25 Best Pirate Games of All-Time: The Ultimate List (2019)

Looking for the best pirate games you can play right now? We’ve got you covered.

With One Piece: World Seeker releasing earlier this year, we started thinking about all of the pirate games we’ve played, and which are our favorites.

For thousands of years, they have been the scourge of those who sail the ocean. They reave and plunder ships and cities, and some have even built empires that span the seas. Most of their kind live on in legends. They are pirates!

For better or worse, pirates have left an indelible mark on cultures around the world. They are depicted as either brave or heroic, freedom-loving swashbucklers or as bloodthirsty criminals. Sometimes they even do both in the same setting!

Pirates have been the subject of stories for centuries. From pirate books like Treasure Island to TV shows like Black Sails (may ye rest in peace), we love pirates. Therefore, when video games came along, it was no surprise that it didn’t take too long for us to get our first pirate game.

Whether they are based on historical figures or fictional characters, there are plenty of great pirate games out there. So, sharpen your sword, grab your hat, and get ready to set sail. Here is a list of the 25 best pirate games of all time:

25 Honorable Mention: World of Warcraft

Honorable Mention: World of Warcraft

Platforms: PC
Developer: Blizzard
Release Date: November 23, 2004

Okay, we know — obviously, World of Warcraft isn’t a traditional pirate game where you’re doing nothing but pirating. But there are absolutely some great pirate-themed moments and areas that are well-worth mentioning for those who simply want to be a pirate and swashbuckle with other pirates somewhere in a video game.

In fact, some of our favorite moments in World of Warcraft provide a heavy dose of pirates. For example, The Deadmines dungeons puts you and your crew against the Defias Brotherhood and their leader, Edwin VanCleef (and Captain Cookie – a megasized pirate murloc). You’ll also face-off against Bloodsail Buccaneers on Plunder Isle near Booty Bay, an area littered with pirates and pirate goblins. You’ll also fight skeletal undead pirates, Irontide Raiders, and more.

It’s WoW‘s pirate elements and many other aspects that make it one of the best MMOs of all-time, and we’d be doing a disservice if we didn’t mention it here on this list.

24 Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion

Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion

Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Climax Studios
Release Date July 20, 2018

Ask anyone who has seen it, and they will say that Adventure Time is one of the best cartoons of all time. During its eight-year run, Cartoon Network’s hit show about a boy and a magic dog garnered fans of all ages. As the show geared towards its series finale in summer 2018, fans were blessed with one last surprise: an Adventure Time pirate game.

In Pirates of the Enchiridion, heroes Finn and Jake wake up one morning to find the land of Ooo’s covered in water. Most of the place is underwater, and everyone is going around acting like pirates. Finn and Jake decide to do their hero thing, and after finding a conveniently placed boat, set off to save Ooo.

In their review of the game, IGN notes that, while the game does its best to bring the magic of the show to the game, it won’t appeal to its older audience — which is okay; that’s okay. It captures the setting of Adventure Time well enough, but it is a bare bones RPG that will not take much effort to beat. It’s more suited for kids who are fans of the show, and it’s one of the top pirate games for kids to play.

Hearing the gang sing sea shanties, though, was fun.

23 Pirate101

Pirate101

Platforms: PC
Developer: KingsIsle Entertainment
Release Date: October 15, 2012

In 2008, KingsIsle Entertainment first released the MMORPG Wizard101. Taking place in a universe known as The Spiral, players could team up to hone their skills, battle monsters, and save Wizard City. In 2012, KingsIsle followed up on their previous success with another MMO, Pirate101.

Set in the same universe as its sister MMO, Pirate101 is set in the middle of a Golden Age of Piracy, with flying pirate ships prowling The Spiral in search of gold and adventure. Opposing them is the Armada, an army of robot soldiers that is attempting to enforce its brand of law. Like a lot of MMO’s, players will progress through the world of the game as they level up and gain more experience. This can lead to new abilities, new companions, better ships, and other fun adventures.

