The Best Pirate Games: Best On The High Seas

best pirate games

January 2019 Update: We’ve added new games to this growing list of titles. 

The Golden Age of Pirates has inspired many a story, song, and film, and video games are no exception to its inspirational qualities. It was an age where piracy upon the sea was rife, and where traveling from point A to point B was a peril-filled adventure. The world was a pretty unsafe place back in the day, and to top it off, it was filled with real-world characters like Black Beard.

Needless to say, the Golden Age of Pirates has become something of an anchor for video games, competing as a strong genre among the likes of zombies, aliens, and robots.

In this list, we take a look at some of the best and most well-received (by the public, and by yours truly) pirate-themed games of all time.


One Piece Pirate Warriors 3

  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Platforms: PS3, PS4, PSV, PC, NS

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 is the third game in the Koei Tecmo’s series of action games inspired by the pirate-themed anime series. You’ll experience the story of One Piece with its trademark hack & slash beat ’em up gameplay.

Be sure to use a controller if you’re playing it on PC!


Atlas

  • Developer: Grapeshot Games, Instinct Games
  • Publisher: Grapeshot Games
  • Platforms: PC
  • Release: December 22, 2018

Atlas is the latest MMO based on being a pirate. Players will join together in a massive world that is supposed to allow over 40,000 players to actively dwell within it. Now the game is currently in Early Access which means that we can expect certain aspects of the title to not work as intended. Overall, the game will allow players to create crews and grow a civilization all while exploring the open seas.


Risen 2: Dark Waters

  • Developer: Piranha Bytes, Wizarbox
  • Publisher: Deep Silver
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, X360

Though the original Risen was a medieval fantasy game, Risen 2 is a swashbuckling-themed game that transfer classic Caribbean pirate themes into a fantasy world where ancient gods, voodoo magic and titans coexist. As an RPG, players take control of a main character to explore the world.


Assassin’s Creed Pirates

  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: Mobile

A spin-off of the Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag game, Pirates is developed for smartphones and follows the pirate Alonzo Batilia in search of the treasure of the French pirate La Buse. The game focuses on naval combat and shares some strong similarities to Black Flag in terms of combat and gameplay.


Age of Booty

  • Developer: Certain Affinity
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, X360

Taking place in the swashbuckling era, Age of Booty is a real-time multiplayer strategy game that allows players to helm their very own pirate ship with the goal of sinking enemy opponents and sending them to the depths of the ocean.

Players team up with other online players or AI-controlled pirate ships to raid, pillage, and destroy their way to dominance on the high seas.


Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – The Legend of Dead Kel

  • Developer: 38 Studios, Big Huge Games
  • Publisher: 38 Studios, Electronic Arts
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, X360

The Legend of Dead Kel is an expansion pack for the ill-fated, but nevertheless great RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. It adds a rather significant expansion onto the base game, providing a raft of new content in an island called Gallows End.

It’s full of undead pirates and even includes a new player housing called Gravehal Keep, featuring an estate with quest givers and perks.


Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, X360, XBO

Taking place during the Golden Age of Pirates, Black Flag puts players in the role of one Edward Kenway, a buccaneer and pirate who finds himself embroiled in an ages-old conspiracy—a war between Templars and Assassins that’s raging on even to this day. Players fly the Jolly Roger upon their mast and undertake missions on both sea and land.


Windward

  • Developer: Tasharen Entertainment
  • Publisher: Tasharen Entertainment
  • Platforms: PC, Mobile

If you enjoyed Sid Meier’s Pirates but hated all of the turn-based strategy, dancing, and swordfighting aspects, then Windward is the game for you. Windward is essentially a streamlined version of Sid Meier’s Pirates designed as a cooperative multiplayer sandbox with only the fun parts: sailing your ship and blowing up other ships.

It’s a fully procedural co-op game, meaning that every time you play the game, you enter into an all new world that’s unique to that playthrough. You sail about, find resources, upgrade your ship, and conquer territory.


Sid Meier’s Pirates!

  • Developer: MicroProse
  • Publisher: MicroProse, Ultra Games
  • Platforms: Amiga, PC, NES, Genesis, DS

Sid Meier’s Pirates! is a game containing almost every aspect of pirate life. There’s real-time sea battles, turn-based land battles, dance offs, and tactical sword-fighting.

Originally developed in 1987 (sans ballroom dancing), the game was remade in 2004 with much of its features intact.


Monkey Island Series

  • Developer: LucasArts, Telltale Games
  • Publisher: LucasArts, Disney Interactive
  • Platforms: Atari, Amiga, PC, PS2, XBLA, Wii, PSN, Mobile

An adventure game series by LucasArts (and later Telltale Games, but we’ll be talking about the originals only in this one) Monkey Island puts players in the role of one Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate.

He must struggle to overcome the most notorious pirate in the Caribbean, defeat the plans of the evil undead pirate LeChuck, and win the heart of Elaine Marley, governess.


Sea of Thieves

  • Developer: Rare
  • Publisher: Microsoft
  • Platforms: XBO, PC

Sea of Thieves is an action-adventure title that is centered around pirates. Players will take to the open seas with their cooperative crew as they search for hidden treasure and taking out other pirate crews that show up along the way.

This is an MMO game where players will consistently run into each other throughout their various adventures. Combat will take place both in ships and on land as well, giving players the full pirate experience. Players will also be able to attend safe-zones where they can trade, hire on new crew or even dabble into the black market goods.


Lego Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Developer: Traveller’s Tales, TT Fusion
  • Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
  • Platforms: PC, 3DS, DS, PS3, PSP, Wii, X360

The Lego-based video game titles have always been popular for all ages. Overall, the games usually embark on a journey revolved around an established IP in such as Pirates of the Caribbean.

Within Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, players will get to follow Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew of pirates through the narrative. Spanning across the first four films, players will be battling iconic rivals from the films while collecting items and unlocking new characters.


Blackwake

  • Developer: Mastfire Studios Pty Ltd
  • Publisher: Mastfire Studios Pty Ltd
  • Platforms: PC

Blackwake is very much like Sea of Thieves though it retains more of a realism aesthetic rather than cartoonish characters. Overall, the game is a FPS where groups of players will work together to maintain a pirate ship within the open seas. However, you’ll be forced to battle against other pirate crews that lurk about which means working as a team to load the cannons, fire at your enemy, patch holes and keep your ship from sinking to the depths below.

Currently, Blackwake is still an Early Access title on the Steam platform. The title hit Early Access in 2017 though the developers behind the project are hoping to see the game officially release into the market in February of 2018.


The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Platforms: GC, Wii U

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is the tenth installment to the long running The Legend of Zelda franchise. As always, players take on the role of Link but this time, the emphasis is for players to explore the open seas as they take the fight against Ganon.

Much like the recent installments to the franchise, Wind Waker features 3D gameplay, however, the art style is drastically different in comparison to the past few installments at the time. Nintendo developed the video game to retain more of a cartoonish style with cel shading which was met with a positive reception with fans and critics alike.