I'll be referring to Pirates of the Burning Sea in this review with the common abbreviation of PotBS.
The majority of MMO's on the market today are fixated around the Fantasy setting of elves, mystical lands etc, if your into MMORPG's im sure youve noticed. PotBS however is trying something new. From the moment you startup the installer your hit with images of merry pirates, peglegs and numerous barrels of rum, its quite obvious your going to be in for some good times!
As soon as you enter the game, instantly over your speakers you hear the sound of rolling waves, seagulls overhead, they really try to immerse you in the environment with every chance they get, something many MMO's do not pull off anywhere near as effectively. You really do feel like your about to set sail into adventurous waters.
Chracter creation is a massive part of any MMO, without it the worlds characters become very repetitive and you lose that feeling of individuality. PotBS really excels here. There are masses and masses of options and a huge colour palette available, usually primary and secondary colours on every item, which makes the amount of choices much much more than ive seen in any other MMO. The first time i created a character, well over 30 minutes flew by while i made my decisions, it really is a fun process.
Hat, coat, boots, glass eye, im ready to go! The tutorial throws you straight onto a boat under attack. It breaks you in nicely to the movement and naviagtion options on foot. You also get your first tastes of whats known as AVCOM. AVCOM is the name given to the on foot sword fights you take part in, and your first tastes are in killing several pirates trying to board your ship! From here on out your taken to shore, where your adventure begins.
The environments in PotBS are very very detailed. From the screenshots you can get a good idea of how beautifull this game is, but they really dont do it justice. Being a Pirate game, the water effects were going to play a huge part in immersion, and theyve really done well. It has a very realistic roll to it, and performs surprisingly well even on lower spec machines. Attention to detail is huge, if your a person that loves eye candy, then PotBS wont let you down.
Questlines in PotBS are mostly based around working for the Magistrate of each town, carrying out missions to help fend off attackers, collect supplies, escort merchants through dangerous waters, theres enough varirty to keep it interesting for the most part, by the later levels though, like any MMO, the reptitiveness does start to show. PotBS also relies very heavily on instances. Every quest at sea, or AVCOM, is its own instance. A lot of people think instances take away the MMO part of the genre, but your never in them for to long with PotBS, and the switch between Instances and Towns is quick and painless, keeping the seems well hidden and immersion levels high.
The feeling of wartime is no secret. The whole game is based around the nations of Britain, France, Spain and the Pirate Brethren being at constant war with one another. This is where the PVP comes in. PotBS is all about the PVP in the endgame. Everything you do up until endgame is gearing constantly towards it. PVP comes close to that of EVE, in that you can be sunk and completely lose your ship, a frightening thought for most people, but its pulled off very well, with your ship having durability points to give you chance of repairs before it sinks to the murky depths. Group PVP is the big focus, Port Battles being the drive of the game. Players take part in huge Port Battles which decide who controls ports in PotBS. Cleverly this has massive effects on the game and economy, often blocking people from there supply routes and resources until there nation can retake the port. Its a very clever system, and is being tweaked all the time to help underdog nations have an equal chance, which is the main concern of the playerbase.
Ship combat is very unique. The controls are based around raising and lowering your sails, focussing your crew on specific tasks such as gunnery, using the correct shot in your cannons to perform different style attacks to different areas of the enemys ships, it really is very special, and theres a lot of options to take down you foe's, even down to grappling and boarding them to fight it out in AVCOM. The wind also plays a massive part in battle, finding yourself stuck in a slow turn into wind can be deadly, you need to keep a close eye on where your heading and where you can manouvere to keep your speed and not become dead in the water.
Crafting is a huge part of PotBS. Player made ships drive the economy, with a whole player class devoted to crafting. Ship production is well carried out, time spent feels rewarding, and the economy has settled very well in just a few months, showing similar item prices across all servers.
Theres a lot i havent touched on, while feeling rather simple on the surface, underneath it all if you look there are masses of detail in PotBS, making it a solid and fun MMO experience for casual and hardcore players alike. I must stress though that the whole focus of the game is PVP. If you dont like PVP the chances are you may not get along with PotBS in the long run, unless your there to roleplay or similiar activities.
Its certainly a very fun game, it scores points for doing something different, and its one ill be playing for some time.
PotBS is avilable on the Sony Station Access Subscription plan.
Pirates of the Burning Sea (Reviewed on Windows)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
It's certainly a very fun game, it scores points for doing something different, and it's one I'll be playing for some time.