Sid Meier's Pirates! Live the Life
Sid Meier's swashbuckling adventure is coming to the PSP, with virtually all the Xbox and PC version's features intact...
My imaginary hat really does come off for the legendary Sid Meier. For those not "in the know," he is the man behind such classic games as Civilization, and, more importantly, Pirates!, which was released in what seems like a lifetime ago on the Amiga home console. A remake hit nearly two decades later on the Xbox and PC, and (soon) the PSP.
The main attraction of the Pirates games has always been the delightfully satisfying open-ended gameplay- the game always supplied you with a very vague storyline- you are a pirate (obviously) who is fond of exploration, but who is also on a quest to find his long lost family. Though not much is offered in the way of plotlines, you are given an entire world which you can explore at you will- big enough to be taken seriously but compact enough to enable you to sail quickly between areas, find other ships, in some cases fight other ships, explore towns and fight swashbucklers. You're also given a "storyline helper," taken from the Xbox title, which suggests which objective and goal you should be following, in the boundaries of the game's main plot.
The PSP version has, like the PC version, been made with a more "hands on" gameplay in mind- rather than finding treasure by default the moment you hit land if you have the corresponding map, like in the Xbox version, you're now required to explore the land on foot to find treasure, along with booby traps and other adversaries to hold you back. Apart from traps, guards now patrol on land in a Metal Gear-like fashion (timed movement around a fixed path), and won't be happy of you or one of your men are caught. You're also able to sneak into towns, which is sadly a tad more linear than before, as you can only move into pre-determined squares. The game features a dancing section, which has been made simpler to meet the PSP's spec. The graphics and sound are not as impressive as some other PSP games out at the moment, but the game's features compensate well.
Every aspect that defined the game in recent years, including the choice to obey or disobey a country's laws, and then fighting them in the latter case, is fortunately intact here. This game is sure to excite older fans of the series, while nonetheless appealing to younger PSP owners. Get your dancing boots ready.