I’m a huge fan of Rare. Particularly when it came to the Viva Pinata franchise. I realize Viva Pinata is probably not the game you guys were thinking of but what can I say? I’m a millennial. I’m kidding… I also love It’s Mr Pants. I had high expectations going into Sea of Thieves. I think we all did. But I didn’t quite expect what we got. I understand it was marketed to somewhat simulate the experience of being a pirate along with a party of friends. However, it does not succeed in being a “pirate” game. It succeeds in being a party multiplayer game. And even that is limited to a varying amount of experiences.
When humans began romanticizing the pirate life; it was more than just the experience of coordinating with your party on how to steer a boat. It’s more than following maps, digging up treasure and fighting skeletons. And I understand it’s more of a sandbox kind of game with the main idea being that you ally yourself with different crews and eventually break ties with them by blowing up their hull and stealing their part of the treasure. But how many times can you do that before realizing that there’s no reason to do any of it. How much fun can a short experience be when said experience amounts to nothing.
I get it. “The journey is more important than the destination” but why take the journey when there is no destination? Some might argue that the destination is the ‘cosmetics’. If that’s all your journey amounts to then you might as well just go clothes shopping. But even if the journey is… Fun for a little while it does not feel like a pirate’s journey. Yeah, we’re sailing a ship but back to the idea of how pirates were romanticized: the icon of what being a pirate means is a sign of rebellion. If you’re a pirate it’s not only because you chose a pirate life. It’s because you’re rebelling against the orthodox ways of society. You’re willing to take the risks of being a pirate because the safe life of working under a government is one that’s both boring and slow. You want to live rich in your prime not when you’re old and gray. That’s the chosen lifestyle of a pirate. What happens when there is no government? Are we rebels? Are we thieves? Or are we just playing a multiplayer action game that just happens to have ships loaded with cannons?
This isn’t to put down Rare. I think they did some amazing things with this game. First of all, it looks fucking gorgeous. There’s no way anyone can look at the game and think it looks bad. It’s just unspeakably beautiful. I think the combat was done really well albeit limited due to the fact that the only enemies are skeletons, a few snakes that may or may not attack you and a kraken that was ultimately disappointing. Oh and sharks. Just as always, rare does a lot of small stuff that spices up the simplicity of that combat. Like making different kinds of mechanics such as splashing water on gold skeletons to slow them down. Shining light on the ghastly skeletons to make them physically manifest so that you can attack them. Beyond that, the conversation stops. Not much else is included in the game. I’m actually surprised they didn’t do much with the ghost ship other than making it the place you wait to respawn. You can experience it all in one sitting. Overall, it’s a fun experience. But an extremely short one.