Sea of Thieves

Review: Sea of Thieves on PlayStation 5

Sea of Thieves is a Treasure on the PS5

Sea of Thieves is Rare’s first game to be published on a PlayStation console, and I have to say it’s about time. I grew up with games like Battletoads, Donkey Kong Country, and Banjo-Kazooie and was always puzzled why they didn’t come to PlayStation before Microsoft purchased Rare in 2002. When Microsoft announced Sea of Thieves was coming to PlayStation, I was glad to see how much PlayStation players were excited to play it.

My first time playing Sea of Thieves was on the Xbox Series X launch day, and I instantly fell in love with the game. I want to get that bias out of the way right off the start, as I genuinely like the game and have been eagerly waiting for it to come to PlayStation since the announcement. This won’t be your typical review because Sea of Thieves launched on the Xbox in 2018 and has had many updates since then as it’s a live service game. I will discuss my jumping back into Sea of Thieves, how it felt, the gameplay loop, and Dual Sense functionality, as it is a differentiator over the Xbox version. Sea of Thieves is not the first Xbox Game Studio game to come to the PS5, but it is undoubtedly the most highly anticipated. Hi-Fi Rush, Grounded, and Pentiment recently launched on the PS5, initially advertised as an Xbox exclusive. The pre-orders for Sea of Thieves are the highest that Xbox Games studios have seen on the PS5, and hopefully, more of them will be ported over to the PS5.

Sea of Thieves Is Charming

Sailing back into the world of Sea of Thieves took some getting used to regaining my sea legs, but it wasn’t too long before I found treasure and sailed the high seas. Turning on Sea of Thieves on the PS5 asks you to log into your Xbox account, a seamless and quick process. Once in the game, you can create your pirate, but this has always been a sore spot for me as your pirate is randomly generated. However, the pirate I used last on Xbox did populate. I wish they would allow us to customize our portfolio with more than just clothes and wearables in some future updates. My achievements started to populate as trophies when I started the game, but they still haven’t all popped as of writing this. One cool feature was that they would pop up there as I acquired trophies in the Xbox game for which I didn’t have achievements. I got notifications on my Xbox account telling me I had gotten new achievements while playing on the PS5. I decided to get a refresher on the game since I hadn’t played it in a few years.

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It was like riding a bike as I quickly remembered how to navigate the world in the Sea of Thieves. I explored the island a bit to get my bearings and to look around because I had forgotten how good Sea of Thieves looked. The graphics in the game may be a bit cartoonish, but they’re perfect for Sea of Thieves. The colours are vibrant, and you can only feel the sun’s heat while walking on the beach. The level design in Sea of Thieves is memorable and makes you feel like you’re on an amusement park ride created by Disney. The DualSense adds a new sense of immersion, as you can feel it as you pull the trigger on the pistol or hear the wind coming out of the middle speaker. These may seem minor, but anything that adds to the fun is always welcome.

My first adventure was playing solo, which you can do, but Sea of Thieves excels with playing multiplayer with your friends. I got on my ship and set sail on an adventure to find treasure and get some gold. As I got out into the seas, I remembered how amazing the water was in the Sea of Thieves and how hard sailing solo was. I had to raise the anchor, lower the sails, and steer the ship. I was smart enough to read all my cannons on the boat just in case I ran into trouble. You can choose from sailing the high seas to sailing the safer seas, which have their plus and minuses.

If you decide to sail the high seas, you earn total rewards in the Sea of Thieves multiplayer experience. You can sail alone or with friends and even other players playing the game. If you decide on safer seas, you can play solo or in co-op, but the rewards are reduced, and it has limited features. If you’re new to the game and don’t have anyone to jump into it right away, I recommend safer seas so you can get your sea legs.

