As the more rapscallious amongst you no doubt already knew, this Friday just gone was "International Talk Like a Pirate Day". For those of you who weren't aware of this, I'm sure it goes some way to explaining why your boss greeted you with a (more than usual) grizzly "Arrrrr", that youth threatened to "come aboard" your car to plunder your booty or that bartender insisted you have a bottle of rum instead of your usual appletini. To celebrate the occasion and honour of those people who decide plundering and pillaging on the open sea is the life for them, we've put together a list of the greatest buccaneers on our achievement-popping consoles. So pour yourself a pewter tankard of finest Official TA Grog©, dig out your mum's old frilly blouse and set sail in your vessel of choice, as we take ye scurvy-ridden landlubbers on a journey that'll shiver your timbers and... well... you get the picture.
Captain Scarlett - Borderlands 2 Achievements
"I only have one rule on my ship: if you join, it's for life. That, and no fatties"
Appearing in the first DLC pack for the popular loot-collector, Captain Scarlett is on the hunt for some serious treasure and enlists the Vault Hunter to help her track it down. Eager to get your hands on her booty (*ahem*), you set out on a series of quests to locate compass pieces that will point to the treasure's location whilst battling her deserting crew and encountering other piratey misfits. Pirates aren't known to be particularly trustworthy and Scarlett doesn't even pretend not to be as she very honestly tells you of her treacherous nature throughout the adventure. Once you finally locate the booty, surprise, surprise, she totally betrays you.
Reaver - Fable II Achievements & Fable III Achievements
"I thought he'd never shut up! Oh, I'm sorry, did you want to kill him?"
Becoming the self-proclaimed "Pirate King" by offing the feared Captain Dread, the extremely vain bi-sexual pirate Reaver only doesn't make the Top Five as, by the time the heroes encounter him in Fable II and III, his ship sailing days are mostly behind him, having set up permanent residency in the dodgy port town of Bloodstone. In fact, in what is probably quite rare amongst the profession, Reaver was actually more evil and dangerous after he hung up his pirate hat, instead turning his "talents" to becoming an immortal businessman after making a deal with the Shadow Court for eternal youth in exchange for the lives of a whole town of innocent people. And we all know that businessmen are probably the most evil of all.
The Top 5
5. Cervantes de Leon - Soulcaliber series
"Women and children always fetch the highest prices!"
Pirates and ghosts frequently intertwine in popular culture as the supernatural often plays a big part in the lives and deaths of the super superstitious seafarers. As the main antagonist of the original Soul Edge game, pirate Cervantes was driven mad by the influence of the demonic sword of the title and used it to kill anyone who stood against him. Despite dying at the end of that game, he was resurrected in follow-up SoulCalibur Achievements and, as everyone knows, the only thing more bad-ass than a pirate is a zombie pirate. Over the rest of the series, he sails the seas in his ghost ship, claiming souls to sustain himself in his hunt for the Soul Edge. He even created an army of the undead at one point and planned to consume the soul of his own daughter. Nice guy. Typical pirate.
4. Isabela - Dragon Age: Origins Achievements & Dragon Age II Achievements
"I like big boats, I cannot lie."
The self-proclaimed "Queen of the Eastern Seas", Isabela is also pretty handy with a blade and has her own ship, Siren's Call, which she uses for trafficking, smuggling, plundering and all sorts of other piratey behaviour. She's also rather sexually liberated, being a romantic option for the protagonist in both Dragon Age games, regardless of their gender. In the first game, she plays a minor role as a dueling teacher and bedroom partner, but in the sequel her role is much expanded. Unfortunately, after losing her ship in a storm, she's had to downgrade her status from pirate captain to mere smuggler. As with most pirates, Isabela cares little for law and order, and is only really interested in the monetary rewards that come with adventuring.
3. Edward Kenway - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Achievements
"I'm not an easy man to call a friend, am I?"
When Assassin's Creed III Achievements introduced naval battles, it was a serviceable, if a little bit left-field, addition to the series that felt a tad out of place and unpolished but was fun nonetheless. Then someone clever at Ubisoft said, "Why have all these pirate boats floating around if you can't be a frigging pirate?" Thus, Edward Kenway was made the next protagonist of the series. Father to Haytham and grandfather to Connor, stepping into the shoes of this scallywag who only slipped on the Assassin robes out of convenience was a real joy. Throughout his life, Edward struggled to level his desire for fame and riches with the death and destruction that would follow in his wake. However, for the most part, he did this while sieging, sailing and plundering like the best of them. He also had the added kudos of rubbing shoulders (and sometimes swords) with real historical pirates like Blackbeard and Calico Jack.
2. Vaas - Far Cry 3 Achievements
"The world is a diagonal… I am the balancing point."
Leader of a large group of pirates who control the Rook Islands under the thumb of evil drug lord and human trafficker Hoyt, Vaas is very keen on informing the protagonist Jason that he is very familiar with the definition of insanity. Of course, it takes one to know one. It's hard to see how the pirates can be so organised under such chaotic rule, but Vaas gets the job done, mostly through very brutal means. For example, he buries McLovin. Now, that's just harsh. Vaas also has the distinction of being a secondary antagonist who is actually more interesting and terrifying than the primary antagonist, Hoyt. Naturally, it's because he's a pirate and, as we're proving here, pirates are damn cool. The insanity also helps.
1. Guybrush Threepwood - The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition Achievements & Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge Achievements
"That’s the second biggest monkey head I’ve ever seen!"
Ok, so some might debate whether rubber-chicken botherer Guybrush even is a pirate. He spends the first entry of the iconic series really wanting to be one and constantly gets into scrapes with other pirates living, dead and undead, such as LeChuck and Largo LaGrande. Sure, he successfully completed the Three Trials that are required for official piracy membership and even managed to grow a beard in the second game, but most other pirates just wish he'd go away. However, for sheer (misguided) enthusiasm for the pirate life in the face of often overwhelming adversity and for besting LeChuck numerous times, Guybrush deserves his place. Just don't tell him he fights like a dairy farmer.
The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!