Skull and Bones Review: A Pirate’s Life Missing Some Essentials

Good graphics
Engaging naval combat
Economic simulation is decent
Thin storyline
Can get repetitive
More arcade than RPG

Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones has endured a tumultuous journey to its long-awaited launch, punctuated by delays and shifting design concepts. Despite its turbulent development, this seafaring RPG manages to chart a course worth exploring, offering players an engaging blend of naval combat, cooperative gameplay, and economic simulation set against the backdrop of the 17th-century Indian Ocean.

As a player, you’ll assume the role of a pirate captain, commanding your ship through treacherous waters in search of plunder and infamy. Whether sailing solo or teaming up with fellow buccaneers, Skull and Bones presents a rich open world ripe for exploration and exploitation.

The Indian Ocean serves as a sprawling sandbox, inviting players to embark on daring heists and engage in tactical naval skirmishes. The game’s RPG mechanics allow for extensive customization and specialization, fostering a sense of camaraderie as players collaborate to enhance their vessels and overcome formidable challenges.

At the heart of Skull and Bones lies its naval combat system, which offers a strategic and adrenaline-fueled experience. Engagements with enemy ships demand careful planning and coordination, rewarding players who master the art of maneuvering and firepower.

Whether engaging in PvE encounters or PvP skirmishes, the thrill of battle is ever-present, amplified by the game’s immersive visual and auditory presentation. However, despite its strengths, Skull and Bones is not without its shortcomings, as performance issues and bugs occasionally mar the experience, detracting from an otherwise polished gameplay loop.

While Skull and Bones excels in its maritime gameplay, its narrative elements leave much to be desired. The game’s storyline, centered around a few major NPCs, feels sparse and underdeveloped, lacking the depth and complexity expected of a AAA title.

Dialogues with characters such as Captain John Spurlock and Admiral Rahma fail to leave a lasting impression, serving primarily as conduits for missions and quests rather than catalysts for immersive storytelling.

Consequently, players may find themselves yearning for a more compelling narrative framework to complement the game’s robust gameplay mechanics.

The voice acting can be a bit strange. While the accents can be considered authentic and native to the area, the script is not in line with the local dialect, causing a mismatch.

As players progress through Skull and Bones, they’ll encounter a variety of endgame activities aimed at prolonging the experience beyond the main campaign. These include PvP events such as Hostile Takeover and Legendary Heists, which inject a welcome dose of competition and unpredictability into the gameplay.

However, the endgame suffers from a lack of diversity in activities, leading to repetitive and grindy gameplay loops. Additionally, technical issues, such as crashes and erroneous notifications, detract from the overall stability and enjoyment of the endgame experience.

Skull and Bones offers a promising yet imperfect voyage across the high seas of the Indian Ocean. Its engaging naval combat, cooperative gameplay mechanics, and expansive open world provide ample opportunities for adventure and camaraderie.

However, shortcomings such as a thin narrative, repetitive endgame content, and technical instability prevent it from reaching its full potential. Nevertheless, with a robust live-service roadmap promising future updates and content additions, Skull and Bones sets sail on a promising journey, poised to evolve and improve over time.

As it stands, Ubisoft’s seafaring RPG offers a compelling glimpse into a world of piracy and plunder, inviting players to embark on their own swashbuckling adventures amidst the waves.