The game has received some positive reviews on Metacritic, with people praising the humor and the light-hearted portrayal of pirates. Since it is geared towards kids, pirates get portrayed in the more romantic, swashbuckling light that kids enjoy. It is not historically accurate, but it does not have to be to have fun. What’s more, reviews have said that it appeals to all ages, not only kids. For those looking for a light-hearted take on pirates, this is the game for you.

Or if you’re looking for a game to play with your kids, Pirate101 is a great option.

22 Age of Booty

Age of Booty

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Certain Affinity
Release Dates: October 15, 2008 (X360), November 13, 2008 (PS3), March 5, 2009 (PC)

When people think of real-time strategy games, they tend to think of games like Age of Empires, Star Wars: Empire at War, and Command and Conquer. In other words, pirates seem to be the last thing that comes to mind. Certain Affinity’s 2008 game, Age of Booty, manages to combine the two into a fun experience that’s well worth playing even in 2019.

Played on a series of hex-based maps akin to the Civilization franchise, the goal of the game’s simple: capture more territory than the enemy. Players pit their ships against the AI and each other as they attempt to sink each other and get the most towns.

While there are, single-player maps for people to play on, rts’ are best enjoyed with other players. The multiplayer has modes that can support up to eight players at once; four on two teams. Anyone who has played RTS’ before knows that many players make games more chaotic, challenging, and more fun.

This light-hearted game is enjoyable, but it does have a flaw to it: the AI is dumb. If you left an AI ship to capture a town to go somewhere else, it would follow you before it finished. Other than the frustrating AI, this game’s still a fun and humorous take on the pirate genre. And if you enjoy RTS games and pirates, it’s a no-brainer.

21 Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon

Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon

Platform: Windows
Developer: Barking Dog Studios
Release Date: October 31, 2002

Remember that time Disney tried to make a sci-fi version of the classic novel Treasure Island? It was set in space and called Treasure Planet, but it did not do well financially, so most people do not remember it (which is why it was on our list of the most underrated animated movies). With the help of Barking Dog Studios, though, Disney was able to make a decent game based on it.

Taking place five years after the events of the film, Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon sees Jim Hawkins as he is about to join the Imperial Navy. It could not have come at a better time, too, as when the Terran Empire’s about to sign a peace treaty with their rivals, a new enemy appears. Mysterious, ironclad ships are attacking Terran ships, alongside a pirate fleet led by Long John Silver. Jim must uncover the mystery to the Ironclads and why Silver does not seem to recognize him.

Since the games about using sailing ships in space, the combat is straightforward. Gamespot notes that if you swapped space for blue water, then it would be an excellent naval game. The concept is an interesting one, and the multiplayer does let you play as John Silver himself. The combat can be slow, though, so it may not be for all pirate-lovers.

20 Blood & Gold: Caribbean!

Blood & Gold: Caribbean!

Platforms: PC
Developer: Snowbird Games
Release Date: December 10, 2015

When it comes to pirates, there is no more magnificent setting than that of the Caribbean. The Golden Age of Piracy has influenced the world’s perception of these outlaws, and Blood and Gold: Caribbean! sets players right in the middle of it.

A free update to a previous version of Caribbean!, Blood and Gold is an open world sandbox and economics game. The premise is simple: you are dropped in 18th Century Caribbean and then given free rein to do whatever you want. Players can then sail across the seas and live out the pirate life they have dreamed of, building an armada to destroy everything. Alternatively, they could become merchantmen and grow fat and wealthy off their profits. With detailed ways to customize and manage your ship and character, the possibilities are as boundless as the imagination.

Fans of the game have compared it to a grown-up version of Sid Meier’s Pirates!, and it mostly is. Still, criticism has been made at how dated the graphics seem to be. Others have said it is just a pirate reskin of the Mount & Blade series that uses the same engine. All it needs is some extra polish.

