Even people with a good moral compass occasionally get a desire to commit petty crimes. And while some opportunities are gone, including being a pirate, e.g., a buccaneer, imagination can get you far. And why would you risk illnesses, crew member fights, and nearly certain horrendous death? Why not simulate carrying a sword, defending your vessel, cleaning the deck, breathing the salty air during months away from land, indulging in grog and ale, and stroking your beard? And all from the safety of your home, if you decide to give the best pirate games for PC a chance.
1. Sea of Thieves
We named Sea of Thieves a winner among the leading pirate games for PC. This action–adventure game has everything a pirate connoisseur’s heart desires, mainly freedom because there are no character roles. The game also has beautiful graphics and an open world filled with uncharted waters, hidden islands, and undiscovered shipwrecks and artifacts. It also has hundreds of quests, 2 main storylines, and 11 tales, which result in 30+ hours of gameplay. The added challenge comes from its multiplayer genre that allows PvP (Player vs. Player) combat. Also, Rare Ltd, the publisher, releases updates through its online service continuously.
2. Sid Meier’s Pirates!
If you loved Civilization, our runner-up for the top kingdom game for PC, you’ll love this game from the same creator. It can be considered an old game since this 2004 version was a remake of a 1987 game. It’s a strategy–RPG game where you start from nothing as an irrelevant captain. But by pillaging and raiding, killing rivals to the top position, and amassing a fortune, you gain renown. Afterward, you becoming part of political scheming. By this, we mean that your actions affect the in-game events, such as whether countries sign peace or announce war.
3. The Curse Of Monkey Island
The Curse Of Monkey Island is undoubtedly the crown wearer among the best cartoon pirate games for PC, even within its own franchise. Made by LucasArts as the third installment in the series, it’s an addictive point-and-click adventure, filled with an immersive and clever storyline, convincing voice acting, and a heartfelt soundtrack. It’s also genuinely funny, regardless of your (permitted) age. Of course, it has its brutal elements, namely the character of Murray the demonic skull, ship sailing, sword fighting, island exploration, conflict, but also romance at the very end.
4. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag
We hope Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag will cement its place among widely recognized PC pirate games. It follows the tried-and-tested Ubisoft series’ formula of a charismatic protagonist that’s clever, masculine, and excels at killing. Only this time, Edward Kenway is less stealthy and takes the leadership role of ship and crew seriously. You’ll partake in ship-to-ship and melee combat, explore islands, jungles, and shipwrecks in search of treasure. You also get to assassinate Knights Templars, hunt animals, and most importantly, upgrade your ship as you go.
5. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
If you never tried this game genre, we recommend Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a clear-cut winner among LEGO pirate games on PC. Actually, it’s the only one but it falls under rare cases of a great movie-to-game adaptation. The game spans the plot of the first 4 movies, and, unfortunately, was the last game before voice acting was introduced. This doesn’t hurt it, since miming is done to perfection and eliminates any language barrier. It’s also a great choice for collectors since you can complete in-game achievements until you reach the oh-so-satisfying 100% completion score.
6. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire continues the storyline of its prequel, and is set 5 years later. It’s a fantasy RPG filled with obvious pirate elements, a detailed storyline, and an interesting premise. You’ll play as the Watcher, and hunt Eothas, a dead god, across the Deadfire Archipelago. In your pursuit, your must keep your vessel (mostly) unscathed throughout uncharted waters. Additionally, you’ll have to take part in tactical ship battles and go into bounty hunting to pick up generous rewards. Finally, DLCs The Beast of Winter, Seeker, Slayer, Survivor, and The Forgotten Sanctum expand the story greatly.
7. Risen 3: Titan Lords
Risen 3: Titan Lords is among the top pirate games for PC the developer, Piranha Bytes, created. You can put it into an RPG, fantasy, or action genre and you’d be right. Unlike Risen 2, you can be the captain of your pirate vessel and truly sail. Jungle warfare is significantly more engaging thanks to upgrades in fighting mechanics from Risen 2: Dark Waters. In fact, having a parrot perched on our shoulders showed us how invested the developers were. They also introduced a pet monkey, a Ghost Pirate antagonist, a female companion for your travels, and even voodoo magic.
8. Blood and Gold: Caribbean
Blood and Gold: the Caribbean runs on the Mount & Blade: Warband game engine, so you kind of know what to expect. We only wish it was among better-known pirate games for PC, though. It simulates every part of daily life, from drinking, gambling, dueling, becoming a trading merchant, to running and upgrading a ship and its arsenal. What’s more, you can be an assassin for hire, experience capture, and enslavement, break out of jail and even get married to the governor’s daughter by pretending to be of noble descent.
ATLAS is a pirate-themed game for PC with stunning graphics – after all, the same developer made ARK: Survival Evolved. The game is a pirate daydream – you can build your ship from scratch, and customize every square inch of its surface. Moreover, you can assemble a crew of real-life players or NPCs, and embark on a dangerous adventure while managing resources such as food, weapons, and share of spoils. The open-world features over 45,000 km² and over 700 unique landmasses. Finally, there are no pre-defined character roles and you can engage in both PvP and PvE.
Tempest allows you to meet mythical monsters from the deep such as the Kraken or Leviathan. It’s a single-player and co-op action RPG that features an open world with 3 continents, but dozens of islands and colonies to plunder. You’re free to buy, upgrade, and decorate your ships, gather and level up your pirate crew, and navigate the map. Trading also plays a huge part, allowing you to buy cheap and sell with an outrageous markup. What’s more, you can use special abilities such as summoning meteorites or ordering an octopus to sink the enemy ship.
Blackwake is a purely online co-op or PvP game. Its gameplay supports up to 54 players at once, split into crews of 13, and can satisfy the urges of even the most devoted pirate fanatics. Not only can will you have to buy, maintain, and upgrade a vessel, but also worry about reloading and resupplying. That is if you plan to fire cannonballs and sink ships, of course. Unsurprisingly, you can also board their deck and engage in FPS. The game also takes into account weather, natural disasters, and has 3 game modes – Team Death Match, tower defense/attack, and Capture the Booty.
ArcheAge is an MMORPG game that doesn’t offer a typical buccaneer experience but hits all the right marks. There’s sailing and exploration of the massive open world which is fully unlocked from the start. Battles can happen on the large scale, such as leading an armada of ships into a naval clash but don’t have to. You can choose to discover, establish, and profit from key trading routes and become wealthy as a pacifist, even though that’d be boring. For that reason, regardless of the path, you can slay a host of monsters, from polar bears and sea monsters to massive dragons.
13. Man O’War: Corsair – Warhammer Naval Battles
Man O’War: Corsair – Warhammer Naval Battles is based on the Man O’ War tabletop game but its genre is entirely different. It’s an action, adventure, and naval combat/sea warfare with an emphasis on exploration within the Warhammer world. It has everything a pirate aficionado would want – quests, trading, robbery, brutality, murder, sure, but also over 50 ports to visit and establish trading with. Moreover, you can command fleets of ally ships from afar, and besides enemies, survive harsh weather conditions and notorious deep-sea monsters.
Windward is another PC game with pirates that you can play alone but is heaps better when played over LAN or Internet. It’s a procedural game that uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to expand the world past the starting area. Your playstyle matters – if you build up a reputation as a conqueror, the AI will respect, fear, or avoid you. In contrast, if you act friendly, AI might choose to ally with you and help you with your journey. Also, the game’s difficulty increases over time, but so do rewards. So, you’ll never feel unfulfilled and uncompensated.
15. Tropico 2: Pirate Cove
So far, we have mentioned games that let you play as a pirate. So, how about ditching action and managing an armada of pirate ships and a pirate island during the golden age of seafaring and privateering? Tropico 2: Pirate Cove is a tycoon PC game that puts you in the reins of a base of swashbuckler’s operations. You start with a simple crew and progress to high-profile buccaneers you have to keep happy and well-equipped. For an added challenge, you must maintain diplomatic relations with some Empires while robbing or hiding from others.
16. Sea Dogs
We described Sea Dogs as a man-on-a-mission game with RPG elements once, although it’s officially an action-adventure. Speaking of action, it starts right away – you escape with a group of prisoners in a tiny sloop. After that, you get to decide how to achieve wealth and status. You can follow the storyline and do quests given by countries to transfer cargo or become a trading merchant. In contrast, you can follow quests and become the most feared pirate captain on the seven seas. Graphics are outdated, and voice acting is wonky, but you’ll have fun nonetheless.
17. Furious Seas
Furious Seas is a Virtual Reality-based pirate PC game and thus requires a VR headset. It’s in Early Access at the time of writing, but pretty far along. The game’s primary genre is a single-player campaign that demonstrates 2 boss fights and 2 early-stage levels, as well as Exploration Mode e.g. free roam. Luckily, developers plan to release co-op and online PvP modes, and they all put you in the middle of the action. You’ll be manning weapons, issuing commands, fighting alongside your crew, and trying to fend off enemy ships.
18. One Piece Pirate Warriors 4
We waited to mention One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 because it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s an anime game with a pirate theme that is based on the best-selling and longest-running manga, One Piece. It combines its story with the Warriors series, and as a result, we have one battlefield, familiar characters, and hordes of incoming enemies to slay. Combat is fast-paced, abilities are very visual, and you can upgrade your character’s skills and talents as you progress. Finally, both cutscenes are and voice acting is immersive, but spoil the One Piece story and lore.
19. Rebel Galaxy
When you sought games that have pirates, you didn’t picture space, did you? Well, Rebel Galaxy is about plundering other vessels, except that they float in the dark corners of the universe. The premise is similar to Sea Dogs, except with sci-fi elements. You decide what your endgame is – you can explore, trade, or mine resources for a living. We recommend taking part in space battles and amassing wealth as a bounty hunter, though. The said space battles require a strategy: good aim, range estimation, and missile-dodging skills.
20. Sticks And Bones
Sticks And Bones is a single-player pirate adventure that’s entirely unexpected. After all, you’re not even alive – you’re a skeleton in search of treasure. The game tells a short story that is situational-based, and includes quick-time events, going on missions, solving puzzles, and even dueling other pirates. The game also changes perspectives, from 3D to 2.5D, and from first-person to third-person, as you progress. The most impressive fact is a developer made it solo within a year using the Unity game engine.