Sea of Thieves | Game Review

This review is an unedited version of the review written by Zombie Dredd and published in the Tech Magazine: Issue 60 August 2018.

As a child, there’s a pretty good chance you wanted to be either a cowboy, astronaut or pirate. Thanks to game developers, most of those childhood fantasies can be attained in virtual worlds. But in recent years, the poor old pirate has been sorely neglected. Until game developer Rare decided to set sail in vagabond times and with the scoundrels of the sea.

Yes, it’s time to own the seven seas. But with cutesy graphics and limited dastardly deeds.

Sea of Thieves is a first-person open-world game that takes inspiration from the age of pirates. The premise holds much promise but fails to deliver the experience to fully sate your pirate lust.

The game is designed for co-op player, but those wanting to sail solo can do so. Just ensure you choose the Sloop rather than the Galleon with its multiple sails. However, even solo, the game requires that you be online, in case another random sea scourge decides to attack your (quite relaxing) sailing experience.

With Sea of Thieves, the sailing tends to be the most rewarding part of the game. It is however quite repetitive – much like the three mission types available. To earn a reputation in the world, you can complete missions or quests (known as voyages in the game) for the three companies operating in the world. Each specialises in a mission type which are essentially killing an already dead pirate crew, treasure hunting for a chest and delivery items on request. The variations to these are the difficulty, reward and island in the ocean.

And that’s basically it. Pick a mission. Sail to the island. Complete the quest. Return to one of the six outpost islands to turn in and receive your reward. Do it again. Different island. Same skeletons. Because skeletons are the real enemy out there, not scurvy, sharks or the gangplank. You can drink or shoot yourself out of a cannon to much hilarity but that seems more like tacking elements on to hide a lack of content.

Combat is unrewarding, even with ranged weapons and swords to use. You can upgrade your weapons (and outfits) with the gold you earn but ultimately nothing really feels that different in use.

But, it’s a pirate game, so ship combat should save it right? Right? Well, no. Ship combat is limited due to the lack of others populating the game’s servers. It also feels like simply a spiteful thing to do, rather than a battle of skill and reward.

Sea of Thieves can be fun with friends at least, but the frustrating thing with Sea of Thieves is that it simply doesn’t live up to its potential. Sailing the seven seas and plundering islands and other ships (and just generally being a pirate) should feel villainous and varied but it just doesn’t. Maybe the game is one that will reach its full potential over time, but as it stands, it’s a difficult game to recommend when there are so many more rewarding titles available currently.

Score: 5/10
Available for: Xbox One and PC
Distributed by: Prima Interactive

About Zombie Dredd

Wannabe gaming journalist. Wannabe zombie. And sometimes clan leader of OAP. Clint O'Shea when in his human disguise.