19 Tales of Monkey Island

Tales of Monkey Island

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Wii, iOS, Mac, Windows
Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: July 7, 2009

Back in the day, one of the most popular pirate games was the point-and-click series Monkey Island by LucasArts (best known for Star Wars games in the 90s). After ten years of well-received games, LucasArts went dark with the series for almost ten years. Therefore, when Telltale announced that they were making a fourth game, you can bet fans were happy.

In his latest adventure, Guybrush Threepwood seems to have finally defeated his undead enemy LeChuck. Emphasis on the “seem,” as it has revealed that his hand’s been infected with LeChuck’s evil voodoo, and if it is not cured, it will spread across the seven seas. Threepwood then sets out on a quest to heal himself and save the Caribbean.

Before Telltale went under last year, they were famous for dishing out games in episodic format. That trend continues in a new game that stays faithful to what LucasArts created. The game takes people back to the height of adventure gaming. The characters are as entertaining as ever, the pirate setting is as fun as it was in the 90s, and it is a good time all around. There are some hiccups with pacing and performance, but that is worth the fun. So, hop aboard and let us sail!

18 Skies of Arcadia

Skies of Arcadia

Platforms: Dreamcast, GameCube
Developer: Overworks
Release Date: October 5, 2000 (Dreamcast), December 26, 2002 (GameCube)

Back in the day, SEGA shared dominance over the console business with Nintendo. By the year 2000, though, their consoles had begun to founder, leaving some gems of gaming never to make it to the West (cough *Sakura Taisen*). Thankfully, a few gems did manage to get cross over, such as Skies of Arcadia.

Set in a sky world called Arcadia, the game focuses on Vyse and Aika, teenage members of the Blue Rogues air pirates. They act as Robin Hoods of the sky and fight against the militaristic Valuan Empire. After rescuing a girl who knows how to find an old WMD, the three team up to stop the Valuans from finding it and use it to take over the world.skies of arcadia dreamcast

The game contains many of the standard JRPG tropes of the time. It has open-world exploration, turn-based battles, and all the characters look like they are from an anime. The idea of its revolving around sky pirates is also a refreshing change.

This game’s one of the best on the Dreamcast. Metacritic ranks it as “critically acclaimed” on its website, and it frequently appears on lists of games fans want to see remastered most. In short, this is a game worth checking out if you can find a Dreamcast or GameCube to play them on.

17 Sid Meier’s Pirates! (1987 Original)

Sid Meier’s Pirates! (1987 Original)

Platforms: PC, NES, Sega Genesis, Nintendo DS
Developer: MicroProse
Release: 1987

Before he made the Civilization series, Sid Meier’s first rose to prominence with his game, Sid Meier’s Pirates! I am talking about the original, 1987 version that came out on the Commodore 64. This game was not just one of the best pirate video games ever made. It’s one of the best video games ever made, period.

The gameplay is simple to understand but has a remarkable amount of depth. Players pick between one of several eras to start in and are then given the choice of serving under one of the four leading powers in the Caribbean: England, Holland, France, or Spain. From there, they are free to do whatever they want: hunt down pirates, plunder ports, marry a governor’s daughter, or find lost family members.

The real genius to this game is that many of the factors in the game are randomized at the start, so no two games are the same. These factors continue to change as the game progresses, so players need to stay sharp and ready for new opportunities. One minute, your nation could be at war with everyone; the next, total peace.

This game is one of Sid Meier’s masterpieces, and while I have never played it myself, I have nothing but praise for it.

16 Risen 2: Dark Waters

Risen 2: Dark Waters

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Developers: Piranha Bytes, Wizarbox
Release Date: April 24, 2012

What would happen if you took elements of gothic stories and then transferred them to a world about pirates? There are two possible outcomes: you could get the Pirates of the Caribbean movies or you get this game, Risen 2: Dark Waters.

You play as a nameless hero living in a city that is being threatened by two giant gods called Titans. The people are desperate to leave, but a Kraken commanded by another Titan is attacking any ships, keeping them trapped. You are charged with joining a bunch of pirates to find something to kill the Kraken.

