
Besides construction, sea battle is another important element of the quest line. Once you manage your fleet and have your ships in their best status, you can deploy them in the port, sending them to the open sea and finding the suitable enemies to join a fight. When a battle starts, you control your ships to sail forward and steer them in good timing to bring enemies into the ships’ broadside ranges in which your cannons will fire automatically. The general control is responsive but you can’t operate ships freely as they are set to sail in straight lines and the first ship set trails with others following.
You will have numerous battles to fight. Take out five scavenger fleets, defeat 6 bootlegger bases and eliminate 8 peddlers – you have a long war list and can get resources and coins as rewards in victory. While the sea battle tastes good in the beginning, it becomes less appealing due to several reasons: first, the strategies of the game are more about the equipment of the weapons and the different types of ships than players’ involvement and control in a battle; then, the fleet repairing work, or rather the constant cut scene, is interruptive and inconvenient because you have to enter the base after a battle to have your ships repaired and then deploy them out again to the sea instead of fighting several battles continuously in one departure from the island; and at last, the numerous missions concerning battles are just grinding quests that have nothing to do with the storyline.
If you are seeking for greater challenge, you can participate in naval combat against real players. To emerge victorious in the fiercer war is one stimulus for players to manage their islands and create powerful ships and weapons. Newbies have the traditional protection period and the common features like allies are also included.
To sum up, the game approaches the RTS and naval battle genre with a handy pirate theme. It chooses to draw upon the appeals of the popular movies but fails to exploit the potential of its aspiration in its own storyline. Other than the attractive prelude, it returns to a common tactical war game, solid yet conventional. Overall, Pirates of the Caribbean: Isles of War is above the average in the RTS field with its responsive control, great graphics and proper background music, but needs further improvement to become one of the best that can be recommended without hesitation.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Isles of War Screenshots: