With the pending theatrical release of the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean, it's no surprise that this year brings an influx of pirate-based games to all of our favorite platforms. From handhelds to consoles to the PC, they're everywhere. It's also no surprise then that Akella, who seem to have the high seas under their control with an extensive library of pirate games, are showing us the latest builds of two games based on this common theme. Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales and Age of Pirates: Captain Blood were both on display at the Playlogic booth this year at E3; we take a look at the former, a mix of the RPG and action/adventure genres that allows players to make their own choices regarding the gameplay and its outcome.

With this in mind, Caribbean Tales resembles what would be a pirate simulation, if one ever existed. Choosing from either Blaze or Beatrice, winners of the two worst pirate names ever award hands down, players are able to live the full pirate experience. From defeating enemies and plundering colonies to constructing your own and building up your skills, players can essentially choose to play the game however they like. The game is designed to be completely open in this manner, offering gamers complete freedom to explore the consequences of their actions. If it doesn't quite work out the way you intended, no problem! Restart and choose a different path.

The action in Age of Pirates is set in the 17th century and is mainly based on naval aspects of the pirate life. Your character can control up to four ships at a time from the current sixteen offered, although this number may change when the game is released. All of the parts of the ship are fully interactive; from controlling the sails to manning the cannons, and the graphics both on the ship and of the sea look completely stunning. Akella has done a superb job here; it is quite possibly one of the most visually stunning games I have seen in a while. The day and night cycles add to the realism, as do they incredible weather effects.

Apart from the game's open aspects, it also offers a mission-based structure for players who prefer a little guidance. These include escorts, running trade and destroying enemy captains. Things are relatively similar in the multiplayer gameplay, where up to sixteen players can choose between Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Defend the Convoy and Capture the Fort. Although I would have liked to have seen something a little more creative in the online gameplay, perhaps with many small tasks to accomplish or choices of tasks, these are still solid options.

With its endlessly customizable and open gameplay, as well as stunning graphics, Ages of Pirates: Caribbean Tales looks like it will be an instant hit. Who wouldn't want to be able to jump into 17th century naval warfare, where no one can be trusted and its every man for himself? Let alone being able to do whatever you want with next to no real consequences for your actions? If you like adventure games with an RPG twist, the pirate theme in general or having complete freedom over your gameplay experience, then look for Caribbean Tales when it releases in Q2 this year.