The big draw to this game is that it embraces what it means to be a pirate without using the same old clichés. Yes, they got those clichés in them, but it is more than that. It has all the foul-mouthed and offensive language that you would expect from a band of pirates. At the same time, it is not afraid to delve into the supernatural, hence the POTC reference. If you are looking for a dirtier, more realistic version of a pirate adventure, then this is for you.

15 Tempest: Pirate Action RPG

Tempest: Pirate Action RPG

Platform: PC
Developer: Lion’s Shade
Release Date: August 22, 2016

This is another Pirate RPG that is in the vein of Sid Meier’s Pirates, with a dash of Sea of Thieves and Black Flag’s variety.

Unlike some of the other pirate games on this list, Tempest embraces the aspect of piracy that we all want to enjoy: ship sailing. Also, I think that they could not have done a better job doing it.

Three continents, the entire open ocean between them, and hundreds of ports and quests to explore. This game serves as a reminder that piracy takes place on a global scale. Players will not be sharing the oceans with other ships, though. There mythical beasts that are lurking in the waters: krakens, leviathans, dragons, and more!

Aside from the stunning graphics, the real draw to this game is the level of customization for the ships. Everything from the hull to the flag to your bow’s figurehead can be changed to suit your needs.

This game may not be perfect. Some have complained about how issues like “auto-scaling make level grinding pointless” or that it is a mobile game that was put on Steam. But for the most part, it’s reviews are mostly positive.

14 Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure

Platform: Wii
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: October 23, 2007

There comes a time in every little boy’s life where they dream of becoming a pirate. I went through it, and you people probably went through it. For Zack and his monkey best friend Wiki, that dream becomes a reality in their titular game. After a mishap with a pirate group, they find the magic talking skull of a famous pirate captain, Barbaros. The head says if they help him find his body, he will take them to a treasure island and give them his ship. Thus, their epic adventure begins.

Like many of the games that came out on the Wii, Zack & Wiki is a puzzle-based platformer/adventure game. Each level sees Zack facing a bunch of different puzzles that players need to solve using their brains. By shaking the Wii remote, Zack can turn Wiki into a bell and magically change enemies into something useful. It is a creative feature that uses the Wii remote to its greatest extent.

Perhaps most telling of how well it is IGN’s review of the game. They say that while the name is dumb, it is one of the Wii’s best games. They even compare it to Wind Waker in visuals. That is a great honor for a game!

13 Ratchet and Clank Future: The Quest for Booty

Ratchet and Clank Future: The Quest for Booty

Platform: PlayStation 3
Developer: Insomniac Games
Release: August 21, 2008

When we last left off with Ratchet and Clank, Clank was abducted by the Zoni and taken to parts unknown. With the help of his friend Talwyn, Ratchet discovers a way to locate the Zoni and find his robotic best friend. The problem is the only person who knows how to be a dangerous space pirate on a planet of pirates. You can tell that this is going to get very crazy very fast.

Ratchet and Clank Future: The Quest for Booty is a short game, lasting only three to four hours in total. However, it succeeds as a pirate game for several reasons. The game takes place in the lush and tropical settings depicted in pirate stories. On top of that, there are the droves of robot pirate enemies that Rachet has to get through on his quest. If robot pirates do not sound even a little unusual, then I do not know what will!

Let us also not forget the quirky pirate characters of the game, like Rusty Pete and Captain Darkwater himself. Robot pirates have never been this much fun!

12 One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Switch
Developer: Omega Force
Release: March 26, 2015

Since it was first published in Shonen Jump, One Piece has risen to become the best-selling manga of all time. Long story short, it chronicles the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew as he seeks to become King of the Pirates. Aside from the merchandise, anime, and movies, One Piece also has an extensive video game library. Of all the games, the best receiver has been One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3.

Gameplay wise, this game has a lot in common with the Dynasty Warriors series. Players take control of Luffy and the other members of his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, as they fight their way through hordes of enemies. Aside from being a game about pirates, it makes it onto this list for other reasons.

