Pirate Storm isn’t bad enough to walk the plank, but it’s not worth a casket of Spanish doubloons, either.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me, I guess. Pirate Storm is a web-based adventure/massive online game (MMOG) from Bigpoint that puts you in the pantaloons of history’s most intimidating sailors. The premise alone makes it sound like you’re in for a swashbuckling good time, but between the game’s repetitiveness and lack of stimulating exploration, these be dull waters.
As soon as you’re done signing up for Pirate Storm, you’re assigned your own ship (bring your own scurvy remedy) and a cache of basic weapons. Your mission: to sail the open waters, battle with monsters and other ships, and become the king of the high seas.
There’s a long, long line for the succession, however. Pirate Storm has a busy community behind it, which is a blessing and a curse. There’s always someone to team up with, talk to, or battle against; but on the flipside, there’s always someone else looking to stick their harpoon in that giant crab you’ve been trailing for the last fifty seconds. There are frustration and hurt feelings aplenty as a consequence, even though the majority of players that steal your experience points obviously do so by accident. Not to say there aren’t a few grubby players who take pains to land the final blow on your prey so they can reap the experience points. You’d think the game was populated by a bunch of thieving sea-dogs or something.
Pirate Storm‘s player base is honorable for the most part; Bigpoint runs a pretty tight ship, and you won’t run into troublemakers too often. Unfortunately, law and order can’t punch up the gameplay. Pirate Storm isn’t a bad game by any means, but it doesn’t offer a whole lot beyond sailing around and occasionally bashing another ship with cannon balls. The story and action is driven by quests. Some are issued by your First Mate, whereas others are bestowed upon you when you sail into port and visit the tavern. Most of the quests consist of “find so-and-so,” which comes down to a lot of “kill X number of ships,” particularly early in the game. The story and politics in Pirate Storm appear to be driven according to how many enemies you sink.
And unfortunately, combat is dull. You hunt down sea monsters with harpoons, whereas your cannonball stash is reserved for enemy ships. Beating a rival ship is pretty much a matter of clicking on it and watching the two frigates exchange cannonballs until they (or you) lose all their hit points and go down. When an enemy ship senses the end is near, it usually makes a last dash for freedom. You’re supposed to give chase and fire the killing shot, and this small hunt-and-destroy experience is admittedly fun while it lasts. It’s just too bad the rest of the combat isn’t action-oriented.
Pirate Storm is a decent choice for anyone who wants to get deep into a community-based game. There’s little to do beyond grind and fight, but even grinding for levels can be a peaceful experience if you’re really into it. If that sounds appealing to you, go for it. Otherwise, sail away, sail away, sail away.