Hoist The Sails, Ye Scurvy Dog
Piracy and video games don’t always go hand in hand. Sure, there have been a few great games that have put players on the high seas, but they’ve been few and far between over the years. That’s why it’s so surprising – and exciting – that Rare has been relentlessly building up their next big release. Sea of Thieves, an Xbox One and PC exclusive title, is one of the major titles being hyped for 2018, and has the online community in an uproar after the overly successful beta period.
Sea of Thieves is described as a high-seas piracy adventure, but it’s a bit more unique than the back of the box descriptor lets on. This is a truly cooperative piracy game, one that eschews the normal “one guy controls a whole ship” mechanic in favor of allowing a team of players to take on different roles. Getting from point A to point B will require a modicum of skill and cooperation, while actually accomplishing the goals of the game will require a level of teamwork that’s uncommon in most games.
The online cooperative gameplay meshes in an outstandingly in unique multiplayer competitive matches. The sun-soaked ship decks and beautifully created open seas provoke an adventure that has the makings of everything a legendary pirate would want: plundering loot, hoisting sails and battling your enemies. The gameplay will focus on the nature of being a pirate caught in the treachery of sailing the open waters, discovering lost islands brimming with treasure and most of all, working together as an efficient pirate crew.
A Vibrant World Full of Plundering
The world is largely open from what’s been seen so far, with quests scattered about liberally. The most exciting thing seems to be the inclusion of a truly shared world – the other pirates you see in the game will be other player crews, and you’ll be free to work with or against them as you see fit. Of course, if working together isn’t the pirate code you and your trusty crew live by, then by all means fire away the main cannons and breach your enemy’s vessels for the richest spoils. The freedom to play the game your way will surely bring out the inner pirate with his/her own standards and methods.
Taking on voyages and ongoing adventures ranks your and your crew up, in turn leading to more open sea endeavors. Sticking to the seas isn’t the only option, as hopping off your docked ship and exploring a number of deserted islands with plenty to explore and loot. Retrieving the loot isn’t as easy a method as found in other treasure hunting games, as players will need to rely on instincts and other gadgets to make discoveries. Using compasses, maps and an unwilling strive for survival and challenge to, not only obtain the valuable loot, but haul it back to your ship unscathed.
Anything Goes in the Open Waters
If you’ve been keeping up on the game, you should know that this isn’t exactly a hardcore piracy simulator. With a cartoony art style and appropriately silly physics, there’s a focus on fun that you don’t always see in this kind of game. You’re looking at something that, combat-wise, feels a little less like Black Flag and a bit more like a Pixar film. Yes, this means you can absolutely load your players into a cannon and shoot them at the other ship. You might even have them survive if you’re lucky enough.
The open beta that players were able to dive into head first received high praise from the online pirate hoarding community. The sleek visuals and remarkable water textures, the feel of constant adventures from one voyage to the next and the blend of co-op/competitive gameplay creates something so ultimately unique. Sea of Thieves absolutely follows a path to shift with what we know traditional online gaming can be, and switches to sword fights, ship battles and treasure hunts. A true, much-needed breath of fresh air for the online, and Microsoft, community.
Sea of Thieves not only looks to add new depth to the competitive online world, but to the exploration side of gaming, as well. A huge part of exploring the open seas is the art of sailing. While other games with boating/sailing features in them – most notably Assassin’s Creed titles – offer easy maneuvering from the reigns of one man, Sea of Thieves looks to place an emphasis on teamwork in this regard. Hoisting the sails and setting off isn’t as easy as 1-2-3, but takes a bit of time and practice to properly succeed on your voyage.
Intuitive Teamwork, Or Take on the Seas Solo
Navigation and steering the ships are two of the most important aspects when setting off to far shores. Along with guiding the ship across the waters, setting sails is also an important task for any successful pirate crew. Staying constantly prepared for battle when sailing through unknown waters is especially crucial for those surprise attacks, as well as bailing water out of the boat and repairing any damages in the midst of battle. This is no ordinary ship sailing game, as it takes true teamwork and assistance when navigating the treacherous seas.
Crews can be divided and successful in a few different member counts. While the average 4-person crew is easily the most reliable and dependable crew when venturing outward, taking on the game solo or in a duo can be just as enticing. Smaller boats work wonders for smaller crews looking to explore the foreign islands for loot, but be weary of becoming out-manned by larger pirate crews looking for their next victims. Either way, don’t let Sea of Thieves pass you by if teamwork and co-op play isn’t exactly your thing; there’s still plenty to enjoy.
Whether you’re aiming to set sail and explore uncharted territories, make a name for yourself among the pirate community, or become the wealthiest sea-warrior the open waters have ever seen, Sea of Thieves looks like just the place to accomplish those very goals. With tons of open world areas to explore inside a vast watery wonderland sprinkled with beautifully crafted islands with unknown surprises, players are eagerly gearing up for the release of the unique multiplayer title, Sea of Thieves.
You can find Sea of Thieves on Microsoft PC and Xbox One coming March 20th, 2018.