Sea of Thieves : Thoughts

Sea of Thieves – since it was first announced it had my attention, but I was slightly concerned that would be it different enough than everything else out there to get people interested, and hold their interest.

Well, since the game had its Final Beta this weekend and I can reveal more info and a video (all previous Beta’s etc were under a NDA), I’m happy to announce its looking damn good and a lot of fun.

Graphics – wow. I have not seen such amazing water physics in a game. GTA5 water was good, but this takes it 5 steps further. The water looks real, acts real, and when light hits it, it reacts how it would in the real world. The main ship and character graphics look like they’ve been ripped from Team Fortress 2 due to their artistic style, but are very well animated. Their simple looking but very effective. Everything is very smooth and clear. Now, most games of this ilk, if you go under water, you’re either looking at fairly bland scenery or just cant see the bottom – not so here. When you’re near an island, the water is teeming with life and color.

Sound – everything that can move, has a sound effect attached to it – sails, ropes, wood, when people moving around on deck while you’re below, you can hear their footsteps etc. Music is played in a similar fashion to Red Dead Redemption – a small bit of background music will come on occasionally. If you like your sailing to be a bit more noisy, then you can select one of two period correct instruments and start playing one of 3 pieces of music (Ride of The Valkyries while chasing an enemy boat is awesome) and if one of your fellow crew decides to pull out a musical instrument at the same time, you both play the same piece giving the music a more complete sound.

Gameplay – very simplistic and yet effective. Switch between a sword and a pistol/rifle/shotgun quickly, access various other equipment such as buckets (needed when you’re taking on water), banana’s (for energy), lanterns (to see) and other options. When you encounter an enemy ship, thats when the game really kicks in, you can either attempt to get away by angling your sails with the winds for maximum speed, or fight it out – either with cannons, or just ram the other ship and board them.

When you die, you end up on The Ferry of the Damned, a ghost ship where you must wait a couple of minutes before being able to spawn back into the game.

If you are left behind by your crew, or fall overboard, you can spawn back on board courtesy of the friendly mermaid/mermen who appear.

Overall, this game is looking to be a lot of fun, with crew not working together (oi who’s steering/fixing the ship/bailing water), firing yourself out of a cannon to board ships or get to hard to get to places, getting drunk in game together and so on. I’m on board for it and hope to purchase the full game on the 20th when its released.

I have had someone ask if its a grinding game etc like WoW/Guild Wars etc – not really, depends how you want to play it. There are quests and treasure maps, to give you money to buy better gear, but honestly, I think if you were just in it for the ship battles and exploring, then you’ll be happy as a fish in the sea.

Now, for those on older systems thinking “crap, Ill need a graphics card/CPU update”, fear not. Its well optimized and runs nicely on my system (specs below) which is considered “crap” by many 😉

Intel Pentium G3258, 8GB DDR3, Zotac AMP! Edition 760GTX (2GB), Kingston SSD.

Rare have done an amazing job on this game, and I look forward to playing it.

 

LPL GT Sport New Zealand Champs

I was lucky enough to be given a ticket (thanks to Geekzone founder, @freitasm) to attend the LPL GT Sports NZ Champs final held at Sky City last night.

To be honest, I have not followed anything to do with GT since I got an Xbox One, so didn’t know what to expect or know any of the drivers.

SkyTV were there broadcasting event live, which while is great for LPL, was a bit annoying for the live audience having cameramen standing in front of the drivers during interviews etc – but hey, we got to be on TV 😉

Now,a lot of people go “why treat this like a real sport, you just push the other drivers off the track and you win” – well, no, there are penalty systems in the game to penalize bad driving practises such as shunting and cutting corners, which adds time to the drivers lap, so even though they could be in 1st place, they may end up with a 5s penalty which actually pushes them back to 3rd place at the end. So being a good driver pays off.

Race conditions : 25 laps, 8 drivers, Bathurst.

The race itself started off with a bang, literally – 4 drivers including the #1 seed, ran off the track at the first corner due to an accidental shunt. After that the race was pretty consistent and quiet….. until the last five laps where some great driving started coming into play with late braking, slip streaming and good old side by side drag racing down Conrod straight at 300km+.

One thing I found very annoying, was one of the commentators (or “shoutcasters” as they were referred to), kept mentioning the speeds the drivers were doing as KPH when it was clearly showing as MPH – who has ever heard of a 500HP GTR doing 80kph around Bathurst corners ? 😉

It was a good event overall, and with more publicity, I can see them filling out the Sky City venue next time round. Some giveaways might have been good as well for the live audience (hint hint) 😉

LPL GT Sports NZ Championships Final