Whether it's to the credit of either Depp or Disney, the game market is currently inundated with swashbuckling capers, usually of the budget variety. Just type in the word "Pirates" into our search engine to see what resembles a peg-legged renaissance, the likes of which this country hasn't seen since matinee heydays of the sixties and seventies. Though very few have received much critical praise, there seems to be some demand for high seas adventure.
And if you've read this far into the review, then it's safe to assume you're up for all manner of plunder and pillage. And in that respect, Tortuga: Two Treasures soars as a very story-driven affair. The tale of Thomas "Hawk" Blythe and his trials on and off his beloved Hawkwind settle worthily in the pantheon of Pirate canon. You'll find no shortage of scurvy double-crossers, sultry vixens, and greedy scallywags.
But the very conventions it follows in terms of story could be its downfall in terms of gameplay. Tortuga is not what you'd call openended, and you'll find most of the action interrupted by a deluge of cinematics, usually overstating your ridiculously short and simple goals.
The linear element wouldn't be a problem if Tortuga defined itself by a variety of action. Sea-fairing missions are fun, though not without an element of tedium, as you sail easily to each of your obvious destinations. Attacking other vessels consists of circling until their board-able for goods, or sunk completely and ready for salvage.
And if you think the maritime merriment was monotonous, then the land based missions won't fair any better. We throw around the term "hack-and-slash" a lot here, but Tortuga turns it into a term most literal. Once, we even looked away and had a conversation while dutifully tapping the right mouse button, and damned if we didn't emerge triumphant. Fallen enemies will give way to nifty little graves, enough of them culminating in a "cemetery bonus," but other than that there isn't any innovation in the combat. And when enemies and friendlies share the exact same character models, it's enough to make even the uptight stuffed-shirt go "argh."
Tortuga may be a cut above other ramshackle outings, but even at its relatively low price it should only warrant purchase if you've exhausted every other high seas option. You know, if you PC-lubbers are still desperate for rum-laced jauntiness and you've already played everything containing the name Sid Meier's and Monkey Island.