By: Melody Klink
Sea of thieves, Rare’s high-seas pirate adventure, has finally made its debut. But are there troubled waters abound for this long-awaited title?
Originally, development for Sea of Thieves started in 2014, where the game was a roving multiplayer concept that had nothing to do with pirates-- yet. Under the codename “Athena,” the game snuck around under the radar, eventually finding the pirate niche to settle into. By the end of 2016, Rare was giving the gaming universe sneak peeks of what was to come.
And I’ve been around for almost all of those sneak peeks-- I’ve played Sea of Thieves since first Alpha, where I was in awe of how beautiful the game was while promising myself that the clunkiness of the game was all thanks to its unreleased status. Then Beta came around, and few things changed, but some issues still loomed on the horizon. By the time full-game release rolled around, I had major concerns. But we’ll get to those in a bit! First, let’s dig into the meat of the game.
When you first start up Sea of Thieves, you’ll pick out your pirate persona-- no, there’s no Create-A-Pirate, but the game does offer you a multitude of randomly generated scallywags to choose from. From there, it’s all about deciding your crew: you can take on the seas solo or duo in a small sloop ship, or go for the big guns in a galleon ship with four crewmates. Once you’re settled in, your adventures at sea begin!
(Do keep in mind that Sea of Thieves is online only, and unless you invite your friends into your game, you’ll be in the hit-and-miss arena of random players, who may or may not immediately sail your ship straight into a cliff and sink it. Some folks just want to watch the world burn.)
A member of your crew will procure a treasure map, which you’ll man your ship and sail to. The sailing operations of the game are fun for the most part, you and your crew working together to navigate the waters-- manning the sails, steering, and hopefully avoiding storms and rogue waves. Once you’ve made it to your destination, the hunt begins: check the clues of your map to find that sweet buried treasure! You may encounter skeletons or even other pirate crews on your journey; you’ll want to dispatch either of them quickly, or you’ll end up on the Ferry of the Damned (which is one of the coolest looking places in the game. I might be telling you to die at least once just so you can see it.) Once you and your mates have nabbed the treasure, it’s all about getting that loot box back to port to sell. Some crews take their chances, filling their boat with all the loot they can before turning in, while others are much more careful about their bounty. Don’t forget: someone can always sneak up on you, sink your ship, and steal it all!
Remember this scenario: Map, island, treasure, fight people (living or dead), port, repeat. Because you’re going to do that for your entire Sea of Thieves life. Forever.
Say it with me, like you’re from The Sandlot: Forrrrreeeeeeverrrrr.
This is where the shiny luster-- and $60 price tag-- fail me on Sea of Thieves: that’s all there is. There’s no grander story, no sense of mystery, no manifest destiny to work towards. Sure, the graphics are gorgeous-- I’ve taken many a screenshot of beautiful waves at sea, storms rolling in over the water, and the Northern Lights-style auroras that play in the darkening sky. But, for me at least, you quickly lose your sense of purpose when you’ve gone to yet another cookie cutter island, walked around to an obscure riddle, dug up a chest, and sold it back at port for gold that has little use in the long run. Judging by the talk of the web, it isn’t just me; so many people echo the same sentiment even at a few hours in. Add in external issues like game server fails and overcrowding, and you’ve got a mess on your hands.
On the other hand, some (like one member of my own crew) swears that we just need to give Rare time to implement more stuff, because that’s the nature of the beast these days. He really digs it (PIRATE JOKE, I AM CORNY), and is always excited to hit the high seas again… usually playing the accordion and not wearing a shirt.
Here’s my issue with that (the game, not my friend’s lack of clothing): this game has been in development for four years. It was in Alpha-then-Beta stages for a long time, tremendous amounts of feedback. And with a full-price asking for the title, I don’t anticipate waiting for a story to happen, or for Rare to decide to add-on later. And that goes for every gaming company, not even barring my own loves like Bioware and Square Enix: don’t release games that aren’t the complete version.
Oh, but that’s another rant for another time.
Overall, Sea of Thieves is a decent game, with beautiful graphics and a fun-- albeit short-lived-- gameplay experience. I’m not trying to tell you that it’s the worst game I’ve ever played-- far from it. I am saying that it’s lacking in many areas you don’t expect. If you’re a lover of pirates like myself, give it a chance on Microsoft’s Game Pass, but I wouldn’t drop $60 on it in its current state. Maybe Rare will surprise me in the future and I’ll fall in love, but right now? It’s all lukewarm water.
While pretending to be a human, Melody Klink likes to write down words. Lots and lots of them. All to gain the admiration and trust of the human masses.
Wait. I mean… Melody Klink is a lovable little scamp with a sweet tooth for all things coffee. Spending her entire life nose-deep in books and writing, she always manages to have one more adventure to tell the world. When she’s not scrubbing stray words out of the squishy bits of her brain, Melody can usually be found spending copious amounts of time on Xbox Live, fangirling over comics, studying various sciences, and yes! Even reading. She may or may not be addicted to memes, Futurama, and singing. While her first foray into publishing was Bad Mood Boogaloo, a book for toddlers, she also enjoys writing novels, and has several titles in the works. Her debut novel GODEATER: The Second World was released February 29th, 2016. She currently resides in the Mid-South with her husband, daughters, and one annoying cat.
Check out these links to find all her books: