Aargh, me hearties. Aargh. In almost every way, Lego Pirates is one of the best of the Lego Whatever series, from its swaggering Jack Sparrow to the epic range of locations from the movies.
Its cute, mimed retellings of these are genuinely funny. Even the traditionally very basic combat feels oddly satisfying as cartoon swordfighting, greatly helped by excellent battle themes straight from the original movie soundtracks. The main problems are, as ever, that the Lego series shows as much interest in changing its formula as the Chuckle Brothers, and anything that's annoyed you about previous games will still be here. The puzzles are still about smashing everything until you find the relevant hidden object. The AI remains dreadful. Where Lego Pirates takes a step up is in its level design and humour, which both gel perfectly with the movies' style and characters, and provide some amazing set-pieces.
Unfortunately, as entertaining as all this is, Lego Pirates is one of the dodgiest ports in recent memory, with the longest loading times. Getting into the game takes minutes, as does waiting for individual levels and their many cutscenes. There's still no online support for the two-player mode, and – at least at the time of writing – good luck even finding the PC version in a shop, although it's available at Play.com etc.
When Jack gets repeatedly slapped in the face by his crew, then kicked hard in the balls for good measure, it's hard not to sympathise. The only difference is that you haven't done anything to deserve it, except choose to play his game on PC.
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