Developer Rare has a bunch of awesome games in its portfolio such as Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong Country and Golden Eye. I personally liked Kameo as well. We’ve been playing the developers latest adventure online multiplayer game Sea of Thieves and the game looks absolutely stunning, but the gameplay lacks depth once you’ve played it for a while.
Stunning is the word that comes to mind when you start playing Sea of Thieves. We played the game on the Xbox One X on a 1080p TV. The game boasts of a watercolour painting visual style and it sits very well with the game. From the orange sunset to the purple night and the open blue sea, the game looks beautiful. The ship you sail on and even the skeleton enemies you encounter are visually rich to look at. You can’t expect the game to have realistic details considering the arty style it is going for and that’s okay. During the journey in Sea of Thieves, it looks like you are playing the adventure which would otherwise be in the pages of a fairytale book.
The one thing that deserve special mention is the sea. From the calm, still waters to the stormy waves, the animation of the sea is quite realistic. The way the waves affect your navigation at sea adds a new challenge to piloting your vessel.
Overall, the graphics of the game are very good. They remind me of the 2008 Prince of Persia in a good way.
Sea of thieves is best enjoyed when played with friends. You have the option to sail all by yourself and I highly recommend you start out this way. I kicked the game off with a random companion and because I asked too many questions about the gameplay, I think he left the game. Sea of thieves does little in holding your hand and showing you the detailed ropes of the game leaving you to explore, have some trial and error and eventually figure out the best move forward. Once you’ve explored the land by yourself (and haven’t been picked on by other players for being alone), you are ready to join your band of merry men to take on the ruthless sea.
The success or failure of the gameplay is highly dependent on teamwork. If you have a bunch of friends all equipped with mics then the game can be fun. There are times when, through random matches, I enjoyed a game with unknown people because we were on the same page with the mission. On other occasions, I was left stranded giving me the feeling of being marooned because I was the third leg in a game full of friends.
The ‘voyages’ you take on in the game are the missions which usually involve you hunting for skeletons, taking them out and keeping their skulls for trophies, gathering poultry and occasionally taking on sea monsters. You can also hunt for buried treasure as a real pirate would. If you come across other players in the game, you can fire at them, sink their ships and steal their loot. Doesn’t the title of the game seem apt all of a sudden?
After spending 8-10 hours in the game (which for me was one weekend), it starts to get repetitive. That doesn’t mean the game is no fun. The first time you find a sunken ship with a map in a bottle, it leads to an island with buried treasure and after you steal the treasure you are attacked by other players, and have to save yourself by the skin of your teeth, only to be attacked by a sea monster and die. That is fun in my books. The first time, it’s an incredible experience. The fifth time, not so much. I did ask myself why this is the case? I do fire up Doom for a couple of death matches once in a while. That too is the same online battle over and over again, so why did this feel so repetitive? Sadly, I have no answer for it.
Moving on, in your arsenal, you do have a sword, a gun, binoculars, bananas for health, a lantern, wooden plans to repair your ship and more. You can also play a musical instrument to make merry through the journey and it is fun but again, not for long.
Your loot only leads you to aesthetic changes and nothing that takes the core gameplay to the next level. Once again, just like the 2008 Prince of Persia, the price you started the journey with is the price you end with.
As far as the audio goes, your character has no voice. You have a set selection of character to choose from and you are the voice if you play online. The background score of the game is forgettable but when you pay attention for a while, it will remind you of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Sea of Thieves – Verdict
Like we said in the beginning, the game is gorgeous, but lacks depth. After spending a dozen hours, you will let it be for quite a while before jumping back in. Whether players will still be dancing the hempen jig or hornswoggling one another, is something only time will tell.
|Platform: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Tested on: Xbox One X
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Sameer "Psycho Mantis" Mitha
I live for gaming and technology is my muse. When I am not busy playing with gadgets or video games I delve into the world of fantasy novels.