Generally, then, it’s all good news for PotBS. The quests are fun, there’s a healthy sense of progression and the Caribbean atmosphere is strong. It helps that the graphics engine, at least running at full-tilt on my Core 2 Quad 6850/Asus GeForce 8800 Ultra system, looks very nice indeed, with a little of WoW’s welcoming cartooniness but with the addition of some lovely tropical lighting and a character that’s all its own. Head out to sea, and the ocean waves look beautiful, with plenty of activity and detail visible aboard your ship. PotBS also packs in a fine selection of jaunty nautical music along with some suitably strident battle themes. In many MMOs you can sense the cut corners and rough edges that result in the rush to market. Here, as with WoW and LoTRO, you can see the love and attention that has gone into the game.
As always, it’s impossible to stick a final verdict on an MMO this early in. The game might develop for the better or the worse, it might grow dull as I rise up the rankings, everyone might desert the servers for the next big thing, and – inevitably – your experience might differ. On the one hand, PotBS is a complex MMO, and while it makes a credible attempt to explain its various features and systems, it doesn’t always succeed quite as well as it could. For this reason, I’d still rate WoW, Guild Wars or LoTRO above it for newcomers to the genre.
A little more variety (and intelligence) in the on-foot enemies might also help with the overall sense of immersion. We’re still talking about a majority of dozy henchmen who hang around not responding until you get within a certain range, and who fail to help when comrades within line of sight are attacked. I hope that one day this will be a thing of a past.
That said, this is the best time I’ve had in an MMO since I first played LoTRO last year, and I think it’s bursting with long-term potential. So for now, I’ll steal a line from Xavier Atencio and the classic theme park ride come movie come cultural phenomenon; “yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me.”
The freshest, most enjoyable MMO experience since LoTRO and WoW. Step onboard, me hearties, and grab a piece of the pirate life.
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