If you have read the manga, then you will know that the Straw Hats are not like most pirates. They are into the more romantic aspects of piracy like freedom and adventure over wealth and plunder, and that’s part of what makes One Piece a unique pirate game.

11 Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

Platforms: SNES, Game Boy Advance
Developer: Rare
Release Date: November 20, 1995

One of the best games in the Donkey Kong franchise, it’s ironic considering that Donkey Kong’s not even the main character. In this hit game for the SNES, King K. Rool and his army of pirates kidnap everyone’s favorite tie-wearing, mutant gorilla. It falls to DK’s best friend and partner, Diddy Kong, and his girlfriend, Dixie, to rescue the ape.

What makes this game a great pirate game and a great game in general, is the stunning setting in which it takes place. Boasting 52 levels of increasing difficulty, our two monkeys travel across pirate ships and jungle locations in search of Donkey Kong. Jungles are often associated with pirates, given the tropical setting of the Caribbean.diddy kong's quest

It keeps the sense of adventure that is often associated with pirates and romanticism. It should be pointed out, as well, how tough and gritty King K. Krool look in this game. In real life, pirates are often going to be carrying around more than a few scars on their body and will try to look as intimidating as possible. It helps make their job easier if people do not fight back. Sorry to say, but Diddy and Dixie are not scared at all.

10 Tropico 2: Pirate Cove

Tropico 2: Pirate Cove

Platform: PC, Mac
Developer: Frog City Software
Release: April 8, 2003

From atop your wooden throne, you are a master of all pirates, the Pirate King! I do not know about you people, but running a pirate nation as its king sounds like an interesting concept. In this second entry in the ongoing Tropico series (which has become one of our favorite city-builders here at Nerd Much?), we trade in the mantle of “El Presidente” in favor of being Pirate King.

Considering how much pirates are portrayed as doing whatever they want, this should not work. As king, you will have to ensure the pirate’s needs are met. That means making sure they have the three pirate essentials: women, rum, and food. Build structures to grow crops, homes to sleep in, and taverns where they can gamble and get drunk. Bring in the money the only way pirates know how: steal it and captives.tropico 2 pirate cove

I am a fan of the Tropico series, and I am waiting for the upcoming Tropico 6 and knowing that there is a game in the series that deals with managing a society of pirates seem like an intriguing idea. It is too sorry that I missed the boat on that.

9 Furious Seas

Furious Seas

Platform: VR
Developer: Future Immersive
Release: July 16, 2018

All right, lads. Now, I have seen plenty of different types of pirate games in my lifetime. However, I have never seen a game like Furious Seas. It is a VR pirate game, with graphics so amazing and oceans so real, that you can almost smell the sea salt.

All players need to do is put on their Vive or Oculus headset, and step onto the decks of a pirate ship. It is as simple as that. As captain of our boat, we command the crew as we sail and explore, battle against fleets of enemies, and become a pirate to be feared by all.

This game’s still in its infancy; it even says it is in early access. However, this has the potential to become necessary have for pirate and VR fans alike. The developers are ambitious, too: they went out of their way to get rid of motion sickness, but that is only the start. They already have an online multiplayer in the works, and open world exploration.

People are confident in Furious Seas, as well. One person even says that it is as close to AC: Black Flag as we may ever get. That is high praise if you ask me. This is something to watch out for.

Check it out here.

8 Assassin’s Creed: Rogue

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Developer: Ubisoft Sofia
Release Date: November 11, 2014

Since its launch in 2008, Assassin’s Creed has become one of Ubisoft’ flagship titles. While it was usually played from the perspective of the titular Assassin’s, that would be turned on end with Assassin’s Creed: Rogue. In it, players take control of Shay Cormac, a former Assassin who ends siding with their Templar enemies. We are then forced to hunt down the other Assassin’s as the Templars seek to influence the ongoing Seven Years War.

Like its predecessor, Black Flag, Rogue features an emphasis on naval combat, with players able to roam the North Atlantic and inland rivers. With new naval weapons, methods of warfare, and the added danger of the Assassin’s, players need to adjust the way they play to survive on the sea and land.

