Clunky combat is Pirates of the Caribbean's significant issue in its PSP incarnation. It might not be the concern that it is if the game wasn't homed in on it. The cheap puzzles, wild camera, and touchy controls only compound the problems.
Taking control solely of Jack Sparrow, players romp around various film locales sword fighting with whatever comes at them. The system is set up so that the enemy defense needs to be broken down before any actual hits can connect. There are three types of enemies in total, regardless of the different graphical models used. Each has a specific string of attacks needed to break through noted directly above their head.
This causes a number of aggravating issues that carry through the entire experience. Fighting multiple enemies is nearly impossible to pull off successfully. Using the wrong button to initiate combat results in them automatically gaining a free hit. In a situation where all thee types of enemies are surrounding you, it's easier to die and respawn at the nearest checkpoint than to even try and fight your way out.
Secondary weapons can take out any foe in a single blow, which means a glass bottle has the same amount of impact as an exploding cannon ball. A third set of moves is unlocked by completing brief endurance stages. These charge as Sparrow hacks away at various nasties and can take out piles of monsters with a single shot. It feels like an admission by the developers that the combat simply doesn't work otherwise.
Pits, rope climbing, rope swinging and puzzle solving round out this five-hour ride of dullness. Getting over a pit via any means is difficult. The camera is rarely in the right location, and other times it's not adjustable at all. Jack has trouble stopping, so trying to gain a running start before taking a leap of faith is more work than it's worth.