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March 12, 2018

Sea of Thieves Beta: Limited But Exciting Plundering Fun

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Written by: Luis Correa
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“Cut the sails and turn it toward the wind and we can out run them!” A galleon loomed on the horizon as it bore down on our little two-man sloop. With some clever thinking we managed to navigate between two small atolls with some shallow, underwater sand bars. “We might not make it,” I yelled to my friend Kevin as I threaded the needle and cut the wheel hard to port when our sloop glided through unscathed. The larger galleon had attempted to follow through and found itself running aground as I had hoped. It was such a refreshing thing as my crew mate and I whooped in celebration while waving goodbye at the other ship, its crew firing futile shots at us with rifles. Bring the sails to full, we turned our heading toward an island off in the distance so we can search for that elusive red-speckled chicken.

Sea of Thieves is an upcoming open world pirate game developed by Rare (makers of Banjo Kazooie) and published by Microsoft. Just now out of final beta and due to be released March 20, Sea of Thieves has the player heading to the high seas to loot and plunder to their heart’s content. Players can take a ship and explore a large area with numerous islands, pirate forts and supernatural skeletons while searching for treasure or items. The different factions in the games offer somewhat diverse selection of quests for your crew to carry out.

I say crew because multiplayer is the heart of this game and everything in it requires some level of communication with another person to be effective. There is an option to sail alone if you need to as the smaller sloop has been designed for ease of use versus the larger galleon, but a single player will find themselves having to handle sailing and navigation on their own which is largely a two-person job. The large map is often placed in the captain’s quarters which means a single player would have to move from the wheel to the map and back to make sure they are on the right heading. Even with a simplified design it’s still a lot of work for one person and a person can easily be run out of the game by roving, fully crewed ships that go out of their way to chase players down.

The colorful style of a Rare game is in full view.

The colorful style of a Rare game is in full view.

The game itself is bright and has that nice design touch that Rare is known for. The world itself looks vibrant and sunny with gorgeous waves, random storms that throw your compass out of whack and threaten to send your ship to the bottom of the ocean. The bottom of the ocean is just another playing field as you and your crew can dive deep on wrecks to explore them for loot. The player doesn’t have to deal with oxygen when underwater, since the game lacks any realism to the point that you can even use lanterns and guns when under the waves. Also death’s only impact on you the player stems from loss of chests and loot from your ship but otherwise you simply spawn upon a spectral ghost ship and wait a few minutes before spawning back into the real world.

Although I had a lot of fun in this game I’m hesitant to make the purchase at full cost. It felt largely like a glorified fetch quest with you seeking out chests, animals like pigs and chickens and other trinkets only to return them to outposts for gold to be used for mostly cosmetic purchases to your pirate and your ship. Outside of the large multiplayer sea fortresses and the often alluded kraken, there seems to be a distinct lack of content . Rare mentioned this dearth of content would be addressed during their 2018-2019 development road map. But as with many other games that make these promises, the future doesn’t affect the now, and right now the game doesn’t have a lot of meat to it.

After a long time of just sailing about my crew mate and I found our chickens and sailed back to the outpost to turn the quest in at an outpost and — fittingly enough — ran into a another galleon at the same outpost who sank us on sight and then camped the outpost. This is something that although very much in tune with the pirate theme would easily be abused and thus make the game unplayable for a lot of people. Hopefully Rare will do something about this but only time will tell.

 



About the Author

Luis Correa





 
 

 
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