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Review in progress: Is it worth exploring Sea of Thieves?
Mon, 26th Mar 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Sea of Thieves is the new MMO video game developed by Rare that is available now on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. The game has been out for a few days now, but is it worth exploring the seven seas at launch?

It's hard to fully review online games mainly because they will get several updates in the future. Not to mention my time with the game at launch has been very limited thanks to constant server issues cutting down my playthrough time.

That said, I still played enough of the game to get a fair idea of what's it about and the direction it could take in the near future. There's still a lot of things that I feel Rare could improve upon in the future.

Anyway for those of you that are unaware, Sea of Thieves is basically kind of like No Man's Sky although this time you control a pirate that explores the seven seas and islands around the world instead of infinite space. However, this game actually includes online multiplayer at launch and forces players to co-operate with other people from the get-go.

The first time I played the game I was not happy mainly because Sea of Thieves does not have a tutorial of any kind at the moment! The game just puts you inside of a random ship thinking that you already know the controls and what to do.  This proved to be annoying for me because I got matched up with other players who seem to have known what to do already. I was just standing there like a deer looking at headlights because I still had no idea on what to do or what the objective was.

Once you explore around, you do realise that the most common goal is for you help start the ship so you can sail at sea exploring islands for you to get loot from treasure chests. It's a very co-operative experience because one person has to raise the sails, another has to raise the anchor while the captain will steer the boat. If there's anyone else, they can either load up the cannons and vote on where the team should go to next.

Sailing at sea is kind of similar to The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker as you explore a huge amount of water to finally get to an unexplored island. I must say, the graphics in Sea of Thieves are pretty amazing especially if you manage to play the game on Xbox One X (like me) or a high end PC.

Sure the game has a cartoon-like look to it, but the sunny skies and water effects are cool to look at. If you have a 4KTV, the game looks even brighter if you turn on the HDR setting.

In terms of gameplay, the game at launch does not offer much in terms of content. Most of the time, you are with your crew just visiting islands and gathering treasure. The usual enemies that you have to face are some skeletons, although they are easy to dispose of with either a gun or sword at hand.  The combat is this game is pretty simplistic and the skeleton are not threatening at all. On occasion you do encounter a Kraken, although only its tentacles are visible and the fight is kind of underwhelming. The biggest threat you will face are other human players that will sabotage your progress. They can hijack your boat or simply kill you off which happens quite a lot if you ever encounter them.

Sometimes though, you may play the game several minutes or hours without encountering any other players, ships or interesting islands to look at. This is why Sea of Thieves is like No Man's Sky because both games lack a narrative and it's up to the players themselves to create their own enjoyment.

Even though this game is best played with online friends, you can play it solo although it is an isolating experience being alone. You have to control your boat all by yourself and there's nobody else to help you if other enemy players or the Kraken come around.

However, the biggest hurdle you will face currently is the inconsistency of the servers. Even if you want to play solo, you still have to be connected to the internet. Launch week has been pretty hectic as I had to log in several times before I was able to start playing.

When you do play the game, there isn't much in terms of variety of stuff to do as content is quite light right now. Hopefully Rare adds in lots of free updates in the future like Hello Games did with No Man's Sky to make Sea of Thieves more exciting.

Anyway, Sea of Thieves at launch has some redeeming factors although right now the game feels incomplete. This is a reason why this is a review in progress because I feel the game could be better in the weeks to come when hopefully more stuff is added. All I want right now though is a tutorial of some kind as I'm sure I'm not the only gamer that was clueless at the start!