Title: Sea of Thieves
Available On: PC, Xbox One (reviewed)
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Genre: Action-Adventure, Multiplayer
Official Site: Sea of Thieves
Release Date: March 20th, 2018
My time with Sea of Thieves left me thoroughly conflicted. While there were aspects of the beta I really enjoyed, like the environments, manning your own sea vessel, and the best water graphics known to man, there were parts of the experience that left me wanting. However, I will admit up front that I didn’t have anyone playing with me, and I think this was a great source of some of my own frustrations. This is definitely an experience better played with friends or a group of people who can communicate well.
Hands down, the graphics and aesthetics of Sea of Thieves are absolutely charming. One of my most memorable moments with the game was ascending to the top deck for the first time. The crystal blue water gently lapped against the boat as black clouds and lightning began to brew on the horizon. As the storm drew closer, the water became darker and choppier. I actually felt a jolt of fear as I fell out of the boat into stormy waves. Needless to say, it was totally immersive.
The sea is huge (obviously) and full of cities, islands, and landmarks to explore. Angry sharks and helpful mermen inhabit the perfect waves of Sea of Thieves as well. It looks perfect. However, I think, for the beta, at least, they relied too much on the aesthetics of the game. While the islands were beautiful to look at, exploring them didn’t prove fruitful. The landscapes were usually empty without much to actually do in them.
That being said, getting to the islands with your ships is an immersive, thrilling experience. When I finally got paired with a team that communicated and wanted to work together, sailing was amazing. It is easy to learn and fun to do, and you do truly feel like a pirate crew. Everyone just seemed to fall into a job and performed it well as we searched the seas for treasure. Fighting and tailing enemy ships is chaotically fun, and will really bring out the Jack Sparrow in you.
That being said, this situation above was the only time I was able to find a crew that actually wanted to work together. As I said before, I wasn’t playing with friends or co-workers. Unfortunately, I was entrusted to Sea of Thieves‘ pairing system. Honestly, the pairing system was much quicker than I expected it to be, but the problem was actually playing. There is nothing more frustrating than being grouped with other players that are deliberately trying to ruin your fun.
Obviously, this is a problem any sort of multiplayer game is going to run into. But, I have a few pieces of advice. First, wearing a mic is going to be mandatory. (This is coming from a gamer who hates to use mics; so, it’s important!) Communication is going to be a huge part in how you play this game. For example, if you are steering the ship, depending on where your sails are angled, it is going to be impossible for you to see where you are going. Therefore, having someone yell out directions to you is vital. Playing with people who don’t have mics, or just don’t care about what you have to say, can make playing the game pretty difficult. However, the perfect crew can really make all the difference.
Despite some of my complaints, I am holding out hope for what Sea of Thieves will eventually be. The game does have a certain charm that draws you in originally, but the excellent sailing mechanics and the beauty of the world will definitely keep you invested. Hopefully, the team behind this nautical adventure has plenty of time to really think about the communities feedback on the experience that we are all desperate for. All in all, it wasn’t a perfect experience, but there was enough to keep me hopeful for the future!
Sea of Thieves will officially set sail on March 20th, 2018, on Xbox One and PC. Xbox is in desperate need of a stellar exclusive, and I’m hoping that this is it!