PSP Preview: Sid Meier's Pirates!

We step outside with the portable Pirates.

Sid Meier's Pirates! is a slightly odd choice for a PSP port - a remake of a 20-year-old game, released in 2004 on PC (later on Xbox) and now converted for Sony's handheld...

I say 'slightly odd', not because of the content of the game or the choice of format, but because the game works so impressively well on the PSP.

The basic looks, clearly employed to keep frame rates up, add a great deal of charm to events. And since the entire game is basically a lot of mini games suits the handheld format perfectly for short bursts of play and - probably most impressive of all - loading times are incredibly short, meaning the rage that arises from other PSP titles is all but non-existent here. Yay!

"Most everything about the game is impressive enough to already warrant something of a recommendation."

Pirates! sees players taking control of a young captain who, after seeing his family kidnapped when just a boy, sets sail around the Caribbean to find the dastardly dastard whose dastarding ways dastarded up his family relations.

The draw of the game comes from this very point: though you're tasked with finding your family, you don't have to if you don't want to. Personally I'm not much of a family man, so I decided on sodding it all off and making my fortune, whilst wooing all the damsels in sight (we received the UMD on Valentine's Day, after all, and no real governor's daughters will dance with us).

The game can be played in short bursts or long hauls, and even ten minute run-throughs are sure to see players garnering at least some rewards.

This preview version I've been playing seems to be pretty much finished, and most everything about the game is impressive enough to already warrant something of a recommendation. One issue noticed, mind, is the fact that the wind was blowing in a westerly direction for FOUR YEARS. An odd glitch, or maybe the weather was really samey back then. Who knows? Not me. Do you? Hmm.

Anyway, Pirates! (!) looks to be one to watch out for when it arrives in Europe mid-March (it's already out in the US), and the surprisingly impressive handheld conversion is sure to be something to add to the PSP's must have list. Which I assure you, is actually quite large these days.

Ian Dransfield
Staff writer, Kikizo

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