This was one of the Xbox One exclusives that I was looking forward too, after playing Assassins Creed Black Flag, having a dedicated pirate game where I could sail the seas with my friends in search of treasure, figuring out riddles and battling monsters from beyond the deep was a match made in heaven.

The trailers promised lots, with vast fortunes and quests aplenty. The realism is that when you first start the game there are hopes and aspirations of having a massive amount of gold in chests and bling hanging from your character, but it really isn’t like that at all. The islands are empty and lifeless, other than a few chickens, pigs, snakes or skeletons and after a visiting a few it starts to get tiresome. There is nothing to collect other than the essentials for your boat such as bananas, wooden planks, cannonballs etc, these lie within barrels around islands and are easily picked up, but my question was that if a skeleton comes at me with a sword or a pistol and I kill them, why am I unable to pick this up and use it for myself? Why aren’t the weapons skill based so that the possibility of finding common or rare weapons on islands, or as mentioned above, picking up from a skeleton means that you could find better weapons to help you on your journey?

There are apparently lore books lying about different islands, which I have come across one… I would have thought that I would have come across a lot more in this time. In which we managed to find and cash the chest in… The number of islands we have visited and the amount of hours played you would have thought we would have come across more than this? In the latest update, Rare have said that there was meant to be more Lore books placed into the game, but I have still yet to come across another.

I’ve read that people have said that you have to make your own fun with this game, that is very well and good, but when the islands are empty, there is nothing in sight to collect or find an adventure with, where does the fun start and stop? Because there were times I have to admit I had some real fun with Sea of Thieves, and there were other times I just got plain bored, and the game has been boring more times than it has fun, and again it comes down to the fact that there is simply nothing on the islands in terms of collecting, or warranting going to any of them, only when a voyage warrants it.

A voyage is where you can collect a mission type event from a merchant at an outpost, most of them consist of finding a certain variety of chicken or fighting skeletons. Spawns are random on the game so not every island will have what you’re after, and after visiting around 5-8 islands for one variety of chicken, it does start to dampen the spirits a little bit.

There are other events which occur at fortresses which I haven’t tried yet, mainly because of the constant bombardment from the skeletons on the island and also the other ships in the area, my little vessel would not last 2 minutes. However, those who are willing to give it a try and go for it, the rewards are brilliant… apparently.

There are several merchants on each outpost, offering to sell weapon varieties, clothes and stuff to make your boat look pretty, however, the prices are very high for most of the items and I haven’t been able to buy anything for my boat… This is mainly down to the above of not being able to find anything or the voyages not paying a lot, or because of the below.

Other players: Every single time I’ve managed to find a chest (which isn’t many times) I’ve been unlucky enough to come across other players, who as soon as they see you will just blast you out of the water, or board, kill you and take your chest(s). Now, there is nothing wrong with this, far from it, it’s all part and parcel of the game, however when I’ve spent hours and hours trying to find this said chest, finally find it, get it back to my boat, it would be nice to be rewarded for my what is very hard work. However, 9 times out of 10 you are going to get screwed over, mainly because it’s only me and my wife on our little sloop and everyone else seems to be in massive boats with a full crew… This is probably why we’re targeted a lot. The one thing I would love to see from this game is an offline mode, where I can play with my wife without my arse cheeks clenching for the entire time in fear that our hard work is about to go down the pan. I did come across one group, who did message to say, we’re cool, don’t kill us, which is what I would like to see more of, instead of everyone just shooting or attacking for the sake of it, which most people on this game seem to do. I did leave them cause they had a hell of a lot of chests, and that would have taken hours to find, so they deserved their reward… Me… I had a chicken to cash in… Opposite ends of the spectrum.

The one thing I really liked about the game was how it looked, the use of colours both in the day and night cycle is fantastic, and especially at night when you look upon a clear evening and see the stars and an Aurora Borealis is there as well. Sometimes I do like to drop anchor and head up to the Crows Nest just to see the view from around (while also keeping an eye out for other ships).

The atmosphere of the game as well is spot on, going to outposts and into taverns hearing that music playing, makes you feel like you’re at home, it’s just a shame at any point, someone can come along and kill you and sink your ship while you’re enjoying a nice tankard of grog.

Despite the game looking beautiful and the atmosphere being on point for outposts, the game seriously lacks elsewhere, the islands feel dead, skeletons don’t seem to be a problem to handle, and there is isn’t anything to find out on the open sea. Sea of Thieves doesn’t hold you by the hand and expects you to jump into the deep end, however, I’ve found that this type of approach can alienate some players, especially those who would want to play on there own. Trying to sail even a sloop on your own is hard work, and if you’re on your own and come across a massive ship, you’re screwed. No other words for it, some serious content update and changes need to be made to the game to make it more enjoyable. More items to find on islands, picking up weapons or being able to find weapons on islands as well.

If you have a couple of friends who have this game, then it can definitely be a blast, but single players are alienated and I think this is where an offline mode could come in handy.

6/10

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