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I didn’t have my ship yet, so I rented a boat to start my adventure. The more you play, the more you earn. You earn currency that can be used to purchase items, including a boat. With any live service game, there is a shop called the Pirate Emporium where you can buy cosmetics, pets, and items for your ship to decorate. They also offer a Plunder Pass, which is the cost of ancient coins that help you earn extra rewards in the season pass. Now, you can purchase these coins with real money, but you can also find them in the game, but they’re not easy to find. Remember that these items you can purchase don’t help you win the game, so it does not pay to win. Everything is purely cosmetic and is up to you if you want them or not.

A lot of time can be earned from completing events, trials, season progress, or Twitch drops. Your goal in the game is to get loot and trade it in for goods, all while not being killed by other pirates looking to take that loot. The mission and content are free, like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Legend of Monkey Island, and hopefully, some new collaborations. Playing solo, though, can become tiresome and genuinely isn’t in the spirit of what the game is about. To get the whole experience of Sea of Thieves, you need to play it with friends or some shipmates, not solo. I completed several trials that required me to trade rewards in one of many ports worldwide. I am still in awe of how good the water looks in Sea of Thieves because Rare has made it almost real.

Xbox Canada was kind enough to provide the code for this review and invited me to play Sea of Thieves with a Rare developer. I was lucky enough to play my first co-op experience with Joe Neate, the executive producer of Sea of Thieves.

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Joe guided me through getting my sea legs back in co-op and reminded me how much fun it is to play with others. We battled ghost ships, and I almost died a couple of times during that, let me tell you, but it was part of the fun. We’re telling each other to repair the ship as we talk on the water, and the ghost ships attack us relentlessly. Joe is a higher-level player, so we played the game on a higher difficulty, which added to the challenge. I even learned that you can put your pet in a cannon and shoot it into almost anything, including the side of a mountain. We had so many laughs digging up treasure on the islands, fighting skeletons, and ensuring I didn’t die.

It would be best if you worked as a team to accomplish your goals in Sea of Thieves because everyone on the ship matters, and all have a role to play. As I bailed out water, one person was steering the ship as the other manned the cannons, firing upon our enemies. I learned from Joe how excited the team over at Rare was when they discovered the game was coming to PS5 and that it would be the first Rare game to come to PlayStation. They made a game they wanted everyone to enjoy, which you can feel while playing. Sea of Thieves is such a popular game in the Xbox eco-system, and I feel it has a lot to do with how much fun it is to play with friends and how easy the gameplay loop is to learn. As a kid, who didn’t think about getting buried treasure or pretending you’re a member of the Goonies?

With the launch of Season 12 bringing so many new gameplay techniques to Sea of Thieves, Rare couldn’t have picked a better time to launch it on the PS5. In season 12, they have added zip lines, new weapons, owls, plus another 100 levels of renown. The guns are double-barrel pistols and throwing knives, to name a few, and I honestly can’t wait to start season 12 and try out the new features. Check the video for all the latest being added to season 12 of Sea of Thieves. I will try out everything Season 12 offers and give my full thoughts on Console Creatures in the future.

Verdict

Sea of Thieves isn’t just a game I was looking forward to playing on the PS5. It’s a game I’m excited to play with my daughter. You can have one person on PS5 and another on Xbox and play seamlessly. My gaming tastes have changed as I have gotten older, and so has my daughter. When this was announced, my first thought was that I would share the fun with my daughter. I have had way too much fun being a kid again playing Sea of Thieves, and I can’t wait to see where my imagination and my daughter’s imagination take us playing it.

Sea of Thieves can be whatever the player wants, which is part of the game’s magic. Sure, you can play the DLC content if those missions are the same, but how you complete those missions will always be your experience. So, if you see me online and I have room in my crew, please join me on my adventure, and let’s have some fun.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Sea of Thieves
Review: Sea of Thieves on PlayStation 5
Summary
Sea of Thieves can be whatever the player wants, which is part of the game's magic.
Liked
Playing with friends and co-op
Smooth gameplay
DualSense functionality
Didn't Like
Playing solo is not recommended
Combat controls are clunky