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Pirate 101 Review

Pirate 101 Review

Free to play Fantasy MMO

Publisher: Kingisle 

Released: 2012

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I downloaded Pirate 101 expecting to be disappointed. The screenshots and imagery on their official website make it look like some evil Frankenstein’s monster of a game for Kinect and some cheap fantasy MMO. Talking animals? Check. “Cute” pirates? Check. This was going to be a game that tried too hard, that wanted us to love it despite its shallow gameplay and with little support from the developers.

Pirate 101 Gameplay Video

Yes, I knew what Pirate 101 was going to offer from the second I went to download it. But I was wrong, on so many levels. Pirate 101 is a game that doesn’t always glimmer, but considering that it’s brand new and that with a little polish it’ll truly shine, that isn’t at all a problem. It isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be but could it be actually worth your time? Read on, you might just be surprised.

Pirate101 review - Positives

A Pirate’s Life for Me – Pirate 101 offers 3 distinct styles of play, all of which could make up a game of their own (and have, in other titles). This is a game that offers sailing and boat combat, RPG exploration and tactical RPG battle. With so much variety, it’s going to take you a while to get bored. This is made even more impressive by the fact that multiplayer combat and social options are so plentiful that no battle is ever the same twice.

Pirate 101 Screenshot 1

Making FriendsThe social aspects of Pirate 101 are amazing and so obvious it’s surprising they’ve never really been done before. If you’re in the middle of one of the tactical battles, people can join to help you on the fly. Want to sail around with friends on your boat? They can handle some of the up close and personal stuff while you sail the boat. You’ll find yourself interacting with others on far more regular a basis than perhaps you’re used to, and I have to say that’s a great thing.

Pirate 101 Screenshot 2

Sword FightingThe battle system in Pirate 101 is really fun, offering another attempt at the tactical RPG genre on a massively multiplayer scale (along with Wakfu). Turn based combat allows you to strategically battle your way through legions of monsters, only this time you’ll get to play with others right from the beginning.

Playing a RoleAt its heart though, Pirate 101 is an MMORPG and you’ll spend time doing quests and speaking with the various inhabitants of the world. Usually this wouldn’t be enough to get a mention at all, let alone a place in our positives list, but the world is delivered in such a beautiful, charming way that it feels different enough that even the most quest-bored of people might find themselves enjoying the jovial atmosphere.

Pirate 101 Screenshot 3

Pirate 101 Review - Neutrals

Like Wearing an Eye Patch – The graphics aren’t fantastic, and although they’re better than many of the MMOs out there, you’re still not going to feel blown away, even on the fullest settings. It’s not just the immediate visual impact that’s underwhelming either, but it’s not unusual to see your followers walk through things as if they’re not there. There’s plenty of colour though and they stylization is done well, so I suppose it comes down to your system and what you’re looking for.

Pirate 101 Screenshot 4

Pacing Yourself – Although the ship segments do offer a glimpse at a more action-based battle system, the tactical bits are a little bit slower than your average MMO. That’s especially true if you’re fighting as part of a huge group (each controlling both their player character and a couple of NPC characters), you’re probably looking at up to three or four minutes per fight. It doesn’t feel slow, but compared to other MMORPGs on the market; you’ll spend much more time fighting than usual.

Pirate 101 Screenshot 5

Pirate 101 Review - Negatives

Riding the High Seas – As much as I love the RPG and tactical RPG elements to the game, the sailing segments are less impressive. It controls ok, I suppose, and there may even be moments of real excitement as you get further through your adventure, but to begin with it just feels rather dry. The ironic thing is that it’s slightly more like your traditional MMORPG battle system than the game’s actual battle system. I don’t know whether that was something done on purpose to try to please everybody, but it’s not nearly as interesting as the tactical moments.

Pirate 101 Review - The Conclusion

Pirate 101 is an absolutely fantastic new MMO, a game that manages to capture everything that was well-loved in films like Pirates of the Caribbean but makes it interactive.

It’s personality is the best thing about it and I could spend hours exploring everything the developers have given the players, but that’s only helped by the general high quality of the game as a whole. There are a few missteps which will probably be fixed in the near future, but even the problems aren’t important enough to ruin the game.

Click here to play Pirate 101 for free->

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