Under the Jolly Roger First Impressions

Under the Jolly Roger | First Impressions

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HeroCraft just dished out Under the Jolly Roger, their latest open-world pirate action RPG. I must say, I am liking the description and the genre mix of this title. It is a Nintendo Switch exclusive and the game was around $16 bucks in North America and likewise in Europe, during a 3-week pre-order period.


Under the Jolly Roger First Impressions


Development


Under the Jolly Roger is published and developed by HeroCraft solely for Nintendo Switch, and it supports the TV, Tabletop, and Handheld mode. The game is rated T (Teen) and it contains the use of alcohol and shows violence.

HeroCraft is also known for such titles as Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf, King of Dragon Pass, Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, and many more. It is a studio founded in 2002 but they are veterans from even before that.


Under the Jolly Roger First Impressions


Atmosphere


Now, it is unknown at this point if this game is an official adaptation of the novel of the same name, Under the Jolly Roger, published in 2005 and written by Louis A. Meyer. It is a story set in the 19th century and it is the 3rd book in a series. However, the game certainly takes us to even before, to the 18th century and follows a storyline of its own.


Under the Jolly Roger First Impressions


Gameplay


Now, besides this being an open-world action RPG, themed with pirates, the game focuses on naval combat and does it pretty sweet in my opinion. Ships can only fire in certain directions, and those are directly to the flank and also somewhat directly in the back.

When sailing, each ship has targeting cones to the mentioned sides, and to fire at an enemy ship, you must first keep it in the aiming cone for at least some time. Until the aiming meter is at least filled up until 40%, then the shot will be fired automatically, though you can fire earlier on your own.

Naval combat in Under the Jolly Roger is then a combination of maneuvering and holding superior position over the enemy, which I imagine is the key in real life as well. However, the game also has a fantasy spin, where pirates also summon hideous creatures from the depths of the ocean to destroy their enemies.

Battling also enables many interesting mechanics, like raining down AOE damage on ships, figuring out how to use the wind to your advantage, using the wind against the enemy, and so on. Also, the storyline is very immersive and has a strong presence. Despite this being an open-world action RPG, the focus is on the story.

The story is set in the 18th century. You play as a pirate, of course, but a somewhat likable character that has his own principles. While pirates are mostly dirty and would do anything for a coin, you have stick to your morals. For instance, you do not deal in slaves, but solely in jewels.

Right at the beginning of the game, which is the tutorial phase as well, your ship is sunk by a terrible sea monster summoned by an enemy captain, after we’ve sunk their ship. But, we somehow survive and we immediately take to gathering our old officers and getting a new ship.

Out of combat portion of Under the Jolly Roger is set on maps, where you discover the islands and the continent, and you also have things to manage while your ship is docked. The game doesn’t have any character action or anything like that, but while your ship is docked, you have a different user interface available to you.

This is where you check your mail, tasks and the faction features, quests, gather the crew and check on your ship’s health. The ship’s stats include sails condition, boarding team members, hull condition, and crew morale (very important as we all know).

Ships also have in-depth statistics, that involve Speed, Manoeuvre, Sails opening, Hold Volume, Recharging, Range, Shots, and other things like that. The basic and only game currency is gold coins, which you use to purchase ships and manage all of the mentioned aspects of naval combat and travel.

There are several different ships available in Under the Jolly Roger, all with their own unique advantages and stats, similar to champions in other games. The game also keeps a healthy dose of humor that is mandatory for seadogs but is quite serious at naval combat mechanics, as I only explained a portion.


Under the Jolly Roger First Impressions


Graphics


Under the Jolly Roger looks really good and uses Nintendo Switch’s prestigious capabilities to the maximum possible extent. The overall visuals and lightning in the game are dark, to sort of lock us in a darkly pirate tale, with dark waters and monsters. The models are very detailed and the textures are pretty advanced.

While it may look deceptively simple at first glance, Under the Jolly Roger is a very intricate experience. The game is engaging and offers quite a lot of content to consider, plan, manage, and master in skill. The storyline is very interesting and blends in with the gameplay mechanics perfectly, while the whole experience is quite cool.