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.
Pirates? RPG? I'm there!
Game looks pretty good, although it would be a little bit of a surprise if it scores above an 8.
Im interested. I dont like having customization and having to roll with a specfic persons identity, that always throws me off. But I have been wanting to play a pirate game for a long time where I could do all the things you mentioned. As long as I dont end up looking like just about every one else it sounds promising to me.
excellent, let's hope its a pleasant surprise in the game space next year. looks like a good PC title
The last Pirates game I played was pretty cool for it's time. It had just about zero to do with the movies, but it was still a lot of fun. I hope to see this one go that direction also.
I was on the fence about this one (most movie based games tend to suck) but this preview has peaked my interest. I might have to pick this one up.
My buddy is/was a playtester on this game.
Finally, a game that might actually capture the essence of being a pirate to succeed Sid Meier's Pirates amazing, though limited, iteration.
this looks surprizingly slick
Wow, looks a lot better than the previous Pirates of the Caribbean games for sure.
Wow, this actually looks cool. Hope it is as good as promised!
Drink up me hearties yo ho!
looks great, I like the look of that ship
Man, this game sounds very interesting and well-designed. I hope it turns out to be really good. Third Person Action RPGs are my favorite games.
wow that ship looks amazing. (the bottom one). really.
this is the second article ive read about this game via GI so it must mean its really something to look forward to. im anxious now. :)
This looks even better than the old Pirates game (forgot the name) for the PS2... or sometime around that era. ***, what a horrible example I came up with. Anyway, it looks really well made and I can't wait to see the finished product!
"It's like" Red Dead Redemption, only Pirates! Lol. :P
finally giving the license something worthy instead of shoddy and quick cash ins, its about time. i hope that it turns out as awesome as it sounds
Wow, this looks pretty good. I didn't expect much from the pirate area since Disney commercialized the hell out of it. But this looks a lot better. If its similar to Mass Effect, count me in.
Wow I can't wait.
I was just thinking the other day that I would like to play a good pirate game while I was playing Red Dead Redemption (I love those cannons). Also comparing it to two of the games I think are ones I would love if I ever got the Xbox 360 is a big bonus.
I'm so excited for this. Been readin and re-readin articles about for atleast a month now. Maybe more.