A Pirate’s Life for Me (Under the Jolly Roger Review)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an actual pirate? Under the Jolly Roger captures that exact feeling. The only problem is being a pirate isn’t always like what you see in the movies. I am a history nerd and if you love history like me then you know pirates were more than just pillagers and treasure hunters. This game captures the essence of being a pirate as if you were truly going back in time.

Movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and video games like Black Flag and Sea of Thieves make it seem like pirates only cared for rum and gold. Under the Jolly Roger brings things back down to earth and tells the true story of being a pirate. Yes, pirates’ main goal was loot, but not all pirates got their riches the same way. In Under the Jolly Roger, you get to explore different types of pirate playstyles as you adventure across the seas.

The game is fun and includes bursts of excitement when you’re out in the open water and fighting other ships, but it does lack direction. At the start of the game, you are thrown into a world of unknowns with only a short tutorial to teach you the basics. In my opinion, this game is far too detailed to just learn how to buy, sell, and sail. Even though it’s hard to learn at first, the more you play, the better things are explained. I wouldn’t plan on playing this game if you aren’t willing to put in the time to learn about everything it has to offer.

Once you make it past the academy (tutorial), you are thrown out to fend for yourself, in true pirate fashion. As you make your way through the seas, you will notice that sailing can be done in three ways: first person, third person, and fast traveling via the map. Sailing is fun if you’re truly going for that fully immersive pirate feel since you can only go fast if you’re sailing downwind. Ultimately, you will find yourself spending a lot of time fast traveling from place to place in order to finish tasks quickly. I don’t find this to be an issue because the way the fast travel is set up is very appealing and unique. Instead of sitting there watching a loading screen, you get to watch your ship glide across a beautiful charted map with an easy transition back to the sea if you decide you want to have a go at sailing yourself.

After you have figured out the best way to travel, the game starts to catch some wind. You’ll start discovering new parts of the map and running into factions across 3 vast seas, all with their own stories. Each faction has its own set of missions and the better your reputation, the better rewards you get from each faction. This will make you think carefully about the choices you make. Maybe you don’t just gun down every ship you see. Maybe you pick a couple of factions to stick with and cause chaos for the others you don’t like. Maybe you are feeling like a true pirate and double-cross every faction you see. This is where the details really shine through because this was the way a pirate lived. The best part is that because you aren’t locked into certain missions, you can choose your own path.

Another great part of the game, on top of all this detail and realism, is the sea battles. If you have played this game already, you know that the sea battles are the best part. You’ll encounter plenty of sea battles and the more ships that are involved, the more fun the battles are. Your fights are all up to you and will depend on how you plan for them. You are in charge of where your crew is placed on the ship. Place more guys on sails, you’ll sail faster. Place more guys on guns, you’ll reload faster. If you want to go all out by boarding a ship, load up on fighters. The way you set yourself up for success is all on your shoulders so you must pay attention to your supplies and crew.

There is one issue when it comes to sea battles. I know I’ve been gloating about the realistic approach to this game, but there are some features that slip through the deck. The first is that when your ship sinks, it does not affect you much except maybe needing to heal some crew members and repair your ship. (I did not play the harder modes and maybe that is one of the features in the hardest modes. If so, please let me know so I can update the review).

Fighting hand-to-hand combat also had an unrealistic feel to it. Once on land or aboard a ship, combat is very robotic and can really suck the fun out of what was a pleasant sea battle. For this reason, I found myself choosing to sink most ships instead of boarding, even though the reward was usually far greater for boarding.

Another feature of the game that wasn’t realistic but I had no issue with was the Magical Artifacts. These items can be added to your ship to hail treacherous blows to your enemies. The animations are cool and you find yourself using them every chance you get, especially once you start battling harder enemies. So, yes, even though magic is used in this game, I did not find that it interfered with the integrity of being a pirate.

Once I felt like I was a seasoned pirate and my ship was strong enough, I dipped my toes into fighting sea monsters. The first moment I entered a battle was an all-out war. I barely had a moment to catch my breath while I was being attacked by multiple giant crabs. With a team on my side, we fought a long and hard battle and lost almost the entire crew. These sea monster fights aren’t easy, but they sure are fun even if you don’t always come out on top.

Probably one of the most interesting systems in the game is trading. Pirates were mostly hired hands looking to rob and destroy, but some pirates also embarked on trading voyages. This is how I made money quickly and rose in the ranks. Everyone knows pirates love gold and what easier way to make gold than with Under the Jolly Roger’s perfect trading system. When buying goods from an island, depending on the day and which island, you could get great deals or be surcharged a ridiculous amount. If you don’t mind taking the time to travel across the sea over and over again, making money is a breeze and you don’t have to risk a single soul.

Just like all games, Under the Jolly Roger has its ups and downs, but I truly had a good time playing this pirate simulator. So if you are willing to dump a ton of hours overboard into this game then I highly recommend you put on your sea legs and stand proud Under The Jolly Roger.

Star Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’m giving Under The Jolly Roger a 4-star rating because of its massive amount of gameplay and realistic approach to being a pirate. If you feel like my rating is way off, feel free to express yourself in the comments, or go ahead and click here to review it yourself. All ratings are based on our writer’s experiences and are their genuine opinions. For more reviews and news please subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. I hope you enjoyed this review and as always, Game On Gamers.

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