Skull and Bones, the upcoming naval combat game from Ubisoft, recently held a closed beta where some impressions got out early. The impressions document the first six hours of the game and explain more about what players will be doing in the initial hours of the campaign as well as how progression works (and how long it will take to get to the good stuff). So far, the impressions aren’t great if one closed beta player is to be believed.
Reddit user Less_Tennis5174524 recently uploaded their thoughts about Skull and Bones after playing the first six hours of the closed beta. Since this is a beta, some details and gameplay elements might change but it offers a decent chunk of information that better explains the intricacies of the initial gameplay, naval combat, customisation and more. While no major story spoilers are really discussed, take this as a spoiler warning before you proceed.
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The user first talks about the intro of Skull and Bones. It starts off in a small tutorial area where you’re a surviving crewmate from a pirate ship that gets caught in a storm. Your first hour is spent on a dhow learning how to do missions, fight off sharks and collect resources. To turn in missions, you’ll have to travel to base on land which includes a long loading screen, then another long loading screen to hand in quests. There’s no land combat other than buying cosmetics, which doesn’t amount to much since gameplay is either in first-person or zoomed out.
When you do get to the main meat of the game, you’ll do a few more fetch quests before upgrading to a slightly bigger ship with a crew and cannons. After seemingly taking out defenceless fishing boats and merchant ships, you’ll finally get to naval combat about 2-3 hours into the game. The user notes that it will probably take you around 20-25 hours to acquire a ship that’s about the same size as the one in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
The leak finally touches upon naval combat, likening it to Black Flag with similar gameplay. However, it also notes that progression is slow as it might take you several hours (as mentioned above) to start unlocking more effective ships and cannons.
Overall, the user claims that their experience was grindy and slow, but hopes that it would eventually get fun as the game progresses. They conclude by saying that Skull and Bones feels like a grindy version of Black Flag with few innovations, too many fetch quests and microtransactions.
Skull and Bones has been in development for several years now and has been delayed numerous times. This has caused players to grow concerned about the state of the game and if these impressions are correct, then some fears will be realised when the game launches. Hopefully Ubisoft takes early feedback into account and makes changes before release, as there’s still some potential in its concept that might turn out to be a good sea-faring time.