Thursday, March 22, 2018

"Sea of Thieves" Review

Judging from my time with "Sea of Thieves," the pirate's life is not for me.

The drab, slow-moving pirate sim continues the slump from Microsoft's in-house dev studio Rare -- whose one success in the past decade was the retro throwback "Rare Replay" -- and plays like a misguided slog that should have been killed off early in the concept phase.

That "Sea of Thieves" is something of a shipwreck is all the more disappointing given the fact that Microsoft has drastically scaled back its first-party releases. The fact that the game disappoints means Xbox One owners continue to be marooned, while PS4 players have the likes of "God of War" to tide them over.

Clearly geared to serve as a multiplayer, meet-up-and-quest hub for seafaring, the servers have hit rough waters to begin with. Incessant lag and infrastructure failures have stranded players at sea, making it tough to join games. While some of the initial problems have been ironed out, the tattered fabric of the game is still far from patched up. When I started the game I had to close out and reboot it multiple times just to vault past a glitch in the loading screen.

Those who brave the high seas alone will find some rough currents stopping their progress, with little to sea and do and far too much time between interesting intervals. The game feels like a crude framework of an open-world saga that developers didn't get around to filling out with compelling interactions.

While there is some amusement to be had by taking to the high seas, anticipating the iterative battles, discoveries and trades to be had, the promise ends up empty. "Sea of Thieves" is lost amid the blue, with no rescue in sight.
Publisher provided review code.

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