If you like Peter Pan than you will like Sea of Thieves, which plays a bit like working in a theater before the set has been completely built. There’s plenty of space to goof around and a few words in the wings to have mock fights with, but none of its quite ready for show time. A lack of features and polish has frustrated some players, but those willing to meet the game halfway will discover a game that’s exciting and pensive in equal measure. Sea of Thieves is as fickle and changeable as the sea itself.
In Sea of Thieves, the player selects a randomly generated pirate and is then tossed out into the world without any particular goals other than sailing around, completing quests for gold. They man a ship alone or with up to four friends, traveling to different islands in any order they like, letting other players go about their business or engaging with them in battles.
You sail everywhere in Sea of Thieves. There’s a great sense of physicality found in sailing one of the game’s two ship types. The small and speedy sloop requires a great deal of multitasking as one to two players zip around the deck to cut the sails, steer the boat, check the map, and raise and lower the anchor. The massive three to four person galleon requires coordinated action from everyone on the crew in order to sail effectively. Navigating from one outpost to another can take a good 20 minutes of anchor turns, sail trimming, and on-the-fly course correction. Everyone has a role, but once a crew has established a strong rapport, sailing is relaxing and rewarding.
But Sea of Thieves falters more once you get into port. There are only a few things to do for the game’s three major factions. The Gold Hoarders assign missions to sail to distant islands and find buried treasure either by using a map or solving riddles of varying complexity. The Order of Souls tasks players with fighting skeletons and returning their cursed skulls for rewards. The Merchant Alliance asks players to deliver a certain breed of chicken or a barrel of gunpowder. Completing these tasks grants gold, which can be used to buy clothing or to deck out your ship with cosmetic items like new sails.
You’re as strong at the start of Sea of Thieves as you are 20 hours later, and if there’s any indication that you’re an experienced pirate it’ll be your expensive hat. Sea of Thieves doesn’t really care about the player. Not in the sense that it wants to buff your stats or allow you to make permanent changes to the game world. It doesn’t care about how skillfully you completed a quest or even if you complete it at all. It offers you a world and doesn’t concern itself with what you do in it.
Sea of Thieves – Order it today!
Targeting: M for Mature: Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
Genre: Action, Adventure
Publishing: Unreal Engine
Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows