Pirates: they’re the ninjas du jour. Ever since Depp, Bruckheimer and chums replaced toothless, scurvy-ridden grins with high cheekbones and clear complexions; everyone wants a piece of the piratical pie.
That includes, bizarrely, medieval management sim-cum-adventure The Guild 2. While this expansion pack hasn’t decamped to the Caribbean, the developers have found some less tropical but similarly salty sea dogs to populate its European seas.
The addition of corsairs brings with it the exciting prospect of naval battles, maritime trade and a new campaign mode, and it’s the increased focus of the campaign that’s arguably the most compelling addition. Whereas in The Guild 2, maintaining the life and loves of your character could feel aimless at times, the structure provided by the - admittedly generic - storyline does much to keep you plugging away.
Countering that, there are still the same ridiculous bugs and control issues that were apparent in the original release - it’s amusing to see a councilor interrogating herself in the town elections or your character wandering through walls, but it kills any immersion stone dead.
The introduction of seafaring does increase the game’s scope. Managing ships, fishing, and raiding buildings as a pirate all provide refreshing diversions from the standard peasantry and baby-making at the core of the game.