Whether you’re a traditional scurvy dog sailing the seas, an aspiring pirate boss or a novice facing a terrifying undead captain wielding voodoo magic, this is the port you should call. Considering how heterogeneous this list is, boasting titles ranging from strategy games to RPGs, it has been difficult to establish a ranking and compare such games.
Due to such diversity, the evaluation parameter cannot be only the general quality of the games in general. To make a proper list, some other aspects have been taken into account: how such titles embodied the pirate spirit and the influence they had on the gaming scene and on the genre they belong to.
10/10 Tropico 2: Pirate Cove
The pirate-themed strategy game made by Frog City Software, one of the studios that became part of Firaxis Games in 2006, is the highlight of this list. The game offers a good level of fidelity as far as the setting is concerned, and you can play the unusual role of a pirate king and manage both your team of raiders and the prisoners.
The mechanics are simple and make the title accessible and ready to play, but in some ways it feels sketchy. Despite being fascinating, Tropico 2 is not very deep and has a weak challenge.
9/10 Risen 2: Dark Waters
Piranha Bytes is a unique game studio and always will be, for better or for worse. Back in the day, these developers started making Western RPGs that somehow became a cult for a specific niche of gamers, especially on the PC. The game was known for its Fantasy setting, strong atmosphere, fascinating story-telling and punishing experience flooded with bugs and sluggish gameplay mechanics. Born as the spiritual sequel to the gothic franchise, Risen 2: Dark Waters, despite its flaws, is a game true to its roots with a recognizable identity.
8/10 Lego Pirates Of The Caribbean
Jack Sparrow, probably the most famous pirate of all time, has to sit, lonely, just a few steps above the bottom of this list. He accepts his fate as he admires the horizon from the crow’s nest of his sinking ship made of bricks, as he did in The Curse of the Black Pearl. Lego Pirates of The Caribbean is a pretty decent game that manages to entertain both young and adult players and delivers some pretty fun adventures for fans of the franchise.
7/10 Rogue Galaxy
Nivå-5 made an ARPG that inherits the best of the Dark Cloud series and borrows some elements from the competition brand Square Enix, and delivers a great game. Technically, Rogue Galaxy is a polished title with solid graphics and an exciting game pace.
The action is restless as there are no transitions between combat and exploration, and the combat system, unlike the usual turn-based JRPG, is a real-time hack-and-slash. Jaster Rogue’s journey is in the lower end of this list due to the lack of character development and not-so-brilliant writing.
6/10 Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire
Obsidian Entertainment is synonymous with quality in the RPG field and the Pillars of Eternity series is no less. Eora and its history that serves as a backdrop to the adventures of the “Watcher” are shining gems. In a world of top-notch graphics and pumped game engines, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire manages to offer a great, tactical and immersive isometric pirate experience that boasts both turn-based and real-time gameplay, all enriched by top-notch voice acting and a great soundtrack composed by Justin E. Bell.
5/10 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The second half of this list begins with the adventure of Edward James Kenway. Black Flag is the first chapter in the franchise to drop its anchor on the eighth generation of video game home consoles, and the legacy of the series was duly honored.
Closely related to Assassin’s Creed III, story-wise, it made a great debut with a game that reinvigorated the pirate theme in video games. Assassin’s Creed IV offered a compelling narrative and great ship combat mechanics that became the basis for Skull and Bones.
4/10 Sid Meier’s Pirates!
A true legend among video game designers, Sid Meier is the man behind some great strategy and simulation franchises. Also, he is the father of the Civilization series, the masterpiece of 4X games whose total sales exceeded 50 million copies. Sid Meier’s Pirates! met expectations in 2004, offering a great gaming experience and letting you be whoever you want to be, providing a sense of freedom that every true pirate aims to achieve. It hasn’t aged very well and today feels a bit repetitive, and because of that it didn’t manage to reach the podium.
3/10 Skies of Arcadia
The bronze medal goes to Skies of Arcadia, one of the masterpieces released on the Sega Dreamcast that unfortunately ended up being a commercial failure. Developed by industry veterans who worked on major franchises such as Phantasy Star, Sonic the Hedgehog, Panzer Dragoon and Sakura Wars, this title is a gem both from a technical point of view and the quality of the writing. Skies of Arcadia moves intelligently through the canonical style traits of JRPGs, managing to offer an exciting pirate story with epic ship-to-ship battles.
2/10 Sea of thieves
This game had a very rough launch, but with free update after free update it managed to be one of the most immersive multiplayer games from the last two generations of Xbox consoles and PC. Expanding the spectrum of influence, Sea of Thieves can be considered one of the most immersive experiences of modern gaming.
It has unique game mechanics, a stunning environment and a satisfying horizontal progression that frees itself from stats, numbers, builds and skill trees. The story-driven content is fascinating and presented through compelling lore and exciting missions.
1/10 The Monkey Island series
More than thirty years after the release of The Secret of Monkey Island, Guybrush Threepwood has returned in a big way to honor one of the biggest and most beloved franchises in gaming and to reclaim the crown as king of this list. To have to choose a specific title among the series, it would have to be Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, but the value of this saga lies in its perfectly woven whole. The iconic humor, clever puzzles and catchy dialogue all contribute to the portrait of an epic and unforgettable pirate tale.
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