Prior to the release of this game I was looking forward to being able to get a group of friends to get together to play this game. The idea of an open world pirate game excited me, exploring a world as a pirate and trying to get a coherent crew working together sounded like a great laugh and it fulfilled a childhood fantasy of sailing the seas looking for loot.
Initially it irked me that straight off the bat there was a nine-gigabyte update, although this seems to be a trend for modern games, I do wish this trend a short life span, but I suppose that’s a whole other article. The character creation wasn’t great either, having to select a pirate from a selection of randomly generated pirate that the game gives you was also a bit of a disappointment. In a gaming world where so many social games like Sea of Thieves have a lot of character customisation, it’s a shame that there isn’t any in this game.
On my first couple of plays of Sea of Thieves I found it difficult to start with as there’s no real plot or structure, so I admit I struggled to really know what to do or where to go. I spent my early playtime just trying to sail around and learn how to control a boat, which is especially difficult when none of your “crew mates” all appear to be mute or a random group of friends you just happen to join. This didn’t help any confusion about what I was supposed to be doing as there is real plot to this game and there isn’t a structured “tutorial phase” to help you figure the game out and get stuck in to it.
Sea of Thieves, in my opinion, is a game best enjoyed with a group of friends. When playing with friends, it really begins to shine as you have the banter and get up to mischief which makes sailing through the world a great laugh and being able to communicate with them makes operating the boat an awful lot easier. With friends there is a lot of fun to be had as you all take a part in sailing the boat and working out the best way to complete each mission. Having other people around can create some of the games best moments whether it’s just sailing along having a laugh when someone randomly starting an impromptu sea shanty band.
After a while the missions do tend to get a bit monotonous, most them feel like fetch quests, moving from one place to the next to hand over an item and get a reward. This is a grind that puts me off the game slightly, it’s all to increase your reputation amongst the three main guilds you are introduced to at the beginning of the game. You have gold hoarders’ quests which are based around finding treasure chests, these have the potential to be challenging if you’re not given the name of the island they are on as you must go by eye and match the map to the island that looks the most similar. The order of soul’s voyages which seem to be all about finding specific enemies to kill, while I was starting most of them seem to be slightly different looking skeletons. In these quests I found the hand to hand combat a little awkward, I felt it was a little unsatisfying as well as a noticeable amount of sword strokes didn’t really connect, and you end up just flailing around until the enemies die. The guns do work well in this game, the pistol has an authentic look to it, although I imagine it’s probably a fair bit easier to use that it’s real world counterpart. The final guild is the Merchant guild, their quest tended to be the least enjoyable as the were essentially just delivery quests. You had to deliver a certain item to a certain place, I found that the only time these quests got interesting is if you bumped in to other players on the way and got in to a bit of a fight with them.
I will say in the games defence it does look decent, I don’t really remember coming across any bugs or glitches while playing or spotting anything that I thought looked ugly or out of place. Both on land and underwater, there is a clarity to everything. The day and night cycle is also something to be noted as well I thought, it had a natural progression to it and it wasn’t sudden or stuttering.
Once you have done enough grinding you become a legendary pirate and get the chance to battle the Kraken. To me this felt like a bit of a let down if I’m honest as it essentially boils down to shoot a collection of tentacles that kind of just wave about above the surface of the water. Under the surface there is essentially nothing to the Kraken as you can’t make anything out as it is just a black cloud of ink in the water.
This game can be brilliant at times but requires a good set of friends, regular play time and a lot of going backwards and forwards. Overall there isn’t an awful lot to this game and isn’t much good on your own as it can get tedious over time, especially when you’re doing everything yourself. Sea of Thieves does have a few good moments but there isn’t enough to break up the monotony that settles in early in the game. I feel this game had a lot of potential and hasn’t quite lived up to it so far, but in an age of “games as a service” and DLC hopefully it can be added to and some meat can be added on the bones of the game.