I absolutely LOVE this game and have played it on different consoles including pc throughout the years and was excited to learn it was available on the Wii, so I rented it. Much to my dismay, the game almost sucks. Nintendo could have made it wayyyy better, but instead seemed to have rushed it to add another title to their list! When your boats come upon other boats to get info, you can't read what 'news' the other boats have including what country they represent unless you are sitting within 2 ft of your tv and even then it's hard. In every port you sail in to everything is the same, but maybe in different colors. It could have been changed up. The game could have been more interactive instead of repetitive. The basics of the original are still there, i.e. you are a pirate who can pick a nationality to represent and attack on their behalf or go renegade and attack everyone, but that has its pitfalls. You also have mini-games which are nice, but could be a lot better with a lot more, considering this is an advanced console compared to the originals. The SNES version to date is still my fav. I was quite disappointed with this one! If you like the game though, you should like this version (although only to a certain degree).
If you've played the Pirates! game before on the PC, then this version will seem familiar, and fun. You'll also have the advantage over anyone who hasn't played the game before, because there are almost no instructions for how to play it. In game, there is a splash screen for each mini game that labels the controls, but that's it. Your best bet is to look online for guides to the PC version, and use those to help you work through this version.
The key differences in the Wii version are:
- no land battles anymore, you bombard the enemy towns from the sea instead
- you have to do much more to get a Governor's daughter to marry you (a quest that involves a dancing mini-game and a sword fight)
- the original 9 ship classes are divided into small, medium, and large versions for a total of 27 ship types.
Despite the lack of instructions, the game itself is enjoyable, with a wide range of difficulty (adjustable) and plenty of things to do. There are opportunities to have a second player join in (briefly) but make no mistake, this is a 1 player game. It is played with the basic 'motion+' wand controller. It has a high replay value, since the location of quest items is random in each new game, and the quests themselves take a lot of work to complete.
The one thing I haven't been able to figure out how to do is review treasure maps that I get from the Mysterious Stranger. Once I buy a map and have my first look at it, I can never again pull up the map and review it. This led to a lot of frustration, but this was the only serious negative during game play.
I'm a big fan of the original game, and the Wii version brought back a lot of good memories. It is a faithful interpretation of what made the original so much fun to play, with several new twists and lots of cinematic cut scenes to spice it up. It was well worth renting, and if Gamefly had included some instructions (or even had a downloadable PDF) I would have bought the copy I rented.