‘Sea of Thieves’ Review – Get Ready To Set Sail
There has been a literal boat-load of hype leading up the release of this game. If you live under a rock, let me explain to you what Sea of Thieves is. This is a shared world, online-multiplayer pirate game. This means you can sail the open seas in search of treasure, battle enemy pirates and build your legend as the most fearsome pirate on the sea. While there is tons of excitement that comes with the game, there still feels like there should’ve been a lot more to this title at launch, but lets get into this.
First of all, let us address one of the best things about Sea of Thieves, the graphics and audio. If you need to play a game where you truly feel immersed in an experience, Sea of Thieves is your game. I have played the game both on my Windows PC and Xbox One S. I can say that both look beautiful, some of the best graphics I have seen in a game in a long time. The water physics used in Sea of Thieves is THE best water I have seen in a video game, the waves seem to realistically crash into one another to create the tides and turbulence on the sea. Sea of Thieves has a night and day cycle as well which is highlighted by beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Proper use of sun rays and lighting brings this world to life. Without great sound, good graphics can be thrown out the window. From the brisk crash of the water to the music that you can play with friends, Sea of Thieves has audio that truly draws the player into the world. You literally feel like you are dragged into a pirate world and can almost smell the salt of the sea.
The key to every pirate’s heart is getting that sweet, sweet booty. There are plenty of ways to get the loot that you desire. This comes in the way of companies. There are three different companies in the game right now. These companies offer players different voyages to undertake to get more gold. These companies are the Gold Hoarders, the Merchant Alliance and the Order of Souls. You will go on voyages for each of these companies, gaining reputation and ranks among them which unlock more voyages and unique cosmetic items for you to purchase. Unfortunately, the voyages don’t differ the higher ranks you go up. The Gold Hoarders will give you a map to go dig up buried treasure and bring it back for gold. You will hunt down undead pirates for the Order of Souls and track down certain goods to deliver to the outlined customer for the Merchant Alliance. It feels like a rinse and repeat process that gets stale after numerous times doing it. There is a story line you can follow after ranking up with these companies, but seems to offer nothing memorable at the time. Thankfully, Sea of Thieves implements different things to keep the game exciting.
When you receive a voyage, you receive a map or a note. These are unique because there isn’t a lot of hand holding, depending on the voyage that you accepted. For the Gold Hoarders, you are given a map of an island. You must then go to the real time map on your ship and find this island. After you set sail and arrive, you have to use your compass and map given to find the spot where the treasure is buried. This is unique in that there is no map you can access for these islands that tells you where you need to go. Having to use the lay of the land to find your treasure was something we haven’t seen in a long time in a video game. Speaking of sailing, if you don’t have a group of people with you, good luck being a successful sailor. Each ship has different aspects needed to be fully operational. Sail lengths/angles need to be set, someone needs to man the wheel as well as knowing when to raise and lower the anchor. Without proper navigation skills, you may as well be sailing blind. Sea of Thieves makes wonderful strides to assure players that this is a multiplayer focused title.
The best, and worst moments in Sea of Thieves come with the multiplayer. The best feeling is when you are playing with three other people, friends or randoms, and embarking on journeys and taking out other players. You can even take on the more challenging Skeleton Forts with groups of other players. This are denoted by the giant skull shaped clouds in the sky with glowing eyes. Get to the end and take out the skeletons to get a key to a treasure room, where it becomes a mad grab for treasure. Some of the most fun I’ve had has been getting drunk off grog and playing music with my friends mid sail. This is a double edged sword unfortunately. Sea of Thieves had a rough launch, not being able to compensate for the amount of players trying to play at once, resulting in server errors left and right. I was forced to play a lot of the game alone on a sloop. Anytime I came in contact with other players, I was completely decimated and left with nothing. I seem to always run into 4-man galleon ships that wanted nothing more than to watch me suffer. This was frustrating because I would have 30-minute queues to get into sessions with friends invited off of my friends list.
As a new release, there were some glitches that I found that actually hindered my progress with this game. I would find sometimes that my boat would just start sinking with no damage to it whatsoever. There was a time where I picked up a chest and my boat just disappeared in front of me, forcing me to drop the chest and use the mermaid to teleport to my boat. I’ve lost countless chests to due glitches, that I have no doubt Rare will fix. With a scope as broad as Sea of Thieves has, after a few hours in the game, you feel like you have seen everything. Because of the similarity between voyages and a progression system based sheerly on cosmetics, there doesn’t feel like there is a lot to do. Exploration is great and all, but I found little drive to sail aimlessly to islands as there wasn’t much loot to uncover. I am confident that Rare is working on some great content to release in the future, I just wish there was more variety at release time. Well, there is a Kraken, which is the most nerve racking thing to deal with in modern games. This badass monster can come in and tear your ship apart and toss your crew mates around like they were nothing, so good luck with that. If you’re looking for something you can sit down and play for a few hours with friends, then Sea of Thieves is for you. I look forward to the content Rare decides to add to the game in the years to come. Until we see that content, pick this one up and get ready to set sail!
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