I originally played Sid Meier's Pirates (SMP) almost 20 years ago on a friend's PC and then later Pirates Gold on the Genesis. This year 2K Games has published the updated SMP! for both PC and Xbox. It is amazing how much of the game has stayed the same after all these years.
Thanks to emulators and ROMs it is not difficult to see the similarities side by side. It is wonderful to see one of the greatest games of all time updated for the current generation.
It is striking how much the game has not changed since its 1987 introduction. You still have ship-to-ship battles, followed by swashbuckling with the captain. You still go to a tavern and talk to a mysterious stranger, etc., etc. The mechanics didn't have to change. SMP! was a favorite of my youth, and the new version is just as enjoyable, if not more so. This is the best pirate game on the Xbox, possibly ever. (Disney ravaging Sea Dogs II did not help, of course.)
Maybe it was because I played through SMP! many times on the Xbox first, or because I was running the game on my Dell laptop, but I think you get a better experience on the Xbox. I like the interface on the Xbox a lot more.
There are some notable differences between the two versions. The world map screen on the Xbox isn't cluttered, and is easy to manage. Ship-to-ship battles on the Xbox are the same, uncluttered and easy to manage. The Xbox version has been streamlined in other ways too - you do not get off your ship and explore land like you do in the PC version. This is a personal preference of course, but I like not having to go land exploring.
Dancing and many of the other mini games on the Xbox are a little easier. On the PC, dancing requires you do use eight keypad keys, while the Xbox uses the four face buttons (A, B, X, Y). The controls on the Xbox are not as frustrating.
In the end, the Xbox version of the game is faster paced and more enjoyable. You might call this "watered down" but I call it a smart move. Granted you don't get Pirates of the Caribbean ship battles, but that would almost seem out of place here.