In 2013, Assassins Creed: Black Flag reignited the dream of having a open world pirate game where you could sail the seven seas with your friends and dig for booty. Two years later at E3 2015, Microsoft and Rare Ltd (“Rare”) finally made our dreams come true with the announcement of Sea of Thieves. As of today, Sea of Thieves has been out for four months and what an awesome adventure those four months have been. Tom gives us his insight into the game having played it from the day of release.
Before venturing further, let’s go back to the beginning, when I first booted up Sea of Thieves. The first thing I noticed was that the game looked gorgeous. Everything in this game is amazing to look at. The sunset. The ships. The spooky skeletons and my favourite thing: The water. Whether I’m sailing on it, stuck in the middle of a storm in it or bailing it out of my sinking ship, I love the way the water looks. Obviously that’s pretty important seeing as you’re going to be surrounded by it for 90% of your time playing this game.
Speaking of playing the game, gameplay is pretty simple. You choose one of two ships at the start of each adventure (each time you log in):
- The Sloop: a small but nimble ship, which allows for a 1 to 2 man crew; or
- The Galleon: the big boy that can carry a crew of 3 or 4 and is unmatched in firepower and speed.
Once you’ve assembled your scurvy crew, you choose one of 3 mission types: Quests for Gold (Treasure Hunting), Bounty Hunting Voyage (Skeleton hunting) and Merchant Voyage (Chicken/Pig/Snake Delivery). Each of these missions will task you to sail to different islands on the map, complete an objective and then turn in the reward item to a vendor on an outpost island. For your first couple of hours doing this, the game will feel new and interesting, but after your 10th “Catch a pig and deliver it to this island” or your 20th “Go to this island and kill this skeleton” things will start to feel a bit repetitive. This is made even more apparent if you are playing the game by yourself.
This is where your friends and other players come into the picture and spice up the game a bit. The world that you sail will be populated with a number of other players. Not so many that you’re always on guard to protect your precious treasure, but enough to get you excited as to what’s going to happen next. Are they friend or foe? Do they have some chests I want to plunder? Or do we need to load the cannons and prepare for battle? That’s the most exciting thing about Sea of Thieves. What’s going to happen next? What’s just beyond the horizon, and is it friendly? But as I said, your friends are the key to unlock the treasure chest of fun times.
To be fair, Rare, unlike many other developers, are aiming to keep their game as ‘fresh’ as possible with what seems to be a new content every two months. We’ve already seen the launch of “The Hungering Deep” in May, which dropped a Megalodon into depths for brave pirates to hunt down. At the end of July we’ll see skeleton crews take to the oceans with their own boats of the damned. There is one more piece of content announced for this year, “The Forsaken Shores” which will be landing some time in September. Hopefully Rare will continue the trend and we might see the final piece of content for this year in November!
Overall, Sea of Thieves feels amazing on the eyes and ears, and whilst the single player part of this game certainly feels lacking, the multiplayer is more than enough to offset that, assuming you have the friends to play it with. It’s like they say, “it’s weird that pirates would go from shore to shore looking for treasure.. when the real treasure was in the friendships they were making along the way”.