Review: Sea of Thieves6 April 2018
Have you ever wanted to live out your Pirates of the Caribbean fantasies of sailing the high seas, sword fighting with skeletons and escorting treasure back to safety as you’re pursued by other pirates who are ready to climb aboard your ship? Then Sea of Thieves is the game for you.
Developed by Rare (famous for Donkey Kong Country, Banjo-Kazooie and Goldeneye 007), Sea of Thieves is an online multiplayer adventure game that sees you team up with 2–-4 players and embark on journeys across the sea. You start on an outpost island, where you and your team can stock up yourand the ship with supplies and then purchase voyages from merchants on the island. VThere are three different types of voyages, although each will essentially see you journey with your crew to an island, complete a task (such as finding a treasure chest or killing some reanimated skeletons) and bring an item related to the task (such as a treasure chest or a skeleton skull) back to the outpost in exchange for gold. Gold can then be spent on cosmetics to deck out your character, ranging from simple pirate jackets up to flashy gold peg legs.
When embarking on voyages, each player will have a certain job to perform to keep things on track. One player, for example, might steer the ship, but have their view blocked by the sails. It would be another crew member’s job to communicate which direction to go to avoid obstacles and stay sailing in the right direction. Meanwhile, other crew members will have to patch up any holes in the ship and ensure the sails are facing the right direction to pick up the wind. Not to mention that there’s always a chance of being attacked by other players’ ships or sailing into the chaos of a storm. Communication is key.
These basic concepts make up the majority of the game. While that might be disappointing for some, the amount of enjoyment you get from the game will highly depend on the kind of gamer you are. As someone who plays a lot of competitive, high-tension games, Sea of Thieves was fantastic for me to cool off with and catch up with friends after some stressful competitive games. The game is visually stunning (you’ll stare at the dynamic water for hours) and the core gameplay, whilst basic, allows you to experiment and muck around. The amount of fun you have is linked to how much you fun you can make with your friends in Sea of Thieves’ pirate world. While that’s been criticised by many, there will probably be equally as many people who enjoy the game as a relaxing, social activity.
Another positive social aspect of the game is its use of Microsoft’s ‘Play Anywhere’ initiative, which means that each purchased copy of the game is valid for both Xbox and PC, while also offering crossplay between the two platforms. As a recently converted PC player coming over from Xbox, I was able to play Sea of Thieves with my friends on Xbox Live while playing the game on my new PC. This is an underrated feature that won’t necessarily benefit everybody, but will be great for a select few.
The main downside to Sea of Thieves is the retail price, at $99.95. For the amount of content the game provides, the price is absurd considering much of the entertainment comes from your ability to ‘make your own fun’. Rare hasve promised more content is coming in the future, but that’s no excuse for the lack of content at launch given the price. One way to circumvent the expensive asking price is to obtain the game via Xbox Game Pass (which, despite the name, is also available on PC) which works much like Netflix, but for video games, and includes Sea of Thieves. Xbox Games Pass includes a two- week free trial and then only costs $10.95/month. Depending on how long you intend to play Sea of Thieves for, Xbox Game Pass might be the cheaper option, as long as you’re willing to forfeit your ownership of the game once you cancel your game pass subscription.
Overall, Sea of Thieves is an entertaining game to play with friends. How much fun you get out of it depends largely on the type of games you enjoy and whether you think the ‘make your own fun’ mantra is enough for you to push through gameplay that will get repetitive over time. Taking that into consideration, along with the price tag, will help you decide if Sea of Thieves is the right kind of game for you.