Sea Of Thieves: A Saving Grace For Xbox/Windows Exclusives?

Let's take a look at this Microsoft exclusive to see it can truly be a savior for them, or if will it be yet another disappointment.

Announced back in E3 2015 at Microsoft's conference, Sea of Thieves made quite the impression with its first trailer. Marketed as one of the Xbox One's main future exclusives, it initially looked like it was set to be one of the most visually and mechanically unique games for Microsoft's console.

However, the swashbuckling adventure game was forever having its release date pushed back. With the game now being set to release some time early 2018, I want to highlight some of the pros and cons to this divisive title.

Sea of Thieves shows a lot of promise in some areas

What draws me to this game is the explorative focus that RARE are working hard to create. Being able to sail the seas with friends, exploring islands, and seeking hidden treasure are unique and exciting prospects for many gamers. (The multiplayer aspect is limiting, which I will touch on later.) In some ways, this reminds me of Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag, where you take your crew and sail across the ocean, doing battle against enemy ships, and finding loot and treasure, all the while listening to sea shanties (which was the best part of that game). 

The fact that the game is being made by the people behind games like Banjo-Kazooie and Conkers Bad Fur Day definitely helps provide relative hype and excitement since these games are such well received classics. RARE have the experience and comic expertise to deliver a fun and uplifting game set with an intriguing premise. 

The art direction is both playful and colorful, which reminds me a lot of Overwatch. It's not trying to be gritty and realistic, as this would not work well with the feel and style of the game. The graphics look beautiful and are stylistic enough to seen as next-gen. The art direction also goes well with the developers style, as their games usually go for fun and cartoon-like graphics.

There are some limiting factors to Sea of Thieves

Sea of thieves primary feature––the multiplayer aspect––is one that sets the game apart. RARE may be taking it too far, limiting the audience and gameplay. It is a multiplayer-only game, making it is a necessity for you to play with friends to get the whole and proper experience.

You can play solo, but you will not be able to man the big ships and go up against other player teams. For any average gamer, there is hardly any time where you and 3 to 5 other friends are free to play together. Therefore, it is a hugely limiting factor that will prevent a lot of people to pick this game up and play it properly. It would have made a bit more sense to have a system that allowed solo players to have a similar experience, such as having an A.I. controlled crew. At least this would allow players whose friends aren't available to still play the game.

Another issue I have is that we haven't seen any side quests so far. I understand that this is not that type of game to have side quests. However, what worries me is that nature of the exploration will become repetitive if there are hardly any story content whatsoever. For me, it seems that there will quickly come a point  where the novelty will wear off and the game becomes boring. Not much info has been given on what else there is to do outside of ship battles and exploring islands.

Final Thoughts: 

At the moment, I'm uncertain whether Sea of Thieves will be able to live up to the hype it has so far garnered. It's a divisive game, and I believe it will only have a small audience that is able to really play it due to the limiting functionality of its multiplayer.

I could be wrong, what's been shown looks promising, however there are aspects that look like they could stop the game from selling well. I think it is possible that it will not be another hit for Microsoft and their exclusives. With Scalebound being cancelled (which was a huge disappointment among people who followed that game since its announcement), Microsoft can't keep falling short with its AAA exclusives.

Published Aug. 21st 2017

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