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Game Preview: Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves is a glorious romp, fully immersing you in the daily life of an adventurous scallywag.

I had the chance to play Sea of Thieves during the Closed Beta Test and it is just as much as they promised and more. Sea of Thieves is an onlineĀ pirate RPG game taking place in a fictional map of about 30-40 islands. You either form up with 1-3 of your best mateys, or join a rag-tag crew, and set sail, going on perilous adventures, braving storms with damaging winds, and plundering isles and ship alike. Don’t like having to deal with other people? No problem, you can also choose to go it alone on the small sloop!

Sea of Thieves - COmBAT

Gameplay

On the surface the game feels like a simplified version of Rust, sans-base building, however, it is much more intricate. You and your friends must work together to quickly and efficiently sail your ship to fight other crews, hordes of skeletons, and the elements. Each position relies on another crew member or position to function, making teamwork a necessity, and the rush of getting in a battle is palpable.

In my first voyage, I manage to meet two new people, get murdered by three skeletons, get in a four-way fight between other ships. At one point I was blown off my ship via cannonball, and grabbed onto an enemy ship at the last second, boarding it, killing two crew members, grabbing a chest full of gold and diving back into the sea… only to be eaten by a shark before I could be picked up by my crew-mates.

As for an overall story; so far yet there isn’t one. Rare is focusing on creating small stories for your crew to go on a voyage, so you’ll end up creating your own story. I sure in the future that there will be background lore to explain why you’re there and what the end goal for all of your hoarding and looting is for, but as of yet, there’s no info on that.

Sea of Thieves - schooner

But what is there to do?:

You go on small voyages either with friends or solo, fight skeletons and other players, get chests and sell them. You can also find shipwrecks and will sometimes find treasures in them, or just supplies for your ship, or even treasure chests. Or go on quests to find long-lost captains and raid their treasure hordes, and take their skulls to empower rituals. Or, if you’re a PvPer, you can just sail around keeping a weather eye on the horizon for a ship to appear and sack. There are quite a number of way to make your fortune, and that is one of the key points in this SWAG (shared World Adventure Game).

What can I do with my money?:

There will be tons of customization such as your cannons, ship’s hull decorations, sails, clothes, equipment, guns, figureheads. However, you will not be able to increase your stats by getting better equipment. Rare wants this game to be all about skill, so any upgrades are purely cosmetic. So you won’t find people sailing around in a completely maxed out ship, ganking low-level players; everyone is the same level.

Performance & Graphics

The lack of the third person forces your immersion. There’s nothing quite like setting sail for a distant treasure horde and forgetting what you were doing due to you and your crew playing a shanty while staring at the sunset; this game is beautiful. This game is Easily run on a mid-to-lower end computer, so you don’t have to worry all that much about the graphics.

One of the key features that Rare emphasis is the cross-platform compatibility. Since it is run through the Microsoft Xbox app, you can literally play it on your Windows PC, then switch over to your Xbox and keep playing on, or play with a friend on Xbox while you’re on your PC. While being on Xbox enhanced, it can have its graphics juiced up to and including 4k Ultra HD.

Areas That May Need Improvement

This game has extremely good potential. Hand to hand combat is pretty smooth with decent mechanics, but like I stated earlier, directional swinging and blocking would add a bit more depth to swordplay. However, it’s one drawback may be the distinct lack of a foreseeable endgame. Sure the game is extremely fun for the week that I was able to play it, but without a distinct endgame to pit yourself against world bosses, or compete in a PvP, or server v. server, or even challenges to see who can solve a riddle first to find Blackbeard’s treasure, the game seems to fall off quite quickly.

Overall

Rare has promised a whole slew of updates including adding in the dreaded Kraken, however, that will slake our lust for adventure for a good bit longer until we can determine where they have decided a direction to take. As it stands now, the 59.99 seems a bit much to be asking for the current content, I would suggest adopting a wait and see, to see what has been added once full release in March. You CAN preorder now and you’ll get a preorder skin for your equipment. Here’s hoping that it becomes all this Krak-ed up to be.

THE GOOD THE BAD SCORE
  • Beautiful
  • Immersive
  • Easy to get into
  • Very fun
  • Lack of direction
  • Combat can use some refining
  • High price tag

8.5