Sid Meier's Pirates! (Xbox)

Game review by
Jeremy Gieske, Common Sense Media
Sid Meier's Pirates!  (Xbox) Game Poster Image
Pirate adventure is fun and family-friendly.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players can sack cities and towns, attack enemy ships to plunder them and betray friends and foes alike. However, the game takes a very light-hearted approach to all of these activities and appeals to the sense of adventure and action rather than dark, violent deeds.


Players can partake in duels and battle it out with other ships; however, characters are never shown being killed on screen.


Some of the barmaids and governor's daughters wear low-cut dresses.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Although the player frequently goes to the tavern to speak with various characters, they do not consume any alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although there's some violence (duels, sinking ships), there's no blood or on-screen death. There are scantily clad barmaids, and the protagonist frequently goes to the tavern (though he doesn't consume any alcohol). The game doesn't deserve its T rating and can even be educational.

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What's it about?

The Xbox version of SID MEIER'S PIRATES! is rated T, whereas the PC version is E. The differences are minor and driven primarily by gameplay options, rather than content.

As in the PC version, players traverse the Caribbean plundering enemy ships, rescuing governor's daughters and doing all things piratey. Players can duel enemy captains, sink enemy ships, and plunder cities; however, death is never a part of the onscreen action.

Is it any good?

There is very little difference between the Xbox and PC versions -- and most of the differences are driven by gameplay options, rather than content. Really, this game should have been rated for everyone. There are accurate warnings on both versions for violence, alcohol references, and suggestive themes, and there is no blood, gore, or depictions of death. The player repeatedly visits taverns but no characters are shown drinking; while some female characters wear low-cut dresses, the sexual content is minimal.

The biggest difference is that the Xbox version has multiplayer capabilities, but they seem to be more of a tacked-on Mini game than a full addition. Otherwise, the differences are related to making the game easier to play on a console system, which has less screen resolution and fewer buttons for controls (no keyboard). The thrust of the PC review stands: This is an excellent and family-friendly game, and a worthy addition to your video game treasure chest.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the real pirates the game describes. Parents may want to talk about why this game would be rated differently than the PC version. How would you have rated this game? Are you more attracted to titles that have higher ratings, like T or M? Why or why not?

Game details

  • Platforms: Xbox 360, PSP, Xbox
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Take Two
  • Release date: July 12, 2005
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: T for Mild Violence
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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