Sea Of Thieves

After the soaring success of pirates in Assassins Creed IV : Black Flag, the gaming gods have decided to inflict an onslaught of pirate games coming our way in the next few years, hoping to replicate the success and open sea adventures. The first of these is Xbox exclusive Sea Of Thieves from Rare Studios. The game sets you out on the ocean with a ship and some quests and says “good luck” and while some are not enjoying the discover how to play this game yourself style, I found it to be incredibly refreshing in the current gaming landscape.

You spawn on an island filled with cartoonish characters who give you quests, items, supernatural items and of course rum! Players walk onto your ship in either a small sloop for single player or two player alternatively the mighty galleon awaits for multiplayer crews. Once on board you set the quest on the table and other players vote yes or no to accepting it. Once accepted you move to the map table to find the destination and the best direction to get there. Mastering the art of the sails and wind direction combined with the compass and steering is key to getting to your destination quickly while avoiding treacherous rocks and other players who want to sink your ship and plunder your booty.

While on board cannon balls need to be loaded, fired and re-loaded against enemy ships and creatures, holes that appear in the hull need to be boarded up and water bucketed out, there really is a rhythm to keeping the ship maintained and really does require all your team to have headsets to balance this out perfectly. Missions vary from collecting gold, killing hoards of skeletons and bosses to digging up buried treasure chests in return for gold and supernatural skull magic loot.

There are a wealth of islands and missions to complete, the more gold you collect, the more loot you receive and can upgrade your gear, weapons and look. All of this stays with you regardless of how many times you die or respawn. If you have any chests on your ship that you have not traded, these regrettably will be lost to the sea or plundered by other pirates who may have sunk your ship.

Visually this game is phenomenal, the water effects are eye droppingly beautiful and the wave effects really give the impression that you are on the ocean sailing. Similarly the detail of the ship itself is incredible. Islands are scarcely decorated and the cartoonish skeletons are not too intimidating. This enhances the sense of fun and whimsy the game is becoming famous for.

I went into this game expecting a large open world map adventure similar to Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, gamers who are expecting this should definitely curb their expectations. While there are plenty of quests and places to explore, it doesn’t have the same walk through as these open world games do which initially disappointed me, but as I began to explore and figure things out I was able to appreciate and love this game for what it is.

The game is quite quiet when it comes to music, the sound effects are great and you can really feel the crunch as you miscalculate your anchor and crush the side of your ship against a reef you missed. Each character is given musical instruments and playing different shanty’s with different (and upgradeable!) instruments on your voyage also adds to the multiplayer fun and appeal of this game.

This is the game that took me by surprise this year, it gave me several reasons to love it and many more to keep coming back. This is the game I have played the most online in 2018 and is definitely the most I have had fun. As more content gets released for this game in the coming years I am excited to see its content and community grow and change as time goes on. If you can’t justify the full retail price, it is included with an Xbox Game Pass which is a monthly subscription giving you hundreds of games to try out.

Sea Of Thieves is a technological masterpiece with beautiful graphics, uncharted territory perfect for navigating with your local and online friends as you become the best pirate and get some amazing gear. While it may not be worth the full retail price at this early stage of the game, you can get it with the xbox pass which makes it more worthwhile and as the game grows and evolves so will its audience and fanbase.

Sea Of Thieves is available exclusively on Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 right now.

Novastream were provided a review copy of Sea Of Thieves from Xbox and was reviewed on an Xbox One X.

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