If you’re anything like us, then you’re a sucker for a good pirate story. Of course, real pirates were nothing like their romanticised cousins; they were drunk sailors who plundered ships for loot, murdered people indiscriminately, and contracted plenty of very nasty diseases. In the storybooks, though, pirates are swashbuckling outlaws, always ready to put a cutlass to your throat if you question their freewheeling lifestyles.
It’s for this reason that we love pirate video games. One of the most frequently overlooked series for pirate role-playing was Akella’s Age of Pirates franchise, which went through many names thanks to copyright issues. That series might be dead in the water (no pun intended) now, but there are plenty of pirate-themed RPG experiences you can still enjoy out there. Here are the top games like Age of Pirates you can play right now.
A quick disclaimer: if we list a game as being playable on “PlayStation” or “Xbox”, that’s because many of these games were originally released for either PS4 or Xbox One, but are compatible with PS5 and Xbox Series X|S as well through backwards compatibility. Onward!
No list of great pirates games would be complete without mentioning this classic. Sid Meier’s Pirates! is everything you want from a pirate-themed sim; it’s less of an RPG than Age of Pirates, but it offers a comprehensive suite of gameplay styles including sailing, naval battling, and turn-based duels with other pirates. If you want to play an RPG that comes the closest to encapsulating what the romantic notion of pirates is all about, then Sid Meier’s Pirates! will fulfil that dream.
Risen 2 and Risen 3
Risen 3: PC, Xbox, PlayStation
This pair of pirate RPGs from prominent Eurojank developer Piranha Bytes comes much closer to what Age of Pirates was trying to achieve. These games are full-on immersive RPGs complete with stat-building, weapon training, and a full storyline concerning the rise of monstrous krakens from beneath the murky depths. As you might expect, there’s a good degree of awkwardness to the controls and the general presentation befitting Eurojank games, but there’s lots to love as well.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PC, Xbox, PlayStation)
Coming hot on the heels of 2012’s divisive Assassin’s Creed III, Black Flag is often seen as the high watermark (again, no pun intended) of the series. It transposes the franchise’s trademark open-world action to the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy, casting you as roguish pirate Edward Kenway as he amasses a crew of ne’er-do-wells and generally tries to avoid facing up to his Assassin legacy. The ship battles are fun, the shanties are plentiful, and Black Flag generally represents the best of what Assassin’s Creed has to offer.
Sea of Thieves (PC, Xbox)
In its initial stages, Sea of Thieves really wasn’t much to write home about. It was a middling live-service open-world pirate game with not very much to do and not very much to see. Now, however, Rare has put enough work into improving the game that Sea of Thieves is well worth a look for pirate aficionados. There’s plenty to see across the ocean, with caves full of dastardly skeletons, ghost ships, and other players to contend with. If you love pirates and you can corral a group of friends together, Sea of Thieves is well worth a look.
In a similar vein to Sea of Thieves, Atlas is a pirate MMO from the creators of Ark: Survival Evolved. It takes place in a persistent world in which other players will be sailing the seas just like you are, searching for treasure (and trouble) and building settlements to call home. At the moment, Atlas is in Early Access, but it’s a massively promising start, with plenty of features planned including better balancing and even more ways to customise your ship.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (PC, PlayStation, Xbox)
Alright, so Pillars of Eternity II isn’t really “like” Age of Pirates; it’s an RPG, but it owes more of a debt to classic CRPG experiences like Planescape: Torment or Baldur’s Gate than it does to Risen or Age of Pirates. However, Deadfire drops the fantasy stylings of the first instalment and goes full pirate, and it’s a much better game for it. The combat is refined and more nuanced this time around, and the cast of characters you’ll meet is compelling and salty, just like you’d expect from a pirate RPG.
Port Royale 4 (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch)
We’re moving beyond the realms of pirate-themed RPGs here and towards the other six of the seven seas, because unfortunately, there just aren’t that many pirate RPG experiences out there (if you’re listening, developers, you have your homework). Port Royale is a strategy sim with an emphasis on trading and diplomacy. It’s set during the 17th century and casts you as one of the major naval powers of that era (England, France, the Netherlands, or Spain), asking you to engage with your allies, crush your enemies, and become the dominant force in the colonial world.
Monkey Island Collection (PC)
With this collection, you’re getting four of the best pirate-themed point-and-click adventure games ever created. The Secret of Monkey Island needs no introduction; it’s a classic LucasArts adventure full of wit and intelligence, even if its puzzles are a little wonky. The followup, LeChuck’s Revenge, is divisive, but still well worth a look, and while The Curse of Monkey Island and Escape from Monkey Island aren’t as well-loved as their predecessors, we think they’re hugely underrated and worth revisiting.