5 ways Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned is avoiding the movie-licensed shitstorm

4. Serious combat
Among the many, many (many) reasons games based on movies are loathed the world over is the persistently mindless action and interactions. Every hero tends to move with the all the grace of a boneless, lubricated Ratchet, and comes equipped with meaningless button mashing. Well, judging by what we saw of Capt. Sterling in action, that certainly isn’t the case here,. He’s a swarthy pirate, not a weightless ninja. The character has heft (even more so, if you go Dreaded) and a clip we saw of him climbing and shimmying along a ledge resembled all the carefully detailed interaction you’d find in something like Assassin’s Creed.

Best of all, Capt. Sterling can throw down! The combat is by no means limited to single-button spam, yet the developers also made it a point not to delve too deep into convoluted combos, similar to God of War or Bayonetta. You’ve got blocks, parries, face buttons that can be assigned to abilities, and even a little gun play.

Enemies can also be cursed, offering various dizzying dmage effects. Not only does it momentarily get them off your ass, but it opens them up to even more elaborate brutality. Face buttons can be assigned to abilities, but what we found most impressive was the special attacks that come after landing a few successful blows.

Playing on the Legendary side, Sterling tossed a bottle in the air, then shot it from behind his back and sent sending down a rain of flaming booze on multiple enemies. Conversely, the Sith-like Dreaded Sterling used a rusty anchor to hook enemies in the face, and also slammed it into the ground to create an earth-shattering watery explosion that sends enemies flying. However, nothing’s a guaranteed finisher. Armada’s RPG sensibilities should allow you to improve as you progress, plus you can even watch your evolution over time since enemies display an ATB meter over their head that’ll show you the difference between the cuddly and the critical.

5. It feels like a Pirates of the Caribbean game
This is an important note, and one not to be downplayed. Think for a second about what made the PotC films so popular with damn near everybody on the globe? They managed to find a thin line between dizzying levels of over-the-top violence and family friendly entertainment, and you can bet it’s one that Armada of the Damned will walk right into a T for Teen rating. By the looks of things, the game has spectacularly preserved the spirit of the films, and they’ve done it without parasitically clinging to moments you’ve already seen on the big screen.

More importantly, Pirates has a level of comedic timing that most movies rarely achieve, and since we saw it retained in Armada, it can’t be solely attributed to Johnny Depp. True to the PotC’s essence, the characters all come with a foolhardy flaws that make them prone to miscellaneous buffoonery. For us, it seemed like a welcome departure from the super serious (and often cornball) cinematics we see in game after game, even when witnessed in some of the preliminary work. Some of Captain Sterling’s animations are wonderfully, often intentionally, cartoonish, and even the power hungry conquistador villain managed to bring a laugh out of us. Seriously, do you have any idea how rare that is?!

Oddly enough, we’re now looking forward to Armada of the Damned more than the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean movie (which over half the cast isn’t even signed on to appear in?) It’s still a ways off, but we should be seeing more of Armada E3 very soon.

May 13, 2010


  • SanjiTheShining - May 15, 2010 2:39 a.m.

    It looks alot like Fable 2 to me, especially like the good/evil stuff (yes I know fable probably didnt invent the moral choices)
  • NoobBuster - May 14, 2010 2:53 p.m.

    sounds awesome. Now we've got an open world cowboy game, an open world pirate game comming next year, all we need is a great ninja one (correct me if there are some great ones already). I hope the kraken isn't the only see monster...
  • Lovelost - May 14, 2010 2:42 p.m.

    Looks Very promising, Time I get out my pirate gear and walk the streets. But seriously they should release this on Talk Like a Pirate Day.
  • Blackout1881 - May 14, 2010 12:25 a.m.

    Wow this game looks like a dream come true, I might have to kill a puppy if it dissapoints me.
  • IamNOTatalkingpony - May 13, 2010 11:04 p.m.

    Captain Sterling? Jim, when did you become a pirate?
  • Tenfey - May 13, 2010 9:10 p.m.

    Whenever I watch those movies, I can only think about how uncomfortable people must have been back in those days wearing 30 layers of cloths in the humid weather and constantly getting soaked. No wonder everyone got all pissy and became pirates.
  • GamesRadarChrisAntista - May 13, 2010 9:01 p.m.

    @thesuperspacejew I see what you did there... grrrrr
  • GamesRadarChrisAntista - May 13, 2010 9 p.m.

    @helix92 That's pretty true, probably had something to do with the 3rd movie. Oddly enough, I'm kind off lukewarm on the the 1st one too. But the second movie I can watch over and over! It's like a really kickass season of a great TV show.
  • helix92 - May 13, 2010 8:57 p.m.

    "Oddly enough, we’re now looking forward to Armada of the Damned more than the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean movie (which over half the cast isn’t even signed on to appear in?)" thats kinda a good thing right? Almost all the characters were really annoying!! Captain Jack and Barbosa are the only ones really worth keeping and they're the ones that are back. Anyways, this looks suprisingly good, but i'm gunna have to see more before I get too excited.
  • michaelmcc827 - May 13, 2010 8:51 p.m.

    Woah...this is gonna be the next final fantasy! Looks great.
  • thesuperspacejew - May 13, 2010 8:49 p.m.

    Movie game won't be shitty? Next Team Fortress 2!
  • RonnyLive19881 - May 13, 2010 8:04 p.m.

    What ever, the last 2 were way better IMO, especially the third one. Just don't watch them more than once or you WILL be bored Lol.
  • CurryIsGood - May 13, 2010 7:42 p.m.

    I want Jack Sparrow
  • db1331 - May 13, 2010 7:19 p.m.

    Wow this has some real potential. I loved the first movie, it's a shame they rushed the last 2 out for a quick merchandising cash grab.

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