Sea of Thieves - a hollow shell of absurdly repetitive questing
Sea of Thieves (PC/Xbox One), 7/10
The ever-growing mainstream appeal of online multiplayer gaming has proven to be an incredible boon for many new titles. Once upon a time, multiplayer titles had to fulfill very certain requirements in order to gain a fanbase large enough to justify the incredible cost of maintaining an online game.
Put simply, if it wasn't a World of Warcraft or Counter Strike clone, the chances of your game finding its way into the hands of the casual gamer were slim to none.
With the ubiquity of Steam and the Playstation and Xbox stores, the land of multiplayer gaming now feels a lot more like a prototyping ground, one where potential players seem more likely to spontaneously purchase a game that is outside their usual comfort zone.
Sea of Thieves is one such game that has benefitted from this renaissaince in online gaming. Quite unlike anything I have ever played, this latest offering from hallowed developers Rare feels it has captured perfectly the juvenile daydream of sailing the Seven Seas in search of bounty and adventure.
Prepare for a hammer-blow of childlike glee as the first few hours of this game unfolds majestically before your eyes. Figuring out the functionality of everything from your rigging, sails, anchor, compass, spyglass and dozens of other mechanics is as confounding as it is fun.
Really, the only way to play Sea of Thieves is with a group of two or more of your friends. Once you and your crew enter the game you will choose between either a two-person sloop or a four-person galleon. From there, your journey begins.
Constant communication is key to manoeuvring these hulking ships, particularly in the midst of a deadly barrage of cannon-fire from a rival vessel. The risks are big but the rewards are even bigger, though there is nothing quite as heartbreaking as finding yourself on the losing end of a firefight, your hard-won bounty now in the hands of rival pirates.
But alas, Sea of Thieves douses the fires of passion and wonder as quickly as they are ignited. Around the 20 hour mark the realisation will begin to dawn on you that, underneath the vibrant surface, this game is a hollow shell of absurdly repetitive questing with little to no reward in the later hours of play. Perhaps in time the developers will make steps to remedy this, but for now they have spurned their chance to capitalise on one of the most fantastic game concepts of the past few years.
New Ross Standard