Despite naval combat getting an upgrade, some critics felt that Rogue was too much like Black Flag. One critic even went so far to say that it was a glorified DLC for Black Flag. While the story may be a bit lackluster and there is not much to bring people back after the first run through it, Rogue brings the fun of being a privateer in one of the pivotal moments in North American history.

7 LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360
Developers: Traveller’s Tales, TT Fusion
Release Date: May 10, 2011

One thing that LEGO likes to do is make LEGO versions of favorite film and TV franchises. Another thing they want to do is create LEGO video games based on those franchises. In this case, Pirates of the Caribbean got the LEGO treatment. As IGN notes in their review, after all, it was only a matter of time.

For those who have played any of the other LEGO games, then they will know what to expect from this. Everything from the films reenacted in the silly, slapstick format that LEGO loves. Considering the source material with Jack Sparrow’s antics, this fits right in. There is a point in Davy Jones’ Locker where he can ride goats. That seems like something Jack Sparrow would do.

The best part is that, like the earlier LEGO games, the entire things enacted without any dialogue. The characters act out what is going on to the soundtrack of the films, leading to a light-hearted and comedic take on the film. As IGN notes, this makes some of the slower scenes in the movie more entertaining. The puzzles can be awkward and confusing at times, but that seems to be the only major gripe.

6 Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves

Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Developer: Rare
Released: March 20, 2018

What is better than being able to play out your pirate fantasies? Being able to play them out with your friends. That is why Sea of Thieves looked like it was going to be such a fantastic game. Capable of cross-platform play between Windows PC and the Xbox 1, players can team up and sail the seas in their pirate ship.

This game seems like a modernized version of POTCO, but without the Voodoo. Players can gather loot by taking it from other players, finish missions or raid forts. The big highlight of the game is the jaw-dropping visuals and graphics. IGN gave rare major props for capturing the adventure and uncertainty that comes with sailing on the high seas. The mechanics for the ships are very complex, with players having to keep adjusting the sails to move.

In 2019, Sea of Thieves is in an unrecognizable state when compared with the launch version. It has improved in just about every way, and with each content drop, fans seem to be getting back into it.

5 The Secret of Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island

Platforms: PC, iOS, Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developers: LucasFilm Games
Release Date: October 1990

Admit it: once you have played the Monkey Island series, you think it is the best thing for pirates since sliced bread. This series has made it on here several times already, but the highest spot should be reserved for the game that started it all.

Guybrush Threepwood is a man with a silly name and a big dream that he tells everyone: “I wanna be a pirate!” He was then given three tasks by the leaders of Melee Island to be considered a full-fledged pirate. This leads him to travel around the island, fall in love, and meet his undead nemesis, LeChuck, for the first time.

What sets this game so high up on the list is the fact that, like the original, it shows off much of what made it so great. The sense of humor, the pop culture references, everything is there for all to see. If you want to play at least one point-and-click game before you die, then let The Secret of Monkey Island be that game. Do not try to figure out what that secret is, though. Nobody knows.

4 Escape From Monkey Island

Escape From Monkey Island

Platforms: Windows, Mac. PlayStation
Developers: LucasArts
Release Date: November 8, 2000

This was the last game in the Monkey Island series before it went on hiatus for almost nine years. It was one heck of a sendoff to a hilarious game, though. The ending alone is what put this on the list.

After Guybrush and Elaine return home from their honeymoon, Melee Island has gone downhill. Elaine has been mistakenly declared dead, her mansion is being torn down, and now this Charles person is running for Governor. Sensing that something fishy’ s afoot, Elaine sends Guybrush around the Tri-Island Area to fix their various problems. Hilarity ensues, and I think that two giant robots fight each other.

Visually, this game was a leap forward for the series, since it was the first one to use CGI. Compared to what we have today, though, it does not look so hot in the end. The great thing about this, though, is that the jokes remain hilarious. “Monkey Kombat” may be one of the funniest references to Mortal Kombat I have read. From that to the voodoo references and the crazy schemes, this is one of the most entertaining games in the series.

