The biggest problem with Pirates of the Caribbean Online is that just as you are getting into the story line you run face first into a “subscribe now to continue!” banner. This quickly brings you back to the reality that although this is a “free” game to download and play, gamers are forced to deal with a number of crippling limitations. Not the least of which include having to play the game in windowed mode framed with a series of banner advertisements. The level cap for free gamers is a ridiculously low eight, while skills for all weapons can’t progress past level three. The weapons earned in the first few minutes of the game are all that are allowed to be equipped, and same goes for the tiny ship you’ll pilot, a little skive that was in no way shape or form intended for open-sea combat. Voodoo (the game’s form of magic) is strictly off-limits, and again there’s that “subscribers only” banner that interrupts the storyline just a couple hours in. After this it’s $9.95 per month to continue (though only $4.95 for the first month), which is asking a lot considering the game’s massive shortcomings.
For that $9.95 a month you unfortunately don’t get a particularly polished game play experience. Lag is a constant problem, with characters and enemies often freezing in their tracks for a few moments and then warping ahead to make up for lost time. The in-game visuals don’t impress at all; drab looking pirate deliver nothing of the detail and interest of the big screen buccaneers. Land-based combat too is boring. Instead of the swashbuckling and sword fights in the films here you just click, click, and click some more to swing your cutlass or fire your pistol.
As with any game there are some positives to Pirates of the Caribbean Online buried underneath the mountain of broken dreams and lost reputations. Though. Sea-based combat in ships is simplistic but weaving your vessel about to line up your opponent’s broadside is actually rather entertaining. The game also features lower PC and Mac system requirements than most other games in this genre, allowing for easier access to a broader audience of players. In-game gambling is a nice touch too, where you can bet and win pretend in-game currency against other players in blackjack or poker, adding your winnings to your treasure chest. Like so many other features here, you’ll need to lay down some real money and subscribe if you want a real taste, with poker locked for non-subscribers.
As I am sure any gamer will tell you Pirates of the Caribbean Online is not a bargain. Many MMOs fall right in at that $9.95 per month price point, and the vast majority of them offer far more than what can be found in Pirates of the Caribbean Online. Even Dungeon Runners, which can be played totally for free, has a lot more going for it. It is possible to get a taste of the action here without paying, which is nice, but that taste is far too fleeting to really be worth your time. The first month at $4.95 is a reasonably good deal and worth considering for those hardcore fans that simply must get their Pirates fix. After that first month is up, though, there’s just no reason to consider staying.
• Solid cut scenes with great voice acting
• Entertaining ship-based combat
• First few parts or game play are free
• Free to download
• Fun gambling aspect
• Low requirements open to more people
• Have to pay to get anywhere
• Underwhelming graphically
• Repetitive and pointless fetch quests
• Annoying banner ads and box screen
• Pitiful level cap for nonpaying players
• Land combat is dull
• Lag is constantly a problem
• Price is just not worth it