During E3 2017, DualShockers’ staff writers Azario Lopez, Logan Moore, Tomas Franzese, and Noah Buttner went hands-on with Rare’s upcoming Sea of Thieves. The four-person crew suited up and took to the open seas in hopes of finding treasure and excitement. What they discovered is that they might in fact be the worst pirates ever, but that didn’t stop them from having an amazing time in this open-watery world.
Azario: The first thing I wanted to yell when jumping into Sea of Thieves and seeing the DualShockers crew on our ship’s deck was, “Come on boys, we’re going on an adventure!” The game provides a unique type of immersion the moment you pick up the control and you immediately feel the need to play the role of pirate.
Noah: To think, the four of us were sailing around the ocean, looking for islands with treasure, avoiding rocks, all while other pirate crews were out there in the blue beyond just waiting to plunder us. The game doesn’t make traversing the most beautifully rendered ocean I’ve ever seen easy either: you need each crew member to be controlling a different part of the ship. Someone needs to steer, another needs to watch for land from the crow’s nest, someone can man the cannons, and someone has to patch up the inevitable holes in the ship.
Tomas: I was surprised by how involved and dynamic it all was. I took the role of captain, so I had to steer the ship towards our destination. My vision was impaired by the sails, but I knew the island we were heading to was Northwest, so I had to use the compass to aim the ship in direction. It’s a level of involvement you don’t often see in games, but it felt quite fitting for one with pirates.
Logan: You weren’t a great captain though. As soon as we raised anchor to set sail you ran directly into a rock. Nice going, cap’n.
Noah: When Tomas was heading straight for a rock, Azario, Logan, and I were screaming “Left!” at the top of our lungs.
Azario: To be honest, I feel like it might have been my fault that we ran into the rock. I was hanging out in the crow’s nest and was distracted by the horizon behind us. My bad.
Logan: To maybe explain a bit more about what our mission was, we started off with a treasure map in our possession that clued us in to an island that we should travel to. After consulting our sea chart in the lower deck of our ship, we set sail in the direction of our supposed treasure. And that’s when we hit the rock.
Azario: It was at this moment that we clearly hadn’t earned our Jolly Roger. In a matter of minutes, I jumped off the crow’s nest into the deep blue sea, as Noah and Logan became intoxicated. Sadly, my crew left me for dead.
Noah: Logan and I drank too much grog the moment we learned how to and Azario, completely sober, fell overboard while Tomas stared at us disappointingly. In many ways, I felt as if our experience in Sea of Thieves mirrored our collective experience at E3 2017.
Tomas: Fortunately I stopped and Azario was able to get back on the ship after about a minute of swimming, and we continued our voyage to the island. It was smooth sailing (pun intended) from there. Once we reached the island, I had someone shoot me out of a cannon onto the island.
Logan: That was honestly one of the funniest parts of this demo to me. Throwing your crewmates into a cannon and shooting them either onto an enemy ship or onto land is a nice little Rare-like touch to Sea of Thieves. Of course, because I was the one launching everyone out of the cannons, that meant that I had to swim to the island by myself.
Azario: Exploring the island with only a riddle to guide us added the right amount of difficulty to cause us some confusion without making us feel stupid. I could only imagine what the other riddles would ask of players.
Noah: We dug up the chest, fought off some skeletons with our muskets, and made our way back to the ship. Opening the chest would require us to sail to an outpost nearby: all the while remaining in danger from other pirates or the chest itself.
Tomas: This is where my one problem with what we played of Sea of Thieves arose. While Noah, Logan, and Azario manned the ship, I was tasked with guarding the chest, as it supposedly could sabotage us on our way back. Unfortunately, this never happened so I was just stuck standing around the last couple minutes of our demo. I am worried that there will be periods in the game where certain crew members won’t have anything to do, making the experience realistic, albeit boring for them.
Logan: Yeah, as much as I enjoyed our mission together I really see this game as only being truly enjoyable if you have a crew to play with. I also had some reservations with the combat in the game, but I understand that engaging in combat is by no means the main part of the experience. Thankfully, Sea of Thieves played much better than I anticipated as the gameplay videos that I had watched up until our demo hadn’t sold me on the experience.
Azario: There’s a possibility that some players might have trouble with finding things to do, but in the case of our adventure, I thought we made a fine crew of rookie pirates on our first voyage with many more planned.
Tomas: The water also looked amazing!
Noah: Azario could tell you first hand Tom. I think the game has the potential to recreate a pirate experience, while also making sure you and your crew have a blast. I would’ve loved to have been able to engage in ship-to-ship combat in our demo but alas, the expansive map makes player-vs-player encounters rare, and as such, more satisfying when it does occur. I can only imagine the shenanigans that will transpire in the full game.
Logan: All I know is that you guys better play with me when Sea of Thieves releases. But maybe when that time comes we won’t let Tomas be captain again. Just an idea.
Sea of Thieves is currently set to release for Xbox One and PC sometime in early 2018.