Hands on with Sea of Thieves – PAX Aus 2017

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“Land ho!” I called out to my shipmates. There be treasure avast me hearties, and it was up to this guy and a crew of three other scallywags to locate it. (Sidenote: I’m already tired of the pirate speak so we’ll be dropping that now).

Personally, it was kind of a cool moment trying out Sea of Thieves at PAX Australia. The open world pirate game was one of the first upcoming titles that I covered for LoadScreen when it was announced at E3 2015. What made it even cooler was playing the game on an actual ship, the Polly Woodside, which is docked conveniently outside the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.

Actual ships aside, manning a virtual ship in Sea of Thieves feels pretty cool at first, but the novelty soon wears off if you were like me and not holding down a solid position. There’s a few interesting things you can do on a ship in the game, such as steer, read the treasure map to navigate, and lower/angle the sails for optimum speed. However, when those three distinct positions are filled and you’re the odd one out, you’re left to stand in the birds nest and let your squad mates know where land is, and I’m under no illusions that they couldn’t also see it but were just humoring me.

If only this were me…

It’s obvious that cooperation is essential for this game to work. When we finally located the treasure laden island and pulled our ship into the docks, we couldn’t figure out how to drop anchor efficiently and ended up ramming into a cliff and sinking it. Yay? But hey, we made it to the island, so next in order was locating the treasure. One squad member had the map, so could either describe where it was to us or hold up the map for us to see. It’s something that will be easier with friends once you have the game’s mechanics down, but with a group of strangers playing a game for the first time was a little tricky.

Whilst we struggled to read the map and be good sea bois, we had to fight off waves of skeletons. These enemies were pretty easy to take out with the blunderbuss, pistol and sword in your inventory. And yes, when you take damage you can eat bananas with the skin completely on like a complete psychopath, just like in the E3 video from earlier in the year.

WHY?!

Once we returned to a safe island with the chest in tow, we celebrated with some grog. Necking drinks in the game was kinda fun, especially since your character becomes absolutely hammered after one tankard. Add a couple more into the mix and you’ve got a good recipe for chunder, and the vomit noises in game were pretty great, as were the pools of vomit. To make the party even better you can also jam with an accordion and make sweet music with your shipmates.

To sum this all up, I hadn’t planned on discussing vomit, and would have loved to discuss more of the game’s features, but in a 30 minute demo there’s only so much I can control, and in this case most of my playtime was standing around on a ship, eating bananas skin and all, and then vomiting up booze.

But still, under the surface there seems to be quite a lot of appeal with Sea of Thieves, the mechanics I got to play around with were simple enough, and the appeal of the game as a casual experience with friends seems promising. Just make sure you call dibs on steering early on.

Sea of Thieves is due for release on Xbox One and Windows 10 in early 2018.

Vomit on Twitter with Charlie @clbraith, and don’t forget to follow LoadScreen on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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