Flash of Steel header image 2

Sid Meier is ruining my life – again

February 27th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

Thanks to Sid Meier and his minions, I am losing hours of my life playing a game that I already played to death ten years ago. Sid Meier’s Pirates! is consuming time like no game I have played this year, including Rome: Total War. And it shouldn’t.

First, this is a remake. I don’t think anyone is as tired of game designers going back to the tried as true as I am, and few studios are mining the past as effectively as Firaxis. Civ IV is on the way, Civ III was a major success and Pirates is on a lot of top ten lists. Where are the new ideas from the only guy who has earned his name on every box? We had Sid Meier’s SimGolf…and nothing else in a while.

Second, this is one of the most repetitive games on the market. Sail, duel, dance, sail, duel, dance. Ad infinitum. The map doesn’t change, the cinematics don’t change, the menus don’t change. I just criticized a game in a review for having scenarios that are too identical. Pirates is the poster child for identical gameplay.

Third, it’s not really a strategy game. This is an action-RPG – well outside of my bailiwick. Most of the games that really eat my days involve conquering the world, not courting buxom lasses.

Still, it is the most hypnotically replayable game to come out in a long time, largely because of its old-school familiarity and ease of play. You don’t need to understand a lot of rules, but the manual is still thick and readable – with a little bit of humor. Even after you’ve retired seven or eight times, you want to keep coming back to find that last hidden relative or sack Panama.

It’s so old school, so primitive in its basic gameplay that I feel like driving the ninety minutes to Hunt Valley to smack someone. Now if only they’d channel some of that energy into something I haven’t seen before.

The Spanish Main is calling…


No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.