Preview – Skull and Bones – We (Re)saw Ubisoft’s New Hacking Game | xbox one

We can say that Ubisoft Singapore will have taken its time to develop Skull and Bones. Announced in 2017 and passed through our hands during two E3s, the game will finally be released on November 8, 2022 with bigger ambitions. It was during a new private presentation of the game that we were able to discover all the news of Skull and Bones, and we have a lot to tell you.

A game of pirates at sea, but also on land!

When Skull and Bones was announced five years ago, it was all about big sea battles and looting enemy ships. At the time, we enjoyed the game’s gameplay, no doubt inspired by Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag’s sea jousting, but admittedly there was probably something missing from the game to stand out from the crowd. . . This time, it’s official, Skull and Bones will also allow us to land on the islands of the Indian Ocean.

The rumors of the last few months were true. Skull and Bones has upped its game and now has much more varied gameplay than expected. We are immersed in the golden age of piracy, where society imposes rules on us, but where the survivor that we are chooses his own destiny. Between living as a pawn or dying as a pirate, it is obviously the second option that we adopt from the beginning of the game where it all starts with a small boat and his only mischief to make his way through this world of brutes.

Skull and Bones is an open world game (620 km²) that can be played alone or with others, and it is certainly with friends that it should be more interesting to cross swords and go on a treasure hunt. Its launch is scheduled for November 8, 2022 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PS5 and PC. The game is not announced for other platforms or consoles.

The little pirate will become big

The Skull and Bones adventure begins in Sainte-Anne, an island in the Seychelles not so paradisiacal at the time, and that will be our base after a few adventures that allow us to set the stage. Determined to take our lives in hand, it will then be about building a solid reputation in the hope of climbing the ranks among the most renowned pirates in the region.

Because yes, the whole game revolves around this reputation that should be increased to progress. The system is called Infamy and the more experience you earn through various activities, the more your infamy level increases. Keep in mind that there is no story or main quest in Skull and Bones, as Ubisoft has rather described a world where legendary pirates, faction leaders, and other non-player characters (NPCs) rub shoulders with those encountered during the game. our adventures. Our only objective in the game: to make a place for ourselves among the most fashionable pirates in order to unlock new activities, weapons, armor and other cosmetic elements for ourselves or our ship.

Although it can be played alone, Skull and Bones is considered to be a social adventure where cooperation is still necessary to defeat the most dangerous opponents and therefore get the most loot. The phases on land allow you to get contracts and talk to the different characters, but it is the naval combat that remains at the center of the experience. Raising your reputation, building your fleet and forging a quality crew will be essential activities to advance in Skull and Bones and gradually benefit from an increasingly powerful ship. During the presentation we were able to see many possibilities for customization of this, whether it is weapons that we can put on board, armor to strengthen it, large bags to carry more food or purely cosmetic items, there must be an option so that our ship is different from any other.

We started with a small dhow-type sailboat, but progression allows us to acquire other more powerful and/or more maneuverable boats in the future, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Everything is played then between successful or failed maneuvers and the damage caused to the opponents to loot their precious loot. Big guns will obviously be very useful, but we also looked at other offensive gadgets during the presentation. We can therefore cite a rocket launch system or even Greek fire, a particularly effective incendiary mix already seen in the Assassin’s Creed series.

When a naval battle is won, some of the loot goes to us, but some of it falls to the depths of the ocean. To collect maximum loot, it is highly recommended to get close to the enemy ship, an operation that is carried out, unfortunately, through a simple script, and not in real time like in Sea of ​​​​Thieves. If our own ship sinks, we lose what we had, but it is always possible to go back to the battle site to try to recover part of it before the other players.

If you are not interested in PvP (player versus player), know that Ubisoft has planned PvE (player versus environment) only servers for those who wish to enjoy Skull and Bones at their own pace and without necessarily being constantly under threat. people in the game. Each server can have up to 20 real players, but the game world will also be full of other AI players.

A more realistic and lively Sea of ​​Thieves?

Sailing in a huge open world with pirates, customizing your own ship, looting other ships, collecting contracts to earn loot… Comparisons between Skull and Bones and Rare’s Sea of ​​Thieves, released in 2018, are sure to come back with frequency. But if the two games obviously share great commonalities deep down, a few elements set them apart nonetheless.

From what we have seen of Skull and Bones, this seems to us at the moment to be a more realistic and more detailed Sea of ​​​​Thieves in what it offers on screen, a bit like what Assassin’s Creed represents in the adventure game. gender. Aside from the presence of a crew here (mostly there to enhance immersion, as members have no “life” outside the ship), the main difference is that it’s impossible to swim in Skull and Bones, and there’s no underwater world to explore in-game, at least at launch.

For the rest, Ubisoft’s pirate game also offers outposts to exchange and collect cards, or even dynamic events that allow you to recover as much loot as possible, such as reaching a merchant who sails at full speed and with a good escort. Speaking of events, we were also able to witness a fort being sacked from afar, it defending itself with towers and human reinforcements while our cannons fired at regular intervals on the most critical points. Ubisoft complies, a red indicator was displayed at the top of the screen and acted as a progress bar so we know when the looting will end.

The different phases of the game we’ve seen suggest that Skull and Bones is more about action where Sea of ​​Thieves is more about incongruous situations and some skill to have in steering the ship. So even at very low speeds, the ships in Skull and Bones seemed very maneuverable, and it was easy to turn 45 degrees when the ship was almost at a standstill.

Finally, this first look at Skull and Bones reassured us about Ubisoft’s ability to transcribe the atmosphere we envision from a slightly more serious pirate game. The wind blows the sails, the floor creaks and the crew shakes as the waves crash, as one seeks to become the most respected pirate from the shores of East Africa to India. With this new franchise, Ubisoft promises us an unpredictable experience where storms rage, where corporations fight to conquer new territories and where our own crew could sometimes lead us to ruin if we don’t take care of ourselves enough. An adventure that already provides regular post-launch content with dedicated raids and events. We can say that we are looking forward to having it in our hands to discover it in more depth.

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