Mini-review: Buccaneer: The Pursuit of Infamy

I was browsing around the Steam store looking for something to occupy my time when I found an indie game called Buccaneer: The Pursuit of Infamy. Hell yeah, pirates always rule! I immediately started downloading a demo of it.

The blurb was enticing:

Set sail across the Caribbean with Buccaneer. Will you become the world’s greatest and most feared pirate captain, or will you let your infamy ebb away and risk mutiny at the hands of your bloodthirsty crew?

I boot up the game and it is *gorgeous*. Detail on the ship is very nice, and the sea is filled with little ‘flavor’ touches like sharks prowling below the surface and gulls flying above. My first mission is to drive a rival pirate gang away from a merchant vessel so I can plunder it. Yo ho ho! I’m psyched!

And then I start to control my ship, and the world comes crashing down around me. First of all, there’s no wind in the game. Second of all, you have to hold down an ‘acceleration’ key to move forward. Let up on it and your ship quickly comes to a stop. Third, your ship turns fastest at slowest speeds. The “s” key puts you in reverse. If at this point you’re thinking “Well, that sounds just like a car!” well, you’re absolutely correct. You may be looking at a ship on the ocean, but what you’re playing is a car-combat game played on an infinite parking lot.

Forget any thought of tactics. Raking fire is less effective than trading broadsides. Your cannons fire nearly constantly so there’s no strategy there. No choice of shot type, or where to aim. No sail damage. No… well, no hint of any sort of nautical kn0w-how needed. Strap guns on the sides of a couple of cars, put them on a parking lot and let them circle around shooting at each other, and that’s what Buccaneer is.

What an incredible disappointment.

But wow, does it ever look pretty!


8 thoughts on “Mini-review: Buccaneer: The Pursuit of Infamy

  1. I bought this game last week and have been playing it constantly ever since. I think you have kind of missed the point as to what this game is about. It is a simple arcade shoot em up with great graphics. The wind element would just make the game harder to control – Ie: sailing against the wind?! It isn’t just about the fact that this game has been made by just two guys and help from mates. It is a great arcade game meant to be best in multiplayer and is great value for money.

  2. @Werit – Nope, not that I’ve found!

    @JazzyTreevers – Why make the game about sailing ships if you’re going to ignore everything unique about sailing ships? It’d be like making an “arcade golf” game where you kick the ball across the course until you get it in the hole… it isn’t really golf then, is it? Its a different sport and a golf enthusiast is probably going to be disappointed.

    The fact that it was made by two guys is an impressive accomplishment but isn’t really relative to whether or not its a game I’m going to enjoy. I’m not saying its a bad game; I’m just saying it was a huge disappointment to me, and will be to anyone else looking for a game about naval ship battles during the age of pirates.

    Thanks for your comments, though!

  3. I found sailing around to be one of the most fun parts about Pirates! even with the wind against me. Hrm, I want Pirates! for the 360/ps3.

  4. Hey All ! Just Googling Buccaneer and found this. I’ve harv one of the two devs. on the game. 8)

    Cheers for the comments on the look of the game, yes we were completely obsessed with getting it feeling right etc. and as for the comments on gameplay. No, Sid Meirs Pirates this is not, neither is it supposed to be. I think your comment about strapping big side firing cannons to big ships and having arenas when you battle it out multiplayer, and single player etc. is not far off what we actually wanted to acheive with buccaneer. We set out to make an arcade game, that looked like it had a big budget, but also has multiplayer, that anyone can pick up and play etc. Completely take on bourd all your comments though, it seems we have a split vote here, guys like yourself that want it to be more simulator like with wind etc. and guys like us, and fans of the game that like the simplicity of control…Guess it would be boring if we all liked the same thing eh? 8)

    Cheers for the review though ! It’s a tough world out there trying to muscle in on all the big blockbuster games, and multi-million dollar budgets for a two man startup team, and as they say, no publicity is bad publicity 8) LOL !


  5. @Harveyg — Well, if you ever figure a way to fit an “advanced” control system in there, please give a shout. I personally don’t need super-hard core simulation gaming to have fun, but I do want some ship-like aspects (having to deal with wind, losing maneuverability as you take damage, etc).

    And I hope there’re enough folks in the other 50% to support your on-going game development!

  6. Cheers Pete !

    Yeah, we’re doing a kind of re-launch of Buccaneer around GDC time, adding a few extra features etc. we’ll have to see how the time goes, but we’re taking on board all comments as we go. It’s a tough balance though eh? Don’t want to alienate the guys that are digging the play style, and also don’t want to alienate any potential players either….Very tough call…..On a personal take, I too quite like the idea of having some kind of wind system in there, maybe as a ‘hard’ setting or something..It could even be as simple as we set a wind direction in each level in a certain direction to keep the level balanced and switch it on in hard mode, it would be faster to travel with the wind and slower against it etc. but then we get the ‘naaaa ,doesn’t need it, stick to your guns’ remarks too, so it’s going to be an ongoing debate I think…

    Cheers! 8)


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