The 2004 incarnation of Sid Meier’s Pirates! is arguably the best one, with the move to 3D and away from random battles (ships are visible in this version) benefiting the gameplay immeasurably. Offsetting that somewhat are the infamous dance minigame and the slowness of traveling on land—which is necessary for rescuing lost relatives, finding the lair of the villain who kidnapped them, and discovering hidden pirate/Native American treasure—but overall, it’s still the best version of the game. It’s also incredibly accessible to newcomers, and that carries over to the older games to the point where my most successful playthroughs in the original Pirates and Pirates Gold occurred after finishing the 2004 version.
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