Aargh, me hearties!
This is something of an update to Sid Meier's original Pirates and while it sticks closely to the formula laid down by its inspiration, the visual changes make this the one to go for if you're after a bit of classic swashbuckling fun. It's surprisingly detailed and varied for such an old game, and offers plenty of action and strategy with the added bonus of being all about pirates, which are always cool. You basically take on the role of a buccaneer in the golden age of piracy, starting out with little and with the overall goal of simply making as much money as possible. How you do this is pretty much up to you, and you can choose to be an honest trader, earning cash by sailing around buying and selling goods, or you can go the whole hog and be a full-on pirate, laying waste to other ships and engaging in sword fights while making your hapless victims walk the plank. One of the big attractions of the game is the sheer variety of things to do, and you can raid towns, go looking for buried treasure, impress local politicians at parties in a bid to raise your standing, kidnap rich folk and so on and so on. Even after a few years, this game still holds up well. The updated visuals still look nice and do a great job of evoking the period, with plenty of detail and some attractive design work. The sheer variety of activities means you're unlikely to get bored for some time, while the controls and interface are pretty solid. There are minor niggles, but generally speaking, this captures the pirate life to a tee and makes for a lot of fun.