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!