Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise showed that Disneyland rides had a place in the cinema, as long as they had Legolas and Johnny Depp wearing gallons of eyeliner. Unfortunately, the games that were released along with the films left a lot to be desired. However, just in time for the upcoming fourth movie in the franchise, Disney is hard at work on producing a brand new game set in the Pirates of the Caribbean universe, Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned.
Armada of the Damned is a standalone action-RPG with a storyline that occurs wholly independently from the film franchise and its characters. In fact, it’s a prequel to the original Pirates trilogy. While you will run across some characters and locations from the movies, the characters and your main protagonist, Captain Sterling, are newly created for the game. Sterling is looking to rebuild a truly awe-inspiring pirate ship, the Nemesis, and is travelling the world searching for the missing pieces to complete it. He’ll encounter strange worlds and characters in his pursuit, which will ultimately lead him to fame and infamy on the high seas.
Armada of the Damned presents the player with a choice from the get-go. You’re able to choose whether or not you want Sterling to be Legendary or Dreaded. Mind you, this is not a choice between “good” and “bad”; you are a pirate after all, and will be doing some pretty despicable things regardless. However, your decision will ultimately have consequences on the course that the game plays out.
There are other events within the game that will require you to make decisions between personal gain and the good of all that also have some pretty dire consequences. At one moment, you’ll be on an island and forced to decide whether or not to return a golden idol or keeping it for its worth. Returning the idol actually saves the island, after which the cursed indigenous population will return to normal and sing praises to your name. However, by keeping the idol, you damn the residents to turn into giant crablike monsters that will attack you upon leaving. Return to the island at a later time, and you will find it a far cry from how you left it, with an unstable volcano decimating the once lush tropical setting and crab monsters everywhere.
The game boasts a pretty action-packed combat system, with light attacks, heavy attacks, combos, and ranged gun attacks. You also have the ability to curse enemies, which puts them in a state where you are capable of inflicting more damage than usual. This can also be chained, as knocking a cursed enemy into another will curse him as well. The system seemed quite fluid and easy to pull off. Additionally, the game has a pretty nice upgrade tree system, and the ability to purchase new weapons and items.
Armada of the Damned is looking to be a fine entry to the Pirates of the Caribbean universe, and one to look for if you’re a fan of the franchise. Check it out in 2011.