Skull and Bones Desperately Needs Proper Ship Boarding & Sword Combat

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What's The Point Of A Pirate Game Without These Elements?

Story Highlight
  • Skull and Bones lacks the basic elements of a pirate game.
  • The game features ship boarding, but it is limited to a scripted animation.
  • Despite promising the ultimate pirate fantasy, the game also lacks melee combat.

Skull and Bones has been released, but it didn’t receive a positive reception. Ubisoft claimed it would offer an AAAA experience while justifying the $70 price tag. However, the launch does not appear to be anywhere near the promised level of quality.

After spending several hours in the game, I have been gravely disappointed with the overall presentation and mechanics on offer. Despite the many delays, the game is lacking the basic features I expected ten years after Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag.

The biggest disappointment to me is the current lack of sword combat and proper ship boarding.

Why it matters: The on-foot experience in Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag was every bit as important as the naval combat toward the fulfilling experience of reliving the journey of historic pirates.

Ship Boarding Limited To A Basic Animation

After spending several hours in-game, I find it fair to say that the current ship boarding is a joke. Ubisoft has spent more than a decade creating this game, yet it couldn’t manage to add proper ship boarding features.

As of now, you would only see a small animation when boarding an enemy ship. This animation is extremely basic and only lasts a few seconds, eliminating the joy of taking on a rival crew in a heated battle as your own ship continues to rain fire on the vessel.

The worst part about this missing feature is that it was already present in Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag. For a $70 game, I expected features that Ubisoft had already nailed ten years ago.

Ship Combat In Skull and Bones

No Hand-To-Hand Combat Allowed

While Skull and Bones allows you to craft weapons, they cannot be used for combat. Swords for melee combat are not part of the game, cutting another major part of the ultimate pirate fantasy.

What’s the point of a game boasting pirate mechanics when there are no duels with swords? The lack of boarding was one thing, but no hand-to-hand combat means that you essentially play as the ship instead of the pirate in Skull and Bones.

A few NPCs also carry guns, but those are just for looks since you can’t even use guns in-game. Meanwhile, Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag had all these options. I don’t see myself returning to the game unless these features are added, but this would require a fundamental overhaul of the game and its design.

Therefore, I remain skeptical of Ubisoft’s commitment to these mechanics.

From my perspective, the game’s current reception is quite reasonable. Skull and Bones is not a bad game, but it fails to deliver on the basic premise of a multiplayer pirate adventure, landing it between the 4-6/10 range for most critics.

Ubisoft has spent $120 million on the game and believes it has a lot of longevity. At this rate, however, I see these statements aging poorly since keeping players engaged in the live-service market is no easy task.

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