PSA: Skull and Bones may or may not meet your expectations

What is this game trying to be?
Skull And Bones November Release Date Trailer
Image: Ubisoft

It’s no secret that Skull and Bones has had a 10-year-long identity crisis during its development. But with the latest open beta, we’ve got a better picture of what this game is trying to be, and you will have to adjust your expectations.

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Let’s adjust your Skull and Bones expectations

If you’re expecting something along the lines of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, or a more realistic Sea of Thieves, you’ll be bitterly disappointed. Skull and Bones may have started as a Black Flag spin-off, but it’s now sailing in its different waters and has its own identity.

Shooting Another Player In Skull And Bones
Screenshot: PC Invasion

Many, however, don’t know what kind of game Skull and Bones is going to be, and if you’re going to buy a game, you’ll need to know what to expect from it.

Skull and Bones plays like a Naval Battle simulator

I’ve been playing a lot of the most recent Open Beta for Skull and Bones, and it’s confirmed many things for me. People, myself included, really wanted to explore islands, board enemy ships, and tackle other players in skirmishes upon the seas to live out a realistic pirating fantasy.

This isn’t how Skull and Bones works.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and many will enjoy the game for what it is.

Harvesting Acacia Skull And Bones
Screenshot: PC Invasion

The only time you’ll spend on foot in Skull and Bones is when you’re on an outpost or settlement, a safe haven. You can craft your goods, take contracts, and accessorize your pirate. It’s a social hub with all the facilities you need to progress in the game.

When playing the game, you’ll be exclusively on your ship. Even when harvesting resources, you’ll be on your ship. Every actual gameplay mechanic will have you engaging in PvE fights with other ships or creatures, as PvP isn’t enabled when sailing around the high seas. Thus making it a naval battle simulator with co-op elements.

There are other features, like trade routes and investigations, but they merely serve as repackages for the same sailing that you’ll be spending all of your time doing.

Is the naval combat good?

Considering that naval combat makes up 90% of your playtime, you’d like to think that it’s good. And I can say that it is. Being able to customize your ship with weapons, furniture, and armor to take on the fleets, settlements, or Elite Captain Ships scattered around the seas is fun.

You can tell that Skull and Bones has AC: Black Flag roots when engaging with the enemy, as aiming and shooting are practically the same, with some minor differences.

Each ship is unique enough to make battles dynamic, and being able to perform extra actions like firing muskets and boarding enemy ships allows for a lot of options in combat. Sure, not everything is incredible, but it doesn’t mean that the meat of the game isn’t fun.

Now that you can adjust your expectations for Skull and Bones, why don’t you sign up for the Open Beta and try it yourself?

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