I’ve only played Man O’ War: Corsair [official site] briefly, but I’ve enjoyed my time with it. A massive shark tried to eat my ship. Currently in Early Access, it’s a loose adaptation of Games Workshop’s out of print table top game of combat on the high seas, Man O’ War. It’s a more expansive game than its inspiration, playing out a little like Sid Meier’s Pirates, but with orcs and zombies and all that good stuff. The latest update adds melee combat, so that your boarding parties can really party, as well as Chaos Warriors and Chaos Spawn. You can also turn bits of sea monsters into weapons, which sounds nice.
We investigated Corsair back in April and while it captures its setting well and has enjoyable, if simple, ship-to-ship combat, we felt the trading and other ‘overworld’ aspects were lacking.
Atmosphere alone takes it pretty far though. Being terrorized by a giant shark in the dead of night, or having your cargo of plague refugees burst out of the hold and onto the deck as zombies, is as frightening and memorable as I’d want from a Warhammer game. But outside of those moments, as I sail from one port to the next, I’m left wishing there was more to do, and that the world would let me make a mark on it. A pirate is lured to sea by the promise of freedom and adventure. Right now, Corsair has half of that equation.
That’s to be expected, perhaps, in an Early Access game and this update is a step in the right direction. As well as bugfixes for specific quests, there are changes to the way that ports stock weapons – they now replenish supplies over time – which hint at a world that is becoming more dynamic and reactive, with persistent elements.
Initially, the game was expected to leave Early Access after four months, which would mean one more month before a ‘full’ release. The devs have also said they’ll maintain EA status for “as long as it takes”, however, and I suspect they might extend their stay. Judging by comments the team have made on the forums, the next big update will add wizards to the game. That should lead to some splendid sights, as spells shimmer and spark across dark waters. I look forward to diving back in a few months down the line.