I don’t get it. It seems like these days any time a new game comes out there is always that group of “professionals” who do anything to downplay it. With the advent of social media, it has taken on a whole new level of insanity and it’s making me want to hate this industry more than ever before.
I give you this week’s case study: Sea of Thieves, an online based pirate themed game on Xbox One and PC. I admit I didn’t have much interest in this game to begin with. You all know me, I’m more of a single player gamer and don’t really get much into playing with others online, mostly because of the griefers that ruin the experience for others.
But Microsoft did something smart with its release. Not only is it available for the usual $60 physical and digital purchase, but it is one of the first games that would be available via Xbox Game Pass at launch. With saying that, I’m going to provide a disclaimer. I have not played much of Sea of Thieves, maybe about three or four hours of single player just to get a feel of how the game plays. I have yet to try an online experience with others due to other review and testing commitments, let alone my full-time job. In addition, I did not pay $60 for the game as I am a Game Pass subscriber.
But with that out of the way, let me go over my experience with the game, and what it feels like the most to me. Learning how to control my tiny sloop by myself was a learning curve in itself, but over time I realized that travel is pretty slow and tedious. It reminds me a lot of doing supercruise in Elite Dangerous, only there is no autopilot functionality. Everything must be controlled manually, from navigating my ship to going back to the map to plot my course, using my spyglass to make sure I am heading to the right location. It ended up becoming a bit daunting by myself. All I had to worry about in Elite Dangerous was either my ship being pulled in via interdiction or to slow down to safely jump out of supercruise unless I want to literally skip past my destination and have to turn around (which was a pain in itself.)
That’s where the multiplayer feature of Sea of Thieves comes into play. From what I’ve seen on Mixer, Twitch, and on my friend’s YouTube pages, communication is vital between your shipmates. This truly is a multiplayer sandbox where if you have a crew of gamers you get along with, you will have a good time. But by yourself, it will get very tedious.
But of course, the latter is what the mainstream gaming press want to jump onto. Aside from one column I read that had a reasonable description of Sea of Thieves as a “pen and paper RPG” along with having the same ties to Elite Dangerous as I mentioned above, there were those who just want to claim that people spent $60 on 10 percent of a game (though I did mention above about how I got it through Game Pass) and even worse, how this game is the Xbox’s equivalent of No Man’s Sky, even using the very original title of “No Man’s Sea.”
I’m guessing they’ll need to find a new unoriginal name to come up with now that No Man’s Sky was announced today as coming to the Xbox One X as well.
Look, I’m not going to deny that there is very little to do in Sea of Thieves so far, and if I did pay $60 for it I might feel a little bit jaded. But look at other titles that launched with very little material, cost $60 at launch, and then were able to expand further than the initial release. Street Fighter V is a perfect example of that. Elite Dangerous (though it originally was available at $40 as a Game Preview title) added multiple seasons and features such as PowerPlay, Horizons, Arena, The Return, and the Beyond expansions. Even the previously mentioned No Man’s Sky received three free massive updates (Foundations, Pathfinder, and Atlas Rising in addition to an upcoming fourth update that will be included in the Xbox version.) I’m pretty confident that Sea of Thieves is going to follow down this same path, so for all those who want to just write it off already, relax guys!
Besides, how is Sea of Thieves considered a failure when it had two million new sales that did not include Game Pass? I’d consider that quite a success.
But…that’s the gaming industry for you. They always must find a way to ruin the fun for everyone else.
Currently Playing: RBI 18 (Xbox One X,) DOOM 2016 (Xbox One X Enhanced Version)
Waiting For: Far Cry 5