As I write this late review for Sea of Thieves I can’t help but feel the need to justify myself. I really wanted to love Sea of Thieves, I think it’s a fantastic concept that could truly grow into something special. But as I kept playing it, I was waiting for more to present itself to me. More to do. More to find. Unfortunately, after many long hours with the game, and some server issues (that have since been fixed) I’ve decided that I’ve had enough time with Sea of Thieves. In short, it’s not a game for everybody.
Sea of Thieves throws you into the world with little to no fanfare beyond a brief introductory cutscene. You’ll be on your own to work out what it is you want to do in the world – choosing your own character and being given your own ship. There’s a little bit of exposition at the beginning, setting the scene, but there’s no story or campaign per se to play through. Rather, Sea of Thieves feels like a pirate simulator of sort, giving players a wide-open playground to mess around in either solo or with their friends. It’s an interesting concept, but one that is barely sustainable.The crux of the game has you completing missions for one of three factions. Each faction has a “type” of mission they offer your player, and completing these missions improves your reputation with them. Some require you to track down a certain type of animal, others require you to defeat a certain type of enemy while others just have you looking for a good old-fashioned treasure chest. That’s really it, and while it’s fun the first few times, most will struggle to maintain their interest beyond a few hours.
When you’re not scouring an island for treasure or one of your targets, you’ll be sailing the high seas. Sea of Thieves offers a small ship and a big ship, which ideally scales depending on the size of the crew you’re partied up with. I expected Sea of Thieves to have a simplistic system for sailing but it’s surprisingly complex. You’ll have to adjust your sail length and sail angle to take advantage of wind directions, and the incorrect configuration can be the difference between smooth sailing and catastrophic disaster.