3 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Platforms: GameCube
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: December 13, 2002

The Legend of Zelda is one of the most successful video game franchises of all time, containing legendary title such as Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild. Still, I do not think anyone was prepared for what they got in the 2002 game, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

Those who know The Legend of Zelda know the basic plot: a version of the evil Ganon is threatening Hyrule, and it is up to a version of Zelda and Link to stop him. In this version, though, Hyrule was flooded centuries ago to stop Ganon. Only the mountains remain on a massive ocean.

While this game is technically not a pirate game, it captures the adventurous spirit of one. Throughout the game, Link’s forced to work with a group of pirates led by a woman named Tetra, who is the game’s incarnation of Zelda. When not questing to stop Ganon, players could explore the ocean and islands on Link’s magic, talking boat. Critics also praised the game for its unique art style, comparing the animation to a Disney film or the works of Hayao Miyazaki. All said, while not an official pirate game, The Wind Waker gave players the same sense of excitement from pirate stories.

2 Sid Meier’s Pirates! (2004 Remake)

Sid Meier’s Pirates! (2004 Remake)

Platforms: Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, PSP, Mac, Steam, Linux, Wii, iOS, Windows Phone
Developer: Firaxis Games
Release: November 22, 2004

This is it, people. This is the golden standard that all pirate games need to be set to until the seas dry up. While the original was heralded as one of the greatest games of all time, the 2004 remake takes everything about it and adds on modern graphics. Besides, the new game starts with a backstory for your character.

In the new backstory, Marquis Montalban sells your character’s family into slavery after they fail to pay off a massive debt to him. You evade capture, and ten years later, set out for the Caribbean in search of your family. After leading a mutiny and seizing control of your ship, it is up to you build your legend as a pirate.

I cannot tell you how many hours of my childhood were spent playing this one game. Its combination of minigames, challenging combat on land and sea, and the randomly generated factors kept me coming back no matter how many times I beat it. Later versions of the game, released on the Wii and smartphone, would add further features, like bombarding a city or customizing the hero’s appearance. Even after all these years, this game manages to hold up as one of the best that I have ever played. I only wish Sid Meier would make another remaster of this; having it with Tempest’s graphics would be amazing.

1 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
Developers: Ubisoft Montreal
Release: October 29, 2013

It used to be the case that Sid Meier’s Pirates! was the greatest pirate game of all time, but in 2013, Ubisoft changed that with. I was skeptical of the idea at first, but after playing it, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag became the best pirate game I have ever seen.

This time around, we play as Edward Kenway, a young Welsh pirate determined to prove that he deserves more than his place in life grants him. His hunt for wealth leads him stumbling into the world of the Assassin’s and Templars, and, despite trying not to; he is forced into the conflict. Edward sails the high seas in his ship, the Jackdaw, in search of the wealth he is dreamt of, rubbing elbows with the significant figures of the Golden Age of Piracy.

Ubisoft went beyond when it came to this game. First, it contains well-known historical figures and legendary outlaws like Blackbeard, Charles Vane, Mary Read, Anne Bonny, and Black Bart Roberts are all there (which essentially sounds like an episode of Black Sails). It is like a dream come true.

Then there is the naval aspect. From the moment you fire the cannons at another ship, you feel like you are a pirate. Right up until when you run your sword through the enemy captain. On top of all this, we have the base-building aspect, the upgrades to the Jackdaw, and diving down to shipwrecks. You can even hunt down Moby Dick; take that, Captain Ahab!

This game was widely considered the best in the Assassin’s Creed franchise before last year’s Odyssey, and Ubisoft knows this. So much so that they have decided to make a pirate-exclusive game, Skull and Bones. It has yet to be released, but the early footage looks very promising. But if it even comes close to the greatness that is Black Flag, we might have a new game to add to our list when it launches.

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