By Mario Garcia
Manufacturer: Flying Lab Software / Sony Online Entertainment
Review Rating: 6
Website: Pirates of the Burning Sea
The MMO Pirates of the Burning Sea by Flying Lab Software and Sony online entertainment is a fun journey into 18th Century world of pirates. Three factions are fighting for control of the Caribbean and its lucrative wealth. English Spanish and French Factions give career options such as officer privateer and freetrader. The of course there are the Pirates carving a name out for themselves in history.
Early in the game the missions play out like most MMOs however, due to the locations alot of these quests are instanced. I went through a few missions trying to locate where to find the bad guys only to discover that i had to go to the shipmaster and select the mission which went to a loading screen and then i found myself standing near the place i was but in combat. Hand to hand combat was a bit clunky, very much like most MMO’s and consisted of scripted moves depending on your skill level and combat style. Taking to the seas was something i looked forward to. The ships moved quite nicely between the different ports and though it did take a bit of time going from one port to another I was never bored. The animations of the ships and the great soundtrack really gave it a truly epic scale. Approaching an enemy ship would pull you into a combat mode that was truly the star of the game for me. You had to keep track of the wind in order to keep from becoming a sitting duck, since you have to be moving in order to bring your cannons to bear on the enemy. The different types of ammo available for the cannons also helped keep the combat fresh; do you pound on their hull with heavy shot or load bar or landrige and take out their sails and crew. The economy is a bit more daunting and like eve online is complicated but can allow your average player to really become a powerful character in the world.
The graphics on land are mediocre most of the charachters look like plastic dolls (beware of very sharp looking facial hair). Occasional glitches in NPC movements, like carrying non existent barrels and stiff legged walking, removed some of the immersion. On the open sea and in combat you really did feel a nice sense of the scale of the battles. The soundtrack was one of the best parts of the game, really lending to the excitement and swashbuckling action. Hand to hand combat as well as conveying the scale and might of the great fighting ships added to the realism. I was a bit disturbed with the lack of players that were around. It seems as if this game’s heyday had come and gone which is a disappointment since the richness of the world feels like it could have been a really fun game for any pirate fan.
Overall i think this game offers a richness and complexity that most other “easier to play” MMO’s like World of warcraft lack. Though casual players may be turned off by the learning curve players who enjoy a rich and complex experince will like this game. Hopefully it will be around to play for a while yet.