Microsoft and developer Rare launched Sea of Thieves last night for Windows 10 and Xbox One. After an hour-and-a-half with the final retail build, I’m still not sure how much substance is in the mission structure, but I am having a good time goofing off with my crew and enjoying the gorgeous visuals.

Sea of Thieves has a simple mission structure where you and your fellow pirates grab missions from various factions. One wants you to chase down treasure chests hidden on various islands, while another hires you to hunt down crews of undead skeleton pirates. But a lot of what makes Sea of Thieves fun so far is how you fill in the time between these fetch quests.

And so far, me and my crew have filled that time by trolling one another and goofing off.


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You can see above our mournful dance party/wake. This moment happened not long after I stepped away to get something to drink, only to come back to find my character in the brig and the three other players waiting to taunt me.

Another aspect of Sea of Thieves that has me looking forward to spending more time with it is its beauty. It’s a showcase for Rare’s technical expertise. The physics of the water still makes my jaw drop. Looking up at choppy waves from below the surface shows the forces at work, and bushes and other foliage bristle and part with realistic animation as characters move through them.

What sets Sea of Thieves apart is its attention to detail. During a sunset, you can see the light bounce off puddles of water on the deck of your ship. The sun’s reflection also disperses across the rippling surface like in the real world. Rare’s art design is so detailed that it even includes the green flash phenomenon that happens at the moment the sun goes below the horizon.

I hope Rare has a lot more to this game as I get further into it in terms of quests, but for now, I’m happy to let the visuals and social factor carry me like a wind across the sea.

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