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Shiver me timbers

Updated on: 03 March,2024 07:15 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Jaison Lewis |

Who doesn’t want to be Captain Hook? Ubisoft’s latest game, Skull and Bones, lets you play out as a pirate. Is it an arggh or a jolly yo ho ho and a bottle of rum?

Shiver me timbers

Skull and Bones

Skull and Bones
Rating: 3.5/5
Developer: Ubisoft 
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PC, XBO, PS5
Price: Rs 4,999

Most of us have played pirates as children or dwelled in fantasy with TV shows such as Black Sails, Treasure Island and One Piece. So a game where you can be a pirate just sounds like the best thing ever. Ubisoft spent many years bringing this fantasy to reality with Skull and Bones. It is a game where you can be an up-and-coming pirate who has to face the challenges of the high seas. Collecting booty, upgrading your ship, blowing rivals out of the water, and taking care of your eccentric pet are just some of your duties.

Shanties on the sea

Ubisoft has done a great job with the music. The original score and the shanties set the right piratey vibe. You will find yourself singing along to the sea shanties as you make your way through the Indian Ocean with your ragtag loyal crew. You might even be tempted to cue them up on your favourite music service, just in case you are looking for the artiste, The Busking Barnacles is what you are searching for. You can thank me later. Overall, though Skull and Bones gets many elements right, it is no Assassin’s Creed Black Flag that some players might be expecting, but it does enough to stand out on its own. Ubisoft is also letting everyone play the full game for a limited time, which gives you a chance to try it before you buy it. The truth is that the game has enough of a base to improve over time and get more fun. Sure, the missions and the story are nothing to write home about, but the on-water gameplay is solid enough to get you hooked for a while. This is not a game for everyone, but since you can play it before you buy it, I would suggest doing just that before forking over your cash to Ubisoft.

Gather ‘round for a tale of the sea

The game starts with you marooned on a tiny island with other pirates, and you have to complete a few tasks to receive a map that can let you escape the island with your tiny crew. The initial location serves as a nice tutorial where you can try firing canons, killing sea beasts and navigating with boats. It’s a nice introduction to the game, but it does take a while to get used to. Once done, you begin your life as captain of the pirate ship. The overarching storyline is a little thin and frankly, not much attention has been given to its quality. It is a bit disappointing because pirates must have great stories, and Ubisoft’s inability to tell a good one through an immersive medium is one of the big disappointments of Skull and Bones. The game has very little to do on land, other than using merchants and artisans and maybe interacting with a few elements.  The game  happens on the sea and in an interesting twist, you can also farm resources in Skull and Bones. That in itself is an interesting mini-game.

Scufflin’ with scallywags

The best part is that you can play with any of your friends across platforms regardless of whether they are on PC, Xbox or PlayStation. The game is also mostly PVE (Player versus Enemy), which means you can collaborate with other players around for a fuller experience taking down common enemies. There are occasional events where you can destroy other players, which are fun as well. The seafaring combat is also the best part of Skull and Bones. The controls  take a little getting used to, but once that is out of the way, the actual exploring, combat and navigating is majorly fun. You can loot stray merchant ships, terrorise trade routes and build bigger ships with more powerful weapons. There is a grind to building all this, but there is a sense of satisfaction when you achieve it. The grind, however, is not all that fun; it involves a lot of repeat mission types and that can get annoying.

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