|My first experience with Pirates of the Burning Sea was at Gen Con several years ago when I first got to play an early beta. At the time I was very much looking forward to this game, but a year later I somehow missed its launch and completely forgot about it until recently.
Numerous patches later and having gone Free to Play I figured it was time to tackle this high seas adventure. For a 7.5G initial download I felt this game was going to be epic, and while it’s solid and enjoyable, if you don’t like slow paced games, you’re probably due for some frustration.
First things first, the character creator is great. While you select a country of origin and career, which affects your starting missions, you have a lot of control over the look of your captain. Want to be a pirate dressed in the most elegant of fashion? How about a female merchant in a tie top and mini skirt? Your character’s look is completely unrelated to your career. While you’ll receive equipment later on, it won’t change your appearance; though you can change your characters dress when you want if you get bored of your look or want to role play your progression.
I began as a French Freetrader; other affiliation options include British, Spanish and Pirate. All of which, except Pirate, have career choices of Naval Officer, Privateer and Freetrader. Each has unique features, which aren’t apparent in the character creation screen. If you’re interested in playing the game, I highly recommend taking a look at the many fan site wiki’s available that can go in depth on what to expect.
The game placed me in Florida, and I was quickly impressed. While the game is aged, it still looks decent on current systems; in addition, it ran very smooth. The starting missions gave me the option to do a couple of tutorials, both for ship and land combat. More opened up later on that covered tactics such as boarding and capturing other vessels. However, for the most part the game was very lenient with me and the starting quests, non-tutorial, I felt eased me into the game play fairly well.
There is indeed some story and lore, but one of the greatest aspects of the game is its PVP and when on the open sea you can get a feeling of anxiety when other ships are headed your way, be they friend, foe or passerby. The ability to take and control ports for up to 48 hours or simply sack them for resources as a pirate is quite simply, awesome. The plethora of Skills in this game, for both land and sea allow for very unique characters.
My only gripe with this game, and why I feel it may not be for everyone, is also a key part that makes this game very solid in my opinion, and that is the sailing. Sails, wind direction and maneuverability are probably the closest one could get to a sailing simulator. Because of this, ship battles can take a very long time for those who aren’t patient or can plan ahead strategically for where multiple ship paths may end up.
This unfortunately meant it wasn’t for me, but it may be for you if you have the hard drive space and bandwidth to download the game, it’s definitely worth a few weekends of play.