Skull and Bones Review: Adventure on the High Seas

skull and bones review

Skull and Bones Review, Skull and Bones has finally made its way to launch, much like spotting the first indication of land. You might understandably be wary of Ubisoft’s long-brewing pirate game after six separate delays and several different concepts that were forced to walk the plank. However, after spending more than 60 hours hoisting sails and swabbing decks, I’ve had a whole lot of fun playing co-op with friends and strangers alike. 

The 17th-century Indian Ocean functions well as a vast open world to be discovered and plucked, the role-playing game mechanics offer ample opportunity for building a strong alliance with other scurvy dogs, and the naval combat you’ll be involved in for almost all of your time at sea is tactical and consistently enjoyable. 

As expected, there are still several significant problems with always-online games these days, such as a dearth of endgame activities that quickly grow tedious and gritty and performance problems and bugs galore. While Skull and Bones may not be the AAAA Man-of-War that Ubisoft had hoped for, it is already a very respectable live service with a promising start to the year’s worth of planned content.

Skull and Bones – The Complete Timeline

Skull and Bones is somewhat unique in the grand scheme of open-world RPGs in that it gives you direct control of a ship and allows you to sail the ocean while pillaging ports and sending enemy vessels to Davy Jones’ locker in search of loot and infamy. 

Alone or with up to two friends’ ships in a fleet, you’ll gather resources and complete action-packed heists to feed your greed and climb Jacob’s progression ladder as you power up your vessel, which is usually a blast. 

Though it may be tempting to compare this online ocean to Sea of Thieves, Skull and Bones shares more similarities with the Forza Horizon series. They’re both over-the-top, arcadey open-world RPGs in which you play as a vehicle, but instead of racing cars with friends, you’re committing piracy in boats – a SeaRPG to Forza Horizon’s CarPG, assuming the court allows it. 

The laser focus on beautifully intricate maritime gameplay and commodities/economy simulation is delightful most of the time, even if you never get to swing a sword or fire a flintlock, as in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag.

Skull and Bones PC Performance

I played the game on a mid-range PC powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU and an Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060 Ti GPU. Performance was adequate at the highest settings, usually hovering above 60fps for the most part but dipping during CPU-intensive battles. The graphics menu provides a good overview of what each setting changes.

The inclusion of image reconstruction solutions such as DLSS and FSR is excellent, but the 1080p output is slightly softer than I prefer. The game taxes the CPU, so at lower resolutions, you’re probably better off using TAA for anti-aliasing. 

It could look better and isn’t as good as its system requirements suggest. Ray-traced global illumination is a welcome addition that is wasted when only used for your ship, and because you usually play with a wide view, it is not particularly noticeable.

Although the dynamic conditions in the game (such as weather, particle effects, etc.) don’t offer entirely repeatable scenarios, the inclusion of an in-game benchmark is still nice. It does, however, give you a decent idea of what to expect. To give you an idea of how the game plays, here are some system benchmarks (all benchmarks on the “Very High” Preset).

Skull and Bones Review Score & Verdict

Skull and Bones is a disappointing mess that occasionally falls short of what a pirate adventure should offer but mostly delivers the bare minimum. It is hilariously shameful to ask for $70 for something that has everything I’ve come to detest about contemporary AAA gaming.

Conclusion

skull and Bones Review is a fun co-op pirate adventure with tactical naval combat and deep RPG mechanics, despite its many delays. Nevertheless, it has poor performance, glitches, and little interesting endgame content. Although it falls short of Ubisoft’s high standards, the live service game exhibits potential.

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