The lights are on
Gamers can be forgiven if they don't have a lot of affection for the previous attempts to bring Disney's Pirates franchise into the video game space. Though the popularity of the movie franchise has helped those games succeed commercially, they've often failed to garner critical praise. That pattern looks like it's about to change based on our hands-on time with Armada of the Damned, an exciting new project being developed by Propaganda Games.This new Pirates game is a prequel to the first trilogy of movies. Players adopt the role of Sterling, a pirate that came to the Caribbean for his own reasons but was forced to stay when he became cursed. Early on, players must choose whether Sterling will become a dreaded or legendary pirate. Legendary pirates are agile, roguish fighters who use their wits, tricks, and tools to get by, and their appearance tends to be brighter and more friendly (if a tad scoundrel-like). Dread pirates have a darker air, having been changed by the experience of giving in to the mystic traditions of the islands. They have access to magic-like powers, and their battle style tends to use heavier weapons and brutish combat moves.While every player will be Sterling, there is enormous flexibility to shape the character's appearance and abilities after the game begins. A huge number of clothing options exist in the world, and most of them have designated buffs and bonuses, much like armor in a medieval fantasy game. In addition, players level up along two distinct progression trees. One is for sea-based ship abilities, and the other is for land based character action.
During the game, players pilot a ship called the Nemesis as its sails among the islands. There is a great deal of ship to ship combat, including the option to board other vessels and switch into melee combat. Whether during a ship boarding or on land, the combat feels fresh and fast, with some great animations that communicate a lot of the wit of the franchise. Battles have standard control options with a few fun tweaks that should be interesting to experiment with. Light and heavy attacks can be combined to craft combos, while other combos occur through well-timed button presses. Players also have a pistol button for a quick long range shot. In addition, there are the expected defend and dodge motions. Another great feature is the ability to pass on curses to your enemies. These debuffs can turn the tide of a fight, and help to lead to one of the gorgeous finishing moves that abound in the game. Many players will note similarities to games like Fable in the land portion of the game. This apt comparison carries through to the ability to shape the world with the decisions you make. Whether you play as dreaded or legendary, you still have full access to decision-making trees, each of which can change your relationships with characters or places. The speech system shares much in common with Mass Effect's lauded approach, where a flick of the left analog selects your dialogue option. Characters that you meet have a wealth of information to share for players who are interested in role-playing and learning more about the lore of the game. Alternately, most mission givers have straightforward options that move the action forward. We didn't go into our meeting for Pirates with great expectations, but came out pleasantly amazed at the potential of the game. The action is already looking extremely solid, and there is great potential for an RPG set in this universe. Best of all, for as good as it looks, the game still has months to polish before release. Armada of the Damned will be out sometime in 2011 for PS3, 360, and PC.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.
Sounds like a real Pirate game. The movies were awesome!
I'll give it a shot.
I've been a space explorer and a commando. I've been a ninja and a cowboy. Now I can finally be a pirate. You could fake being a pirate in Fable 2 but this looks like the first chance to really get to be one.
if you told me a year ago that a Pirates of the Caribbean game looks great i would have laughed in your face. but man, does this game look good. i saw some of the gameplay bits and it is very much like a Fable game but with pirates! i can't wait to hear more.
As long as it doesn't suck as bad as the PS2, and XBOX versions of Pirates, I'll be happy.
Pirates and role-playing? Be still my heart.
Nice. As soon as I finish my pile of game I have unfinished, I will be sure to look into this little gem.
So it's like Mass Effect but with pirates....awesome.
Better than Ninjas of the Caribbean.
looks like this might be good
I'll rent it first to try it out.
I think I'll at least rent it. I've been waiting for a serious pirate games for years. This looks one step closer to that goal.
eh, never really wanted to be a pirate when i was a kid. im more of a ninja. but this game looks pretty good, not gonna lie
This game looks quite promising. I always appreciate it when licensed games go out on a limb and craft original storylines. Though it would be nice to have cameos from the series.
I don't know about this.
Nice, I've been waiting for a good Pirates game