I’m a big fan of sandbox games that give you the tools to make your own fun. Most of my favorite gaming memories aren’t well-crafted story beats but the cool, funny, stupid, and/or amazing things I’ve managed to make happen just by screwing around in a game.
Sea of Thieves has quickly earned a spot in my heart for more or less being a game built entirely on the idea of making your own fun. In fact, I’m lowkey mad that none of you told me this game hit so hard. Myself and a few of my friends decided to give the game a try, as we were looking for a new multiplayer game to get down on. Considering that it was downloadable with Xbox Game Pass, what did we have to lose?
Very quickly we learned the game kind of just throws you into the deep end, pun entirely intended. The core loop of the game has you obtaining quests from various merchants, locating the quest on your ship map, and then setting sail on your pirate ship towards your destination. Outside of that though, the game largely leaves you to your own devices, a fact we learned in an incredibly stupid way.
So, apparently my friend Andy is directionally challenged.
We had found the island where our treasure was located on the ship map. The plan was that my homie Keegs was gonna steer the ship, I was gonna callout for rocks, and Andy was going to navigate. Teamwork making the dream work. I guess the poor child never learned what the front of a ship looks like, or the general concept of directions because he didn’t realize until we were at the edge of the map that we were supposed to be going north instead of south.
“Oh, I thought the front of the ship was the back of the ship.”
It was at this point I jumped off the ship. Only partially due to my friends headass-ness, though. There was a swirly red and green beam on the horizon so I figured why not see what’s up since we’re already here? As I got closer, I began to realize it was a whole sunken ship. So you know I had to pillage that shit; I wouldn’t be a self-respecting pirate if I didn’t.
I wound up finding some creepy, glowing skull thing, which is usually the kind of thing I would avoid, but I’ve seen Pirates of the Caribbean, and being a zombie pirate doesn’t seem all that bad.
Turns out the skull was a piece of treasure and I was able to sell it for a pretty penny. That sense of discovery permeates the entire experience. Sure, we stumbled our way into something cool, but to me that’s the beauty of it. Each time I’ve booted up the game, I’ve experienced something entirely different, and a lot of it I just kind of stumbled on to.
Be it pulling up to an island only to get jumped by what I can only describe as a demon skeleton, or having a giant, flaming pirate skull in the sky talk shit and fire ghosts at my ship, I’ve consistently been surprised at this game.
Not to mention the game can be an incredibly serene experience. The water physics are gorgeous, and the game’s art style is cartoonish but incredibly pretty. Simply sailing to your next destination is a fun experience in its own right, and can be kind of peaceful when the sea isn’t trying to kill you.
Playing by yourself can be a fun adventure in its own right, but this game really sings when you have a crew to play it with. If you’re looking for a fun, unique multiplayer experience that won’t break the bank, then look no further than Sea of Thieves.