Pros:Fantastically beautiful environments. Nice water effects. Swashbuckling goodness!
Cons:Can get repetitive after a while. A bit buggy.
The Bottom Line: If you have any interest whatsoever in a seafaring adventure, and are willing to look past a few minor flaws, I highly recommend you purchase Sea Dogs. Anchors aweigh!
You'd be hard pressed to find one among us who hasn't, at one time or another, wished to be hardy, seafaring, bad-smelling privateer.
Actually, that's not strictly true. I, for one, am terrified of deep water. Thankfully, Bethesda Softworks has cranked out the next best think to being an actual pirate, minus the risk of scurvy or body part loss. No peg leg required.
Sea Dogs follows the adventures of seaman Nicholas Sharp. From his humble beginnings as "Escaped Slave turned Captain of a Dinky, Poorly Armed Merchant Vessel", on through to his eventual ascension to the position of "Most Feared Pirate What the Archipelago E'er Did See, Ar Har Har!", the game pretty much leaves plot development up to you.
Oh, there's a storyline involved, but I had more fun just sailing around, plundering things. Of particular interest is the capturing of enemy vessels, which can be kept, if ye fancy 'em fer yer new flagship, or sold for a butt-load of cash.
Combat is reproduced accurately. That is to say, very slow. (Reloading the cannons takes considerable time, and the ships themselves aren't exactly built for speed.) Fortunately, there's a time acceleration feature for those of little patience. I personally thought the slowness made everything seem kind of majestic.
Experience points are awarded by way of mini-quest completion, and the defeat of enemy vessels. These points are used in standard RPG fashion. Once a certain amount of points have been accrued, your crew levels-up, and you are given points to allot to increased sailing skill, better aim with the cannons, faster reloading, etc.. The game rewards bravery, (or recklessness) as blowing a superior vessel to toothpicks will net you a lot more XP than the defeat of a lesser or equal ship will.
The sound in this game is fantastic: Crying seagulls, creaking hulls, howling wind...I could go on, but you really just have to hear it for yourself. The environmental effects are equally incredible.
Perhaps the game's only flaw is its potential for repetitiveness. The "Go out, shoot enemy ship, come back, repair own ship, go out, shoot enemy ship, etc. etc.." routine can get old after a while. Also, my copy of the game is still a bit buggy. It still locks up occasionally, despite being patched three times thus far. However, these are minor gripes, at best.
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