by Rick Charbs, Onrpg writer
Tales of Pirates was released back in mid 2007 by IGG, being developed by a renown Chinese company. It has lost a great deal of popularity since then, however, due to the many new MMORPGS on the market today. The game is focused on a maritime/pirate theme ?you guessed it?, and is equipped with many rusty gameplay features. This game was also interestingly influenced by the anime One-Piece, which can be deducted by the various armour names in the game. ToP was also influenced by Pirates of the Caribbean, having NPC names such as Jack Arrow (referring to Jack Sparrow). Im going to give you a quick rundown as to what this game has to offer, so sit tight!
Well, as previously stated, you can only imagine the setting of the game based on its title but theres more. At character creation, you have the choice from four pre-built characters, which sadly will limit your class choices seeing as most classes are gender restricted. The magical classes are generally female, whereas the physical classes are generally male. You may also choose from three starting areas that all offer a unique experience in the game. The choice you make will usually depend on the class you want to be. Once you are set to play the game, you will notice its resemblance to Water Margin, Ragnarok Online, Trickster, and many other games. Personally speaking, it didnt amount to any of those previously mentioned, but they resembled each other nonetheless. Features include: a standard point and click movement, basically hidden turn based attacking with a good array of skills, interesting equipment, somewhat humorous story-line, ship navigating, and much more.
Ship navigating is just about their only truly unique feature, but it has been topped in newer MMOs. However, for a 2.5D game of this style, its still pretty enjoyable. You may buy ships from various towns to use for battle or for commerce. Guild Wars can be quite interesting in the ocean! Sadly, the system is still considered underdeveloped.
On another note, ToP actually introduces some unique classes, and the dungeons are actually fun to explore through. There is a lot of cooperation within the class types and this is shown through the many difficult end-game dungeons. Notably, there are three special high-content dungeons in the game, called mazes. Mazes are built for many parties to venture in at once, sort of like an instance, only with less quality. I still enjoyed the feature myself; although it wasnt too special in my eyes seeing as the game is way outdated. Otherwise, in-game, youre basically doing the same quests/grind pattern with a short twist (being the ships), and the odd navigation system. Despite the fact that it gets me lost most of the time. However, you must keep the age of the game into consideration, as most of its features were quite new at the time, and many games have just picked from them and evolved them into something much more. From a classic gamers point of view, it isnt so bad. These could easily be updated though, and as far as I know they are still working on expansions for the game. There are frequent item updates.
Graphics and Sound
Both the graphics and sound of this title are quite outdated. This is to be expected though, as this game was developed much before 2006. That being said, they are not too horrible. However, the interface and chat font are both a major strain on the eyes. I can hardly stand staring at them for a minute at a time its obnoxious. There is no excuse for these sorts of things either, as they are easily updatable, and Ive read many complaints on the matter. Its about time something is done about it. As for the sound, there isnt too much quality involved, as the sounds are terribly basic and not necessarily appealing. I cant generalise on the subject, but lets just say I wasnt so impressed. The background music was either really repetitive, or really prolonged. Needless to say, I did not leave it on. Some of the dungeons had relatively acceptable music though, and some navigation sounds are alright.
Tales of Pirates was an unexpected experience for me. I was awaiting a clone MMO, because the entire array of features and graphics look directly ripped from other games, although the game had some unique quality to it. The gameplay value remained, aside from the fact that it can be very easily judged (as I had done myself). The core features I enjoyed in this game were the unique humorous attempt in most dialogue, the somewhat unique character classes, the interesting navigation system, and the classic gameplay style. Things I would most certainly pass on, however, were the sounds in the game, the high level of grind and lag, the horrifying camera angle, the minuscule and awkward font, and the user interface. Otherwise, the features were decent for this type of game, and this is why the community is still striving. Believe it or not: people still play this game; a lot of people, in fact. I dont believe I will come back to the game, but that is only because there are so many other refined games to fulfill my gaming needs. Im afraid to say that this one is behind the times. IGG however, didnt so such a bad job on the title. There is a lot of ongoing advertisement and promotion for the game, so thats a good sign. Their cash shop isnt too appealing though, but its about the only way to really customize your character. Thats a bummer! I kindly recommend this game to all pirate fans out there, but I warn you once again: you may get annoyed by the UI!
-Interesting navigation system
-Classic game style
-Unique character classes
-Obnoxious font and UI
-Bothersome camera angle, with no adjustment possible
-Low customization if not using item mall
-Gender restricted classes for the most part