Reviews - Updated on April 15, 2022

The caricature pirate performance of Sea of ​​Thieves is believed and not believed at the same time – after No Man’s Sky, the gaming community is wary of premature praises of a beautiful picture. The value is in the gameplay, not the diamond bait for gullible pre-order lovers. The British studio Rare was in no hurry to reveal details during the 21-month development cycle. But attention to the project still forced me to talk about the final concept for the New Year celebrations.

We will spend a significant part of the time on land, collecting pieces of treasure maps and completing exciting quests.

Sea of ​​Thieves is a cross-platform (Xbox One and Windows 10) filibuster adventure set in a vast, seamless world with massive multiplayer. In search of treasure, we plunge into quests, battles on sailboats and exploration of the islands. The developers call it all succinctly – shared world adventure game, or SWAG.

The traditional “single” with a storyline was eventually abandoned. Even computer opponents will be served exclusively according to peculiar algorithms (as part of tasks). And ship duels are only provided for with people. Lead designer Mike Chapman said in an interview with VentureBeat that playing without a group of friends is not forbidden: “We invite you to become the pirate of your dreams. If you want to be alone and roam the open spaces on a small one-man vessel, then we will give you this. We aim to create a cooperative adventure, but do not want to limit the actions of those who choose to get lost in our world.”

However, a lonely sea wolf will not be able to fully enjoy the process. Without the help of companions, only a small tartan with one sail, a falconet and a windlass (anchor winch) can be controlled. A frigate or galleon will require the simultaneous efforts of the navigator, sailor, and gunners. What did you think? How successful Jack Sparrow was, but even he was equipped with a “Striking” by a whole team!

The design of Sea of ​​Thieves makes you strive to unite or create your own gang of robbers. Each crew member does not have a computer substitution. Forget the dry “so many hired, so many dead” stats from Corsairs and other pirate life simulations. The same applies to skirmishes at sea – there is always a real person at the helm of the ship.

It is not yet clear how things are with the population of the map. It is described as truly gigantic – it will take more than eight hours to explore the borders. It was created by hand. The area is reminiscent of a tropical paradise with blue oceans and palm-fringed Caribbean islands. Often the world is presented as the ruins of ancient civilizations in the midst of dense thickets of the continental coast or regions with barren desert and labyrinths of caves. Often there are unusual buildings on the shallows, like a tavern on a wrecked ship.

In special zones, a ban on PvP skirmishes has been established. A kind of security outpost to show off the loot, make a deal, enlist friendly support or make an enemy. Sometimes there are difficult and dangerous missions. Then the flotilla united from several ships takes over. By the way, for a lone pirate on a tartan, this is an ideal moment to quietly sit on the tail of such an expedition and steal hard-earned treasures behind everyone’s back. That’s why you should carefully hide the “loot”.

A glorious pirate tradition is to wait for someone to get the treasure, and quietly steal the chest behind everyone’s back.

Any tasks in Sea of ​​Thieves are full of interesting stories in the image of Pirates of the Burning Sea, only without “pumping” (role-playing elements are absent for general equality). Goals are achieved in one session, maximum three. There are also unusual quests like a secret note in a bottle or a legend told by a mermaid. But there is no central plot.

The reward for the successful completion of the mission is always the same – the treasure. The entire economy relies on the values ​​and artifacts from the chest. This includes upgrading ships and wardrooms, buying weapons, equipping the character, dealing with partners, and repairing damage. Dine in local taverns and go shopping in densely populated cities is also worth gold. Rare curiosities leave themselves for bragging sake – the developers have provided animations for demonstrating gems in their hands, juggling with pistols, drinking alcohol from mugs and other panache. In case of death, all the loot disappears, and the mermaid-savior puts the sunken vessel on the water.

There are also elements of “customization” in the loot. By killing the monstrous kraken, the brave captain will receive a tooth to decorate a hat and a skin to make a cloak. Radical changes in the image are also provided – for example, instead of a limb taken away in battle, players put a hook or a cleaver from an old musket on the character. Sailboats carry armor made from the bones of defeated monsters (and skeletons), and weapons are crafted from the metals of existing ore mines. Generally speaking, the origin of things in Sea of ​​Thieves is always explained by something.

Only live players participate in battles at sea.

Rare is building a sandbox that encourages the exploits of Captain Blood and the antics of Jack Sparrow. The free world, a lot of stories, treasures and a pirate lifestyle – this is the foundation of the project of British developers. Add to that the feeling of anxiety when approaching an unknown ship and enchanting fights with a detailed ballistic model. Despite the comical style, gusts of wind, wave roll, rigging, ship hull damage effects, slow flooding and much more are simulated in detail.

Three-dimensional clouds (they can even take the form of a skull) for an incredibly cool weather system, captivating landscape rendering using Unreal Engine 4 technologies – the graphic part follows the best art ideas. In addition to artists, sound designers also try to add charm to filibuster adventures. When you’re expecting a fight or camping around a campfire, shanty songs are played along with a fun animation of musical instruments strumming, just like in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

The life of a pirate is full of surprises. And fantasy characters are indispensable.

***

Extinguishes delight only fear. Of course, we really miss the nautical theme in the AAA segment. New “Corsairs” are not expected. The epic action game Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned sank into oblivion six years ago. Naval Action and Man O’ War: Corsair – Warhammer Naval Battles are too far from release. All other attempts to set sail are hardly noticeable when the sea is calm. And here is the “Black Pearl” Sea of ​​Thieves with an intriguing concept and a beautiful wrapper! The wind seems to have changed. But did the developers take the right course, abandoning the single-player mode and relying on team play? But what if the cooperation of the crew in a joint venture is stifled in the bud by low population or the same “trolls”? Rare has not yet created a mechanism for collaboration between users, and the release is just around the corner.

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