SEA OF THIEVES [Review]: Black Sails.
The Wallet Pirates over at Rare and Microsoft Studios are the real Sea of Thieves, when it comes to this empty treasure chest of a video game that amounts to a dead man’s dinghy full of dried dogshit doubloons. Ain’t no “X” on the skull-and-crossbones mark here, due to its parrot’s-piss-poor Wii-faring character graphics, plank-walkingly-painful load times, and sloppy-hooked-handed fighting mechanics. This is all accompanied by methodically-slow sailing that’ll make you crave a good keelhauling instead, especially once you reach your next destination, only to discover that you’re rinsing the same saltwater over the task you’ve just repeated on the last bit of land you lubbered on.
Unless you’re embarking upon these lowly seas with a group of your three best mates who are willing to take turns being subservient to one another when it comes to sailing, fighting, looting, and sharing treasure, the co-op multiplayerability of this title largely fails. Players you’ll crew up with will likely not communicate with you at all, will do things that frustrate you, and sabotage your supposed “mission” objective; and they’ll often drop in and out of your voyage before you can really accomplish anything at all; if they don’t prod you to help them to accumulate loot, only for them to disappear with it shortly thereafter, leaving you high-and-dry.
Besides, this game lacks any real sailor’s meat, as the quests consist primarily of stabbing and shooting low-resolution skeletons or other pirates–on islands that all look and play almost identically the same–for virtually the same gold coin rewards that you can only really use to buy cosmetic upgrades for your pirate’s costume, sword, gun, or ship. There is also no actual progression in the powers, skills, tools, and weapons your pirate wields; every player has the same abilities and powers from beginning to end. That, or you’re running around catching island chickens and island pigs, stowing them in your ship’s cargo hold, and occasionally feeding them before you drop them off on some other island for guess what??? Gold coins. Again. And again. And again…
Sea of Thieves might be a fun waste of time for 4-12 year olds (and even the 4-12 year old set are undoubtedly programming better gaming apps on their dumbphones and tablets instead), but then again, probably not. It’s needless to shanty on about this, but you won’t be building any impressive sandcastles in this open-ended turdbox. Save yourself some time, money (unless it’s on that absolutely winsome Xbox One controller), and torture, and go back to 2013, and replay Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag again, instead. 1.5/5 Bilgewater Biscuits.