Age of Booty, previously known as Plunder, is a downloadable real-time strategy game from Certain Affinity and Capcom which features up to 8 networked players, or up to 4 split-screen player conquests across the sea. Players can play cooperatively on the same console, or plunder the seas together online versus other opponents. The game features single player challenges and 25 multiplayer maps with the added ability of creating your own maps and sharing them with friends. During your adventure, players can choose to seize towns, sink enemy ships, upgrade your own, or choose to have some of the AI pirates work with you. It was released on PC, Xbox Live Arcade, and the PlayStation Network on October 15th, 2008.
Age of Booty's gameplay consists of controlling a ship and managing an economy based on three resources: Rum, Wood, and Gold.
The game is split into a hexagonal grid and each hexagon can only contain one ship at a time. There is no turn based system, so players can sail about as they see fit simply by clicking on the section they want to go to.
Ships each start out with one cannon. The number of cannons a ship or town has is represented by a dot shown underneath the name. The max cannons a ship has is 4. The more cannons you have, the faster your ship will fire. To attack something, you must position your ship on the hexagon adjacent to it. Your ship will then fire upon it automatically - no button tapping required. If your ship is adjacent to 2 enemies, for example a ship and a town - your cannon fire will alternate between the two.
There is a basic upgrade system in place which allows you to upgrade the Speed, Armor and Cannons of your ship (each can be upgraded 3 times). Towns, once captured, can also be upgraded with extra cannons and defensive walls - making them harder for the enemies to destroy. To upgrade ships and towns, you need to gather resources. Wood is the all around resource, and is
needed to upgrade both towns and ships. Rum is used solely for the upgrading of ships, while Gold is used only for upgrading cities. Towns have two upgrade levels each, while ships have 3 upgrade levels for cannons, speed, and armor. Capturing a town will give you a steady income of a certain resource, but single units can also be found floating in boxes in the sea, on merchant ships, or in the small villages alongside the coast (which disappear once they have been destroyed). If you attack and destroy any of these, you can take their loot. Killing an enemy ship will cause them to drop a box - which will either contain booty or a curse. Curses are special weapons - like the Ghost Ship curse which turns you briefly invisible. Once you have gained enough resources you can sail back to your home town and upgrade your ship, or upgrade another town from anywhere on the map. Clicking LT will cycle through towns, whilst RT will center the camera on your ship. You can use the right stick to zoom the camera closer to the action, but you cannot rotate the camera around. When upgrading your ship, you must choose upgrades wisely. When adding cannons, your ship will become slower, so it is wise to upgrade speed as soon as possible before or after upgrading your cannons.
Allocating resources becomes an important part of gameplay. Players must choose wisely how to distribute Wood, the most important resource in the game. If you use all of your Wood on ship upgrades, then your towns become more susceptible. However, focus too much on the towns you hold, and your ships will fall behind, leaving you unable to capture more towns. Often, the most popular cities are those that provide much Wood resource. These cities are often the first targets in battle, and the ones which teams will fight the hardest to capture and defend.
The depth of the battle system extends to the location of your ship in relation to an enemy. If a ship is next to a town occupied by its own team then the ship will receive a slow health regeneration - meaning attacking ships will have a much harder time destroying them.
Age of Booty is a game that relies heavily on both teamwork and strategy. Even compared to other cooperative strategy games, Age of Booty requires a greater level of coordination to succeed.
When you or a teammate destroys a merchant ship, a box will drop, which players can pick up. Sometimes, these boxes will contain curses which can be used against your enemies. If you already have a curse, you will get a random resource instead. The curses in the game are:
- Bomb Curse: Enables the player to drop a bomb on an empty water hex. When the bomb explodes, anything within one hex of the bomb will take serious damage from the explosion.
- Whirpool Curse: The player can summon a whirpool on any water hex. Anything caught in the whirpool, friend or foe, will be sent far away from that position.
- Ghost Ship Curse: Cast this curse to become invisible to your enemies for a brief time. When you fire your canon, you are no longer invisible.
- Pilfer Curses: Pilfer curses come in three varieties, one for each resource in the game. Casting the curse will send a pesky monkey to steal up to two of a particular resource from the enemy.
Victory is dependant on holding a certain amount of Towns depending on the size of the map. If you hold the maximum amount of towns then you will win. Alternatively the countdown timer will run down and whichever team has the most Towns at the end of the game will win. As the time limit appraches, players can expect battles to get all the more intense.
Trophies and Achievements
There are 10 trophies for the PS3 version and 12 achievements worth 200 points for the XBOX 360.
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