Pirates of the Caribbean – PC – Preview

E3 2003

First Look


So you’ve always wanted to sail the high seas, plundering towns,
reveling in infamy for your nautical exploits, and of course wear the standard
eyepatch and parrot on your shoulder.  For many of us, that dream ended when we
realized we lived in landlocked Boise or grew out of our Blackbeard Halloween
costume.  Bethesda offers a tidy solution: pick up a copy of Pirates of the
Caribbean and let the adventures begin. 


Pirates of the Caribbean is an epic RPG title with some serious
action-adventure elements.  Players will really be able to get into their role
as king of the high seas with a variety of options.  Live the life of a pacifist
and control trade in the oceans or rule the seas with a veil of bloodshed and
terror.  The flexibility of the game allows for these opportunities and
everything in between. 


Loosely based on the upcoming movie of the same name (Pirates the
game takes place before the movie and features limited screentime of characters
from the movie), Pirates of the Caribbean is a journey across the seas of the
Caribbean and seven large islands with towns, pirate hideouts, and mysterious
coves.  Much of the travel on foot looks familiar to Bethesda’s Morrowind
series, with interactions in the town operating in similar fashion.  The
developers have intelligently designed a simple system of navigating the towns
easily to keep the focus on progressing through the game and not on mundane
traveling from shop to shop.  The main locations of town hot spots, such as
banks, shops, and taverns, can be arrived at simply with the click of an icon. 
Not every spot has its own icon though, so you’ll have to hoof it to pick up
those smaller mini-quests from locals. 


Where Pirates of the Caribbean really takes off is on the
treacherous oceans.  Never before have I seen a weather system react and look so
good.  The ocean is simply dazzling, and the skies are incredibly realistic day
and night.  If you happen to encounter one of the several storms in the game,
bring your Dramamine, because it’s a topsy-turvy world that publishers Bethesda
Softworks and Akella have produced.  Along with high winds that damage your
sails in real-time, twisting tornados will suck away crewmen, and lighting that
splinters ship hulls, the enormous rocking waves are very challenging to contend


When engaged in naval battles, ships can attack each other with
their ships cannons or board each other for some saber slashing.  Defeated ships
can be looted, scuttled, or even used for your own navy, but just make sure you
have enough crew and officers to man the ship. 


If given a chance, Pirates of the Caribbean should surprise
land-lubbers everywhere.  Its 20 – 40 hours of gameplay should keep pretend
pirates plundering for a long time, and several more hours will be needed to
complete the many sub-quests and side missions. 


Pirates of the Caribbean will be available at the end of June