Year:  2024

Director:  Gregg Mayles

Rated:  PG

Release:  Out Now

Distributor: XBOX Game Studios

Running time: Online multiplayer game

Worth: $14.50
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

… a polished, exciting and engaging multiplayer adventure for those with a yearning for a very specific type of game, one full of friction and oddly complex mechanics.

You know what has always been wrong-headed nonsense? Console wars. As far back as the school playground, your humble word janitor can remember bitter battles between Sega Mega Drive groupies and Nintendo Entertainment System acolytes, each side entrenched in the belief that their system is the better one. Despite arguing on behalf of a massive corporation being a distinctly dystopic preoccupation, the trend continues to this day with Sony Ponies slagging off XBots (and vice versa) via that idiot enhancer, social media. However, due to some erm… fiscal difficulties over at Team Green, XBOX has been a little more open to sharing some of their console exclusives of late. Hence why Playstation owners can now play Hi-Fi Rush, Grounded, Pentiment and – the subject of this here review – multiplayer pirate beano, Sea of Thieves.

Sea of Thieves puts you in the leather boots of the procedurally generated character you select and then, after a brief tutorial mission, you’re pushed out onto the high seas to find adventure, plunder, and some fancy new togs. Gameplay occurs in first person, with the graphical style bright and cartoony.

You might think, then, that this game would be simple and easy, something like Fortnite. You’d be wrong. Despite the light-hearted aesthetic, Sea of Thieves can be a bloody unforgiving time. You’ll need to pilot your ship through rough seas while constantly checking your map, you’ll need to repair any holes that appear in the hull lest ye sink to the bottom of Davy Jones’s’ Locker, and you’ll need to raise/drop the sails and anchor at the right time to avoid wrecking your ride. It’s surprisingly complex stuff and fans of pirate sims, or historical fiction enthusiasts will love the depth on offer here. The ship v ship combat is especially well designed, with sea battles feeling genuinely epic and victory hard earned.

The news isn’t all good, mind you, because the experience of Sea of Thieves to new players can be a confounding one. See, the game was first released back in the year of 2018 and since then there have been a shipload of updates. So, for newbies, it’s hard to know how to get started. Worse still, the ability to join random crews, while welcome, often slots you in with a group who have finished the mission or quest and are just pissfarting about in one of the hub areas. Basically, Sea of Thieves can be a hoot, but you should make sure that you have at least one friend (preferably three) who can join you for these nautical adventures, otherwise a lot of time will be spent waiting around to randomly drop into the right crew of salty sea dogs.

Ultimately, Sea of Thieves is a polished, exciting and engaging multiplayer adventure for those with a yearning for a very specific type of game, one full of friction and oddly complex mechanics. Solo players definitely get the short end of the plank, but if you’ve got a few fellow pirates keen to sail, Sea of Thieves is a treasure no longer buried.