The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles is an expansion for the ‘Medieval’ Sims spin-off series, and takes the ‘Arthur and the Round Table’ theme of the original game (read our review of that here) and adds a bit of pirate flavour, which is just what the game needed.
The Nobles and the Pirates never quite saw eye to eye, and now that the Pirates have officially landed in the kingdom of ‘Oltmania,’ things are about to get interesting. In order to start the expansion you need to complete the ‘Ominous Tides’ quest which will set you on a path of quests that will see you ultimately choose sides in the battle.
The quests are all about the Nobles and Pirates. Depending on which faction you side with, you can open more quests to assist your chosen ally in continuously humiliating their archenemies. The expansion introduces the ‘War Effort Gauge’ that shows you which way your allegiance lies. If you feel that you’re getting a bit too friendly with the Pirates, then do a few good deeds for the guild and merchantmen of the Nobles and the balance will return. Along with the new quests you also get a slew of new achievements. You also get new ambitions for your royal leader but these are difficult to unlock and then even more difficult to complete.
Sims Medieval: Nobles and Pirates also allows you to outfit your hero Sim with clothing from either faction, but due to the soft nature of all Sims, you just can’t take the Pirates seriously – they just look too soft, and even Orlando Bloom has more of a hard edge on him then these Pirates!
As with any other Sims expansion, you’re also treated to a whole heap of new items which are aligned with the theme of either the Pirates, or the rich merchants from the Nobles faction. All new items are marked with a clear icon to ease the search for new items when decorating your castle. It’s now also possible to decorate your throne room with loot and treasure, skeleton sailors and old ships’ masts. You can even decorate with more flashy items from the Nobles but this is just not as exciting.
This brings me to the biggest flaw of this expansion for The Sims Medieval: The difference between Pirates and Nobles. Being a Pirate is a lot more fun, and almost every other RPG can allow you to be the noble hero who saves the damsel in distress, but pirates in games are thin on the ground. I don’t suspect that pirates will go the way of zombies lately, where every game has a zombie in it, but let’s hope that they get their time in the sun.
Other new features to The Sims Medieval introduced with Nobles and Pirates include treasure hunting, because, let’s face it, no pirate game will be complete without a good treasure hunt. The last big treasure I dug up was Big Whoop! (If you know what game that’s from, then you’re a pirate indeed!)
You also get pet parrots for the Pirates and falcons for the Nobles. The falcon can go out hunting, bringing you things like dragon’s teeth and dragon’s bones, and you can even try to assemble these if you want. Parrots, on the other hand, are just noisy and can be used to annoy others.
The Sims Medieval was quite a departure from the normal Sims franchise, and this Pirates and Nobles expansion proves that the market is big enough for both types of games. Now with even better quests and more items it should keep the fans occupied for a while – I know I was! But I keep feeling that the pirate theme could have been expanded on even more.
The best moments of the game are still when your Sim, or other Sims in your kingdom, go about their own business. When the Pirates landed on the beach they were typical scallywags. Two of them started an argument with each other and ended up in a sword fight. Before I could request a task from one of the fighters, he was out cold on the floor. These moments where the Sims seem almost alive are few and far between, but almost worth the wait. The quests in between are just a nice vehicle to get you through the game.
I feel that The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles is a fine expansion, but not great. Maybe that’s because I’m more of a traditional Sims fan, or maybe that’s because I feel that Pirates deserve more than just an expansion. Either way, this is a nice middle ground until Sid Meier releases a new Pirates! game.
The Good: Fits the original game well; Interesting quests; Sims moments still the best part
The Bad: Pirates do not look rough enough; Not enough focus on Pirates
The Ugly: Every Pirate looks like a girl!