You will either love Sea of Thieves and have loads of fun with it or you’ll find it dull and repetitive and everyone you run into in it will be an unhelpful prick. Your opinion may change over several months. Days even. It may happen in the space of an hour.
The letter that exec producer Joe Neate sent out with the game said, ‘We set out with a vision to make a multiplayer game that broke down barriers between players, that encouraged players to be co-operative, to bond together, and to embrace the positivity of social interaction,’ which is a very nice but very optimistic sentiment on Rare’s part. In practise Sea of Thieves works exactly like any other PvP game with teams: people on your team will generally work well together either because you already know one another or because you have to get shit done, but literally anyone else is fair game and We Will Destroy Your Tiny Boat Because It’s Slightly In Our Way And We Can. Diplomacy in Sea of Thieves is conducted via the explodey end of a cannon, for the most part. Either that or frantically playing your accordion in as unthreatening a way possible.
There are a lot of lovely Rare-esque touches in Sea of Thieves. You can play your accordion or hurdy gurdy with others and the song layers up differently depending how many of either instrument there are. The songs sound all clangy if you’re underwater or off-key when drunk (you can get drunk and throw up). Treasure map clues and achievement descriptions are all in authentically piratey rhyming couplets, pigs make amazing pig squealing noises and skeletons eat bananas to recover health, just like you do. The wonderful wrenching noise the ship makes when you drop anchor and are moving too fast is like a violin being played with a bread knife. The world design is beautifully colourful, with bright green trees and grass on white sandy beaches, and the sky ranging from a stormy blue and purple bruise to clear blue sunshine to a pink and orange sunset not unlike a giant Fruit Salad chewy sweet looking upon the water with beneficence.