Many SPOILERS are contained throughout these posts. You have been warned!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Other sailing/ocean exploration games worth playing

Wind Waker's vast ocean overworld had such a great atmosphere, it really gets you into the mood of sailing the open seas. The wind carries you across the bobbing waves, as you roam the camera around looking for islands off in the distance, and filling out your sea chart. This game was sailing done right.

In case Wind Waker leaves you thirsty for more epic maritime adventures, here's a list of other epic games involving seafaring exploration.

New Horizons: Uncharted Waters

This underrated classic SNES game has you taking on the life of a pirate. You sail around the world discovering new villages to pillage, searching for treasure, and battling enemy fleets in a turn-based strategic RPG style. There are 6 different plots to go through, each of them with entirely different objectives, all with an entirely open path and multiple ways of completing them. It's a great game if you're in the sea explorer mood.

Sid Meier's Pirates!

This PC/PSP game is an enjoyable mixture of adventure, strategy, stealth, sailing simulation, and role-playing. The sailing in this game is some of the most realistic simulation of sailing I've seen, and journeying across the ocean requires a honed sense of direction. Once you find land, you can plunder and stock up on food, items, and weapons. You can also capture rival pirates and add men to your crew. The bigger your crew, the more food and items you'll need. You'll encounter swordfights and cannon battles, which aren't anything special, and various other missions that give the game a nice variety of gameplay. But the real treat here is the sense of exploration and adventure.

Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat

This PS2/Xbox game is kind of a Zelda Wind Waker-inspired 3D adventure game, but with more of a focus on platforming. You'll sail to a number of different islands and explore different environments while encountering pirates and monsters. The sailing parts are very atmospheric, with all kinds of fish, dolphins, and even whales popping up from time to time. There's also cannon sea battles with other pirates.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

The sequel to Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, was an attempt at another ocean-based Zelda game, but this time given a touchscreen twist on the DS. It's... nowhere near as good as Wind Waker. Instead of a sailboat, you use a steamboat and you move simply drawing a path on the touch screen. This takes away from the freedom of sailing that WW had. On the plus side, this game has some really nice uses of the touch screen as well, such as drawing hints on the map to solve puzzles. There's even an uncharted island with no map, you have to draw the map from scratch. This gives the game a more adventurous feel. On the other hand, the overworld and islands aren't very well designed and there's very little to explore in this game compared to WW. It's worth playing if you liked WW and want more ocean-based Zelda fun.

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