January 9th, 2007, 20:32 Posted By: wraggster
Sid Meier's Pirates! is one of the greatest games ever made, and now it's headed to the PSP. Just as is the case with Civilization or many of the other titles that Sid Meier has been behind, the game constantly causes you to capture "just one more ship" or find "just one more treasure". It's incredibly addictive, and it's open and create-your-own-storyline type of gameplay is still refreshing in this day and age.
Sid Meier's Pirates! Live the Life is something of a mix between the recent PC update of Pirates! and the accompanying Xbox port. The map size is somewhere in-between, offering plenty of space for exploration while still keeping the world tight
enough for quick travel between areas. It also incorporates the Xbox title's overarching storyline helper - you're still attempting to accomplish the same thing in every version (find your family and such), but the quest meter helps you figure out your next main goal should you choose to stay on the main path.
While some of the game's aspects are taken from the Xbox release, developer Full Fat has brought back a number of the features from the PC game that were lost in the Xbox port, such as treasure hunting. Rather than having your crew automatically find treasure when you hit land if you have the correct map, you'll have to actually explore the land and use your map to find the buried treasure. But in addition, Full Fat has actually expanded on even the PC game in this aspect and added traps and other harmful things to impede your way.
Booby traps lay across the land, and moving across one will cause you to lose one of the men you took to shore. While they're not exactly hidden and are easily noticeable, there may be times when you want to do this as you may have quicker (and perhaps even safer) route to the treasure by sacrificing one of your men. Wildcats scour the land, much like a guard would in an old-school stealth sequence (timed path and all), and should your party be caught by one it'll rip one of your men to shreds.
Sneaking into town is back, though it's a tad different than the PC release. While in said version you were given total control of your character, in the PSP release you move on predefined (though unmarked) squares. This means that you can't hide right behind a corner as you'll either be just down the street or right in the middle of it. It works, but it's a bit strange given the action-centric audience on the PSP.
One thing that's been made a bit simpler is the dancing sequences. Instead of simply following the hand signs of your partner, a DDR-esque symbol bar scrolls across the bottom of the screen so that you can see which moves are coming up. This makes the dancing portions much easier to get into and thusly opens up that part of the game to more players.
While these areas have been changed or enhanced a bit (in mostly good ways, we might add), the rest of the classic Pirates! package is still intact. Should you disobey the pandect of any of the game's nations, they'll turn against you and you'll have to fight against their armadas and become shut out of their towns. Swordfights, ship battles, exploration and everything else that has made the game so great in years past is here and 100% intact.
Sid Meier's Pirates! Live the Life is set for release in a mere few weeks and we're really psyched to dig in a sail the open sea, and so should you.
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