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Return to the age of sail in Sea Dogs for the PC. Created by Russian-based developer Akella and published by Bethesda Softworks, this epic role-playing game is set in 1625 AD and features a highly detailed 3D world, real sailing ships, pirates, adventure and nonlinear gameplay.
Sea Dogs allows you to play as one of three sides in a struggle to rule the high seas. The adventure begins somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean in an archipelago discovered by Ojeda Alonso de Quena, a famous Portuguese explorer. Choose to play as an ambitious young corsair for one of the European superpowers, the English, Spanish or the French, to take part in conquering the newly found archipelago in South Seas.
You begin your adventure with a small ship and some general guidance as to what to do next — you must sail to the archipelago and start your career by attacking and looting ships, disrupting trade and gradually improving your ship and weapons.
Combining elements of role-playing, naval combat, action and strategy, the game provides an ample amount of opportunities for adventure as you set out to make a name for yourself. The Archipelago is a fertile land, with great treasures of gold and gems just waiting for you to discover them.
After you have proven your skills and feel you are strong enough to conquer an island for his country, the real war begins. Your task is to eventually conquer the entire archipelago for the empire (whichever one you are fighting for). You may also choose to become a pirate, to forget the contracts you've signed and start a new country, small but free. In this case, your task is to conquer all the islands for yourself and build the pirate republic.
You do all of this with complete freedom. There are no missions that you are required to undertake, but the game provides a series of quests and missions that will gently keep you headed toward an overall final objective. There are plenty of adventures available for you to gain gold, experience and magic artifacts. You can also take and ransom hostages, trade goods, hire men, accept quests, follow rumors, sink ships, board other ships in 3D, take control of up to three allied ships and then attempt to capture forts and towns in coordinated attacks, operate and arm your crew, sail your ship, throw money into the sea and much more.
At any time you can choose to change your allegiance. You can give up pirating to join the cause of another nation, or leave the service of your country to become a pirate. Regardless of your actions in the game you always have the ability to choose another course through a number of means, including using bribery. You can even decide to make your fortune as a trader.
Towns serve as focal points in the game, allowing you to repair, re-supply and upgrade your ship, pick up new crewmembers, look for work, or simply listen to rumors. You can also use towns as a source of income should you be able to capture a fort that protects a town. The income of that town now becomes the property of you or your country.
Through wealth or combat, you can obtain additional ships and begin building a fleet under your command. You decide which NPCs to hire as captains for your ships as well as their crews and supplies. Send your ships to attack and defend other locations or have them work with you to complete missions. You can customize your fleet by selecting from a variety of different ships, cannons and shot types. Purchase a new battleship loaded with the best cannons available for lots of combat, or choose a small skip for trading goods and outrunning the enemy.
Sea Dogs offers high-resolution 3D graphics, day and nighttime environments, detailed water effects, landscapes, towns, forts and complex weather. Small details like sea foam, wakes, billowing sails and translucent water add to what the designers wanted to be an "authentic feel" for the game. In addition, wind and weather effect how your ship sails and can leave you sitting dead in the water or crashing into shallow shoals. ~ Tara Hernandez, All Game Guide