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4 out of 5
Fine pirate adventure with a few niggles
This is the first of a pair of pirate-themed games which try to capture the thrill and excitement of a halcyon age of adventure, the second being City of Abandoned Ships. Unfortunately, while Caribbean Tales promises a lot, it doesn't quite live up to its potential, although many of its faults are rectified in the sequel and which proves to be a much more satisfying experience. It's an open world adventure, where players get to choose from two pirates, Blaze and Beatrice, before embarking on a quest to become the finest pirate the world has ever seen. How you do this is pretty much up to you, but all the expected elements are included, from hunting for treasure to swashbuckling sword fights and of course ship-ship battles. You have a wide range of ships to choose from and which all handle differently when sailing and in battle, while you can also customise them with a variety of upgrades like sails, weapons and crew. There are of course quests to take on and you can choose whether to walk the path of the rogue by plundering and robbing all those whose path you cross or take a more honourable route and rescue a nation from more dastardly individuals. For the most part, Caribbean Tales is a rollicking good game, with plenty of fun to be had and a great atmosphere. The graphics are lush and detailed, with sound to match, while sea battles are slick and exciting. There is a good range of activities to engage in but is unfortunately plagued by a dodgy control system which is most apparent in the sword fighting sections, while the interface is also uncomfortably cluttered. It's also not the easiest game to pick up, requiring some time to learn the ropes but if you can get past these flaws, there is a decent adventure to be discovered here.