PC/Mac/Linux
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Game Info:

Pirates: Tides of Fortune
Developed by: Plarium
Published by: Kabam
Release date: February 12, 2012
Available on: Windows/Mac/Linux
Genre: MMO, Real-time Stategy
Number of players: Online-only
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: Free with in-app purchases

Disclaimer: Although we have been offered money in the past to cover this game, we have declined and have not been compensated for this review. 

Pirates: Tides of Fortune is a free MMO Real Time Strategy game where you must collect and create resources to build up your pirate empire and conquer the seven seas.  Setting up an account is easy enough and you simply need to enter a valid e-mail address (verification will be required to progress in the game) and a password.  Be careful as you enter your password as there is not a confirmation field to double check that you haven’t misspelled it on accident.

Once you’re logged in, Captain Anne O’Malley will walk you through the basics of gathering gold, wood, and distilling rum.  After you follow her various tutorials you should be up to level 4.  After researching the technology tree and upgrading your mills and mines, you should reach the coveted level five where you can set sail and plunder nearby ships and islands.

At the tavern you can recruit pirates to join your crew.  The units specialize in offense or defense and if you send the incorrect unit to do the wrong task, the results will be devastating.  Fortunately, the game will warn you ahead of time that you’re about to do something stupid.  While most units can be acquired with in game resources, many of the veteran and better units require rubies as well, which are available for purchase with real-world money.  Rubies can be earned in game but they are in short supply compared to the other resources.  

Pirates: Tides of Fortune
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun real time strategy game that’s free to play and has many users online to play with.  
Weak Points: Though this game is free to play, there are many prompts to invite friends and to spend money that can give you offensive and defensive advantages (pay to win).
Moral Warnings: The pirate lifestyle involves drinking, cussing, killing, and females showing off their bellies.

Pirates: Tides of Fortune gives you many “opportunities” to purchase rubies at discounts that are only available for a “limited amount of time”.  There are just as many “opportunities” to invite your friends to join in the free fun and unlock game features and provide you with some rubies.  Sadly, spending real money in this game and providing you with temporary defense and offense boosts makes this title essentially “pay to win.”   

Despite the unfair advantages that paying players have, and the nag screens to invite your friends and sales on rubies, this is a fun real-time-strategy game.  It doesn’t take long to fill up your tiny island and expanding it is possible by spending a significant number of rubies to do so.  

There are lots of islands out there and chances are that yours may be attacked sooner or later so you’ll have to build up walls, gates, and cannons to defend it.  The only problem with defending it is that all of the defenses cost rubies and not the mined resources that are freely available.   

Pirates: Tides of Fortune
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 84%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 6.5/10
Sexual Content - 8.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

In case you’re wondering, rubies are not cheap.  For close to five dollars you can get eight hundred and twenty-five of them.  The most expensive package is six hundred and sixty dollars for one hundred and ten thousand rubies.    Do people actually spend that much on a “free to play” game? If so, then it’s no wonder why we were offered money to review it.

Graphically this game isn’t anything spectacular.  Then again it’s a browser based game so it has to be streamlined to run efficiently on all platforms.  The music and voice acting on the other hand is nicely done and fun to listen to.  There are some cuss words like d*mn used.  I also noticed that sometimes the voice overs didn’t match the text.

Pirates: Tides of Fortune is undeniably fun, but it’s certainly not worth the effort of nagging your friends or paying ridiculous prices on rubies to have a chance against other players paying to do well in this MMO game.  I recommend sticking with a good real time strategy game that you only have to pay for once and not annoy your friends with invites. 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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