It’s been little over a year since Rare’s Sea of Thieves released, and what a time it’s been. I think we can all agree that the game’s shared initial criticism was fair, being that content diversity was a notable drawback. Since then, however, Rare has been working around the clock and has delivered that much to the game, it’s hard not to respect their craft. The difference between its 2018 release version and the version we enjoy now, is practically night and day, and what’s more, Rare still has plenty coming to the game in the long run.
I recall the first time I logged in. Introduced to the outpost and with no restrictions in place, I stepped out of the tavern and was met with such a wondrous sight. The game’s rich, distinct, and vibrant visuals are a sheer marvel. I explored high and low in my first few weeks of play, bouncing from vendor to vendor in an attempt to keep the gameplay somewhat fresh. Though, before much longer, repetition eventually made an appearance and I was left with the realization that there’s just not that much else to get up to within.
Then, I learned of Rare’s post-launch support plans, and one by one, each content drop revitalized my interest in the game; typically bringing a wealth of new mechanics to the fields of play. The Hungering Deep, right through to Shrouded Spoils, everything Rare has accomplished so far is nothing short of outstanding. We’ve seen megalodon’s, skeleton ships, vast new areas of the map, new gameplay features, new mechanics, and several new ways to play the game, not to mention Rare’s many attempts at fine tuning functionality.
Though, even with all of that content in mind, none of it comes as close to the depth of content found in the game’s latest update; Anniversary. This update not only introduced a wealth of new features such as fishing, cooking, and much, much more, but it saw the introduction of Tall Tales and The Arena; a new story campaign and a PvP combat area, respectively. This update also served as a perfect way to introduce new vendors too, with a massive band of brand spanking new commendations to chase after for your troubles.
Essentially, this means that not only are there several new ways to play the game, but, there’s now several different methods to rely on when it comes to leveling up and reaching that fabled Pirate Legend status. Hopefully in due course we see Rare bolstering the endgame aspects of play, because that’s the only area that really needs to see something new and engaging for faithful players to take to. Though, even with that niggling issue in mind, there’s so much fun to be had elsewhere to keep you entertained in the meantime.
Tall Tales, for instance, offers several hours worth of campaign to work through, all of which are spread across multiple story chapters that sees you hunting for a mystical relic that will enable you to visit an area of the map that’s otherwise closed off. Along the way, you’ll be visiting trap-filled tombs, locating new hidden areas, and utilizing fascinating new features as you move through. I’ve worked through the majority of them, and I truly hope that Rare keeps the tone of these the same looking forward, they’re tense, and an absolute blast.
Fishing is equally as exciting. The game is now full of varying fish, all of which require different baits and conditions to obtain, with different versions of each species available for the taking. Once you’ve caught yourselves a nice catch, you can hand it in to the new vendor, or, cook your goods (as well as a range of other meat and veg) to enjoy a boost to your health bar. Cooked food can also be handed in at said vendor, and both fishing and cooking come with their own unique commendations that will have you going for hours.
If this isn’t enough to float your boat, then sinking another surely will. The Arena mode puts you straight into the action in competitive bouts of fun. This mode is separate to the Adventure mode, but is promised to grow and flourish alongside it. Here, you’ll be pit against other crews in all out warfare as you battle to appease yet another new vendor. I’ll admit, I wasn’t sold on the idea at first, but due to the fact that the Adventure mode is all the more calmer for it, and that Arena is a lot more fun than I thought, I’ve since converted.
On top of all that, a whole shed-load of quality of life improvements have made their way to shore; improved ship damage, harpoons being added to each ship type, new variations of enemies, and more besides. The harpoon alone is a huge game changer. Not only can you tag along for a ride on Meg, but you can save your buddies from the jaws of Karen, steal loot from the deck of an enemy ship, and even grapple onto rocks for a sharp turn. Curses! Did I mention curses? New ways to kit out your character to achieve some gorgeous results.
Fancy looking like a Gold Hoarder? Or, want to sport a look like The Order of Souls? Well, now you can, with some time and effort. I’ve been here through all of the content updates, and this is by far the best there has ever been. The bottom line in all of this? If you fell off the bandwagon last year, or didn’t get too invested at launch, Sea of Thieves is an entirely different beast these days. I couldn’t possible go over everything that’s been thrown in since March 20th of last year without keeping you here all day. It’s truly something special.
Rare’s clearly taken feedback on board, and they’re far from done yet. We already know that pets are due to arrive soon, alongside ship captaincy and some other tidbits for the high-end pirates to soak up and enjoy. What else will we be seeing down the lines? Hell if I know, but looking at Rare’s No Man’s Sky-like post launch support, I can only imagine what they’ve got cooking. The game just wont stop getting bigger and better, and I’m mega excited to see what sits in wait. Do you play? Will you return? Hit the comments below to get involved.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.