Rare’s Sea of Thieves promises a pirate’s bounty. The shared world pirate adventure allows you and your friends to crew a ship, explore islands, hunt for treasure and plunder other players. An amazing premise, but my first three hours with the game left me feeling salty.

After dabbling with the game, and interacting with some passionate fans on Reddit, it is clear that this game is best experienced in a social setting. Whether you are playing with friends and joining a crew of randoms, all indications are this game is better with others.

In my playtime, I noticed a couple positives right off the bat:

  • This game looks incredible. The art, the waves and the lighting are all phenomenal.
  • Hitting the seas really fuels a sense of adventure when you are starting out

My two key disappointments with the game revolved around a lack of direction and what I believe were technical issues.

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There is no denying that scallywags at Rare made a beautiful game. 

A Lack of Direction

I could have used a tutorial of some kind. The game drops you off in a tavern and says, “Have fun!” I figured out how to grab some things, but setting off on my first adventure was challenging.

First, you have to purchase a voyage from a faction. Then, you have to go to your ship. Once aboard, you have to put the voyage on a specific table and vote for it. Once it’s set as your active voyage, you get a treasure map. You pull up the map by pressing RB. You then go to a map table, find the island that looks like the one on your map and set sail.

To actually move your boat, you raise the anchor and lower the sales. There is a crow’s nest to sit in and cannons to fire on either side.

These are some cool systems – I’m just saying some explanation of how to get going would be nice. It was frustrating to have to hit every button on the controller, touch everything and talk to everyone in town to try to get into the action.

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The excitement of sailing into the horizon for the first time is exhilarating. 

Technical Issues

After grabbing both chests required for my second voyage, I got back on my boat, and it capsized. It just flipped over, sank to the bottom and was gone along with my two precious treasure chests. A mermaid appeared and sent me back to my ship, which had somehow been conjured up from the depths, minus my booty.

I set off for the long trek back to the hub island to acquire more voyages, and after leaving the wheel to check out the map table, I fell off the back of the ship without hitting anything, and watched my vessel sail off to the horizon before the magical mermaid shipped me back. I offered him all my gold for a warp back to the hub, but he declined.

Other Observations from the Crow’s Nest

  • The whole experience was a little slow for me. Sailing places takes time, which makes sense given the setting, but I prefer more action in my games.
  • It gives you a socially acceptable setting to say pirate things like, “Avast, matey!”
  • Combat seemed awfully simple. You have a cutlass and a pistol. All upgrades are cosmetic. You basically have your whole arsenal from the beginning, and nothing ever changes. The voyages do get more in-depth as you advance.
  • Hitting a buried treasure chest with your shovel is exhilarating.
  • I didn’t see any other players during my playtime, either in the hub or on the high seas.

The Verdict? That’s up to You.

Sea of Thieves was most definitely not for me. After three hours, I can bid it happily bid it adieu in favor of other options. I can’t trash it altogether, though. For some, this game is an incredible experience. If you want to check it out, and you don’t have any friends playing it already, I strongly urge you to jump onto the game’s subreddit, I encountered several helpful captains offering to take me under their wing.

Do you have a different take on Sea of Thieves? I’d love to hear your feedback on twitter, facebook or by email!