SEA OF THIEVES

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - START - Daniella Lucas

It’s been over six months since Rare set sail with its fun take on be­ing a buc­ca­neer, so it felt like the right time to re­dis­cover my sea legs and break out some shanties, es­pe­cially af­ter the ad­di­tion of a whole new area in the shape of the For­saken Shores. It’s been a while since I last played so I de­cide to stick to a sin­gle-player sloop so I don’t em­bar­rass my­self in a crew set­ting – only the chick­ens can judge me.

It takes a few at­tempts to get back into the rhythm of pop­ping down to nav­i­gate where I am on the map com­pared to where I’m steer­ing. I opt for a few sim­ple trea­sure map runs to dip my toes into these bright wa­ters and get used to ev­ery­thing again. It’s sur­pris­ing how fast I find my sea­far­ing con­fi­dence – be­fore I know it I’m dili­gently zip­ping around my tiny ship at­tend­ing to can­nons and leaks like I’d never been away. The joy of the wind fully be­ing in my sails and the waves play­fully bounc­ing around me re­minds me why I loved this game orig­i­nally.

How­ever, that pleas­ant re­lax­ation is quickly re­placed with wide-eyed hor­ror and dis­be­lief as I ven­ture to­wards The Devil’s Roar – the brand new vol­canic area that’s been added in the For­saken

Shores ex­pan­sion. For starters, play­ing solo here is a mis­take – you’ll be get­ting in­cred­i­bly well ac­quainted with the cap­tain of the Ferry of the Damned. Af­ter be­ing boiled alive twice be­fore I learn my les­son, I jump ship from my sloop and join some oth­ers. We do the smart thing and prep our­selves with ex­tra bananas and a newly added row boat to avoid our skin melt­ing off in the fu­ture. Hot stuff While we sail over to hunt for our first chest we see an­other ship in the dis­tance, though there’s no hint of them want­ing to come over for a

“The joy of the wind fully be­ing in my sails re­minds me why I loved this game orig­i­nally”

fight – with so much new con­tent now ev­ery­one is fo­cused on their own quests rather than blow­ing holes in your hull. When we reach our des­ti­na­tion we all awk­wardly cram our­selves into our tiny raft mak­ing for a glo­ri­ously ridicu­lous sight – three burly sailors stuffed in at one end while one poor soul does all of the work at the other.

Sur­pris­ingly things are go­ing smoothly: we man­age to lo­cate the right spot pretty quickly with min­i­mal squab­bling and only a few skele­tons to con­tend with. It’s go­ing so well I worry that maybe this ex­pan­sion is dis­ap­point­ingly more of the same, but as soon as we get back to our ship all hell breaks loose as a nearby is­land starts spew­ing heated rocks and lava at us. At first we marvel at the gor­geous light show as we lower the sails, but awe turns to ter­ror as one of the rocks hits the boat. The sheer heat from the im­pact burns ev­ery­one on board, mak­ing health bars drop dan­ger­ously low. Ev­ery­one pan­ics.

The water gush­ing in is also su­per heated and burns all who step into it for too long. Two un­for­tu­nate crew suc­cumb straight away while I fran­ti­cally bail from the edge. I’m not fast enough though, we man­age to fix two holes, but as an­other rock hits us I fall into dark­ness. When I awake it’s alone at sea, the ship and our trea­sure gone.

Even­tu­ally I just hear cack­ling in my head­set, “Well, that didn’t go as ex­pected.” The laugh­ing con­tin­ues as we respawn the ship. No rage quit­ting or fuss, just a solid crew de­ter­mined to try again. I find my­self hooked once more: it’s the ca­ma­raderie in chaos that makes Sea Of Thieves so great.

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