GENREMan o' War: Corsair is a singleplayer nonlinear action-adventure game where the player is command a ship and crew, explore the watery world, and engage in a variety of quests and challenges in order to obtain resources and reputation among different computer-controlled factions, trade goods and either aid or attack those in need (and sometimes those who don't need it) and eventually retire to their homeland with a nice amount of wealth and power. Combat includes both third-person shooters while boarding ships and classic seafaring side-cannon combat where the player tries to outmaneuver and veer next to enemy ships and sea monsters.
OBJECTIVEThe objective of Man o' War Corsair is, as stated above, to obtain wealth, riches and power in an assortment of methods. The player is free to sail from harbor to harbor in search of trade and missions in the form of menus, and to roam freely at sea in search of combat. The player can choose their captain's country of origin from a variety of fictious places, and name their ship and adorn it with a variety of flags. Fame can be obtained by killing off pirates and sea monsters or by helping derelicts, and infamy can be gained by attacking shipmates, the navy and friendly ships. As of Early Access in May 2016, these were the only two variables for reputation and were not exclusive. This means the player could become both very super famous and highly infamous at the same time. These values can affect prices when trading in ports, dialogue when obtaining quests, and how other ships will behave around the player.
CONTROLSAs Man o' War: Corsair has the player operate in three different gmae modes, there are a few control schemes to learn; two of which can be rebound as pleased. The seafaring mode has the player use the keyboard-and-mouse or gamepad to steer the ship and adjust its speed, tilt the camera and use the spyglass to view another ship's details from a distance, and to aim, adjust and fire the cannon as needed. The player can enter the third-person-shooter mode at a moment and even switch between their captain, first mate, sharpshooter and other specialized crew members. The third game mode, dull in comparison yet necessary, is the "in-port" mode where a player can navigate through menus in order to trade goods, collect and cash in quests and bounties, and even decide to retire as a captain.
GRAPHICSMan o' War: Corsair sports realistic graphics and particle effects with options for the level of detail, bloom and anti-aliasing. The textures have high resolutions and look quite nice, although the game does get choppy when something spectacular happens on screen, such as an explosion, a megalodon bites into the ship and tosses up sea mist and wood flak, or while sailing through a heavy storm. Hopefully these graphics will be optimized in the future.
AUDIOThe voice acting in Man o' War: Corsair is believable yet sounds unenthusiastic and monotone at times, even during an exciting action scene. Perhaps these pirates have seen it all and are merely barking orders, but it doesn't do well for immersion or enhancing the moment. The music is quite quiet beyond the title theme, and the sound effects are sometimes lacking. Hopefully the music and sounds will be improved with a future update, but the voice acting will suffice. One could argue that the reduced audio atmosphere allows a player to focus on the game itself without all the polish, but it certainly feels unfinished and like an Early Access game.
SUMMARYMan o' War: Corsair should be a welcome yet mediocre addition to the games library of anyone who enjoys pirates, naval combat or exploration. It feels like someone took a third-person-shooter and a naval combat game, crammed them into the same bunk on a ship and gave them a wash mixed from brine and Warhammer lore. Fitting, as the source material, the board game "Man o' War" was created by Games Workshop, who also created Games Workshop. Hopefully the fantasy aspect and variety of races will come into the game more with a future update. The game appears very large, and this reviewer is sure there's more to discover than he already did; especially since there are so many nationalities to choose from in character creation which can affect what quests and factions will be available. Sadly, despite all this analysis, it all feels rather mediocre. Man o' War: Corsair will need to go through a LOT of improvement and fine tuning before it can be heartily recommended to anyone who isn't a fan of seafaring exploration or Man o' War lore. It's not bad, really. It's just nothing to really write home about during the long sea voyages.
But it's still in Early Access so the developers have quite a lot of time to work on every negative aspect of the game. And if they will fix it, improve it, then if you like similar games, you should buy the game. But for now you can follow the development news and wait a little bit longer before getting on board.
PROS:+ Expansive exploration with lots to discover and do
+ Solid third-person-shooter and realtime seafaring exploration which blend well together
+ Economy and trading
+ You can shoot a giant shark in the face
CONS:- Game gets choppy due to particle effects and a lot happening on screen at once
- Music and sound effects need work
- Voice acting is not lively even when it would be appropriate
- Quests and features need to be balanced better
- Waiting for the game to go from Early Access to completion is annoying
- That giant shark ate two of my crew members!