Pirate games are wonderful when you want to experience the open seas and the joy of adventure. They are usually made in an open-world format, so you’re free to go wherever you want and do whatever you want. However, a good pirate game is hard to perfect, seeing as there are a lot of things that might make or break the immersion.
To help you find the best pirate games, we’ve compiled this list where you’ll get a brief overview of them and in the end, you choose exactly what you want to play and take it from there!
The open-world genre isn’t limited to only pirate games, numerous other games and genres will give you the same sense of adventure, only on land. For example, you might want to take a look at the best RPG games around. If mobile gaming is your forte, fear not, because we also have the best mobile RPG games lined up and ready for you!
The best pirate games
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Starting strong, we have Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. This game has all of the standard mechanics of other Assassin’s Creed games, except that everything is laced with the cutthroat and brutal lifestyle of piracy. How awesome is that? While playing as Edward Kenway, a pirate-turned-assassin, you get to sail the open seas in your own ship that you can upgrade as necessary to make sure it can defeat any other ship on the water. The plot generally revolves around your character and how you can acquire as many riches as possible, while also taking care of your crew and your ship. The sailing is smooth, just like the naval combat, and when you combine all of that with the phenomenal sea shanties and epic pirate music, you get an amazing experience that cannot be forgotten. If you’re looking for only the best pirate games, AC IV is perfect for you.
Sea of Thieves
This game is all about the multiplayer aspect and putting together a crew so you can all sail the seas with enough banter for 5 years. The main goal of Sea of Thieves is to complete certain voyages given out as quests by different trading companies. As you complete these voyages, you’ll earn a reputation for yourself among the pirate ranks. Doing all of this isn’t easy if you’re alone, however, since the world you play in is a shared one, meaning that anyone else playing the game at the time can come across your ship and either help you or make your life harder. This is why the game is best played with friends since you can organize everyone to do a specific job such as operating the cannons, steering the ship, scouting, etc. If you’re in dire need of one of the best pirate games for those late-night Discord sessions, look no further.
Risen 2: Dark Waters
Here we have one of the best pirate games that take all of the standard pirate tropes and dials them up to 11. In Risen 2: Dark Waters, you create a character with a specific class and you set sail to complete the main story which is divided into locations that you could imagine finding in a full-fledged pirate movie — coves, shores, caves, villages, and much more are up for the taking. As you progress through the main story you will be able to invest earned experience into the different aspects of your character. Points can be invested into:
Voodoo — the use of dark magic
Cunning — stealth gameplay
Toughness — how much damage you can take
Firearms — skill in using guns
Blades — profficiency in using swords, daggers, etc
As you can see, there is a lot of variety to how you can structure your character, so the experience is fun and immersive no matter what you choose to do!
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
This might not be what you were expecting, but Lego games are exceptionally fun to play since their gameplay mechanics are unique and exciting, despite the art style. In this game, you play as the most popular characters of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, all of which have their own abilities and gameplay benefits. Some characters are better at sword fighting, others at navigation, while others can even breathe underwater. When it comes to the gameplay, most missions are selected at the hub area called the Port, and as you progress through the main storyline you’ll notice that the Port evolves with you, growing larger and more complex the more content you uncover. The sense of adventure is very present and extremely worthwhile, thus making this one of the best pirate games around.
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Here we have a game that is a direct sequel to the original Pillars of Eternity, except this game places special emphasis on seafaring and sea exploration, just like the best pirate games should. You assume the role of a Watcher, the main character with the ability to look into the soul of another person. Your goal is to traverse the map as best as you can, utilizing a crew if you want. Along the journey, you will encounter many different enemies, NPCs, and embark on adventures that are very well-made and complex. You also have some villains that are competing with you for control of the area you’re in, so you have to be wary of those, as well. If you want a great adventure with an excellent story, picking Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire is not a mistake!
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Moving on, we actually have another Pirates of the Caribbean game that rotates around the main plot of the movie of the same name. In this game, you play as Captain Jack Sparrow, who has to journey to find the Lords of the Brethren Court to find a way to stop Davy Jones from murdering any more pirates he comes across. When it comes to combat and gameplay, you can expect the same level of ridiculousness and acrobatics that you see in the movies. Also, the story that the game tells, while it is from the movie, is very well-made and properly adapted to fit the scope of a video game, so you can appreciate the game more since it stays quite faithful to the movie. It is only natural that the best pirate games would be modelled after the best pirate movies.
Sid Meier’s Pirates!
This game takes an alternative route compared to other games on this list. While other games are more “within the moment”, Sid Meier’s Pirates! is divided into a series of minigames that are pirate-themed and concern themselves with the various aspects of piracy. Some themes of the minigames are sailing, running away, dancing, swordsmanship, and many more. Some crewmembers can be recruited to join your ship, and they can make some of these skills easier to learn and perfect. This just goes to show that you don’t have to have too much complexity to produce one of the best pirate games ever. The game has a very rich and immersive story where progression and improving your skills are very important, and any fans of classic piracy will feel right at home here.
Blackwake is one of the best pirate games that is quite similar to Sea of Thieves in its general gameplay, where cooperation and organization are very important for success. You can choose your friends to be your crewmates, and together, you sail the open seas in search of other ships to attack and ransack. You have a variety of weapons and equipment ranging from simple bombs to muskets and swords. Combat is usually done in an artillery style, where your crew mans the cannons and shoots the opposing ship. Should either of you get too close to each other, you can always board the enemy ship and attack face to face. This approach is quite risky, but the reward is excellent should you succeed. Teamwork is essential for this game, and if you and your friends have nothing to do, give this game a shot!
Tropico 2: Pirate Cove
Now we have another game with an alternative playstyle compared to other of the best pirate games. Tropico 2: Pirate Cove is a city builder where you manage an island inhabited by pirates. Your goal is to loot everything you can find while simultaneously keeping both your pirates and captives happy. This can be done by making sure that all of their needs are met, so they will be satisfied and will eventually improve whatever activities they are assigned to. As you progress through the game, you will be able to improve your island in various ways, including upgrading the ships in your boatyard, upgrading your pirates, and much more. The strategic aspect of this game is very important, and if you’re looking for a strategic management game with a pirate theme to it, this one is for you.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Yes, there is a Legend of Zelda pirate game. The Wind Waker is a game where you play as Link and focus most of your energy on sailing the Great Sea. On your journey, you will be able to talk to various NPCs, complete quests, and defeat enemies using a sword and shield. Aside from the main sailing segment of the story, you can also raid different dungeons which contain many enemies, followed by a powerful boss at the end. Overall, the game is extremely complex and offers a lot of content to enjoy while at the same time getting the most out of a Legend of Zelda game. Since the content is so dense and rich, there is always something new to do in one of the best pirate games.
Arrr, mateys! We have reached the end of our journey. Some of these games are nearly 20 years old, but they are still held in high regard because the artistic vision at the time was great, all things considered. If you’re in the market for some new games to play, by all means, take a look at some of our other articles like best IOS games and best naval games.