Developer Certain Affinity has overcome these issues by simply developer for consoles from the start. Better still, they've kept the smallish little areas for each of the buccaneer-driven battlegrounds nice and manageable by simply locking everything into hexes. It sounds like a minor thing, but it helps govern everything from movement (just pick a destination and press X and your ship will automatically pick the most efficient route, picking up any bonuses along the way) to capturing bases (simply sail up next to one) to attacking (anything that's not you or an online buddy or a friendly AI ship that one an adjacent hex is automatically fired upon) is done effortlessly and without any headaches.
When combined with the game's simple mechanic of trying to capture the majority of bases on one of the given maps (there are 21 in all, with three difficulties for each map), and with resource management being as simple as scooping up gold, timber and rum by sailing over the random pick-ups that crop up all over the map and when a ship is sunk, upgrades are cake. Those upgrades are balanced between upgrading your ship and upgrading any towns you've captured (thus making them harder for enemies to do the same), so there's literally never a lack of things to do -- especially if you go on the offensive and end up sinking your ship, thus burning through some of those valuable resources to spawn a new ship at your home base.
The simplicity works in the game's favor -- especially if you're playing with other people, which is how the game was designed from the start. The constant see-sawing nature of capturing bases, upgrading them, scooping up resources and attacking incoming ships, then inevitably being sunk or running away to a nearby town to repair yourself means the matches are incredibly close. Even when playing offline with the AI supporting you (which does a decent job, but can't come close to a properly coordinated match with friends against others), the tug-of-war feeling of everything is incredibly tense.
For those that can't find enough fun in the maps provided, Certain Affinity added a map editor to let you do your own, and here too the hex-based layout makes whipping up your own little diabolical mazes of islands nice and easy. I never really got too into things, but the fact that there's the tools available to keep it all fresh should mean those that really get bitten by the swashbuckling bug will have plenty to enjoy.
The presentation is as straightforward as the gameplay, with a simple little pirate ditty rolling through the background, a few pirate quips here and there, and simple little sound effects. Again, nothing absolutely amazing, but fun nonetheless, and it all fits with the light-hearted tone of the game. None of it gets annoying, even after hours of playing, which is easily the best thing I can say about the audio. The game's visuals are equally pleasing, yet every bit as uncomplicated. The ships look great as they upgrade, as do your bases, and everything bobs and undulates as one would hope in an open (or, uh, open-ish) seas battle of back-and-forth.
The game's biggest problem is just that the game doesn't have the online presence it needs. When you can find a bunch of players, it's smooth and insanely fun, but given that the bulk of the game's enjoyment comes down to finding other players, getting multiplayer together is going to have to be an orchestrated effort with friends. Also troubling: the PSN release of the game was already delayed by a good month or so after the 360 version, yet still lacks Trophies (or did last time I checked). Hopefully the Trophy patch that's supposedly in the works will help re-ignite the online playerbase, because it'd be tragic if it came and went without some proper love. If you can find some friends in the mean time to do the same, though, definitely give the game a shot. It's nothing amazing, but as a console-specific RTS, it does a damn fine job of overcoming many of the hurdles that have plagued other efforts in the genre, and deserves more love.