Why the long-awaited ‘Skull & Bones’ isn’t the successor to ‘Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag’ | games

Game reviewFor ten years, Skull & Bones has been floating rudderlessly in a vast ocean of gaming, but now Ubisoft’s newest member has finally arrived. At first, the game seemed like an extension of the highly acclaimed “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag.” More than a decade later, the game has begun to set sail on its own path, but the pirate ship hasn’t quite survived the rough seas.

For those who don’t remember: 2013 was the year Sony launched the PlayStation 4. It was no coincidence that its perpetual counterpart, the Xbox One, debuted around that time as well. Grand Theft Auto V won the Game of the Year award. During the same period, titles such as “The Last of Us,” “Super Mario 3D World,” “Gran Turismo 6,” and “Rayman Legends” were released. And you probably also channeled your inner Jack Sparrow that year when playing “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.” Just to clarify how long it’s been since the “Skull & Bones” concept was released.

© Ubisoft

We had to dig deep to find the pirate eyepatch, but then we were willing to brave the rough seas with a game that initially advertised itself as a sort of successor to Black Flag. Skull & Bones is set in the Indian Ocean at the end of the 17th century. Colonial times, when ships carrying goods sailed to and from. The perfect place for a good pirate adventure, you might think…

Ubisoft
© Ubisoft

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Everything revolves around your ship

It is unfortunate that we are still thirsty in this regard. Skull & Bones is not a simulation of pirate life. It’s more than just a shipping-focused game. Instead of controlling a very stereotypical pirate with a wooden leg and a parrot named Polly, we spend the entire time at the head of a ship and have only a few simple dialogues. You can even say that we would rather play with the ship than with the pirate.

Ubisoft
© Ubisoft

In the game you’ll find two large hubs where you can dock, but outside of that there’s not much to do when you’re not on your ship. Most missions don’t require you to leave your ship, and there’s not much to explore. Considering the legacy of “Assassin’s Creed,” this is of course unfortunate.

Ubisoft
© Ubisoft

For those who enjoy naval combat, this may be good news. Combat is certainly not poorly designed, with many options to equip your ship with weapons. Since the game focuses on the online gaming experience, you can have a good time with other players. There’s even a cannon that doesn’t cause damage, but actually repairs damaged ships. It feels a bit strange, and it says a lot about the strange path this game seems to take sometimes.

Ubisoft
© Ubisoft

Entertaining but simple battles

Combat itself is fairly simple, especially for a game that makes this its primary activity. Still, it’s nice to blast your enemies to bits, and the combat is definitely fun. You have a wide arsenal of weapons to choose from, and for those who want to customize their ship, there are also many design options. The only question is whether this is enough for “Skull & Bones” to meet the high expectations of every landowner. There are lovely notes in it, but it all seems rather thin.

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Ubisoft
© Ubisoft

This brings us to the story of this game. In “Skull and Bones” this seems to be a side issue. Every now and then you learn something about pirate life, but adventure is hard to find. This also means that the game doesn’t have much to offer if you play alone. You need other players to fully enjoy the experience. If they’re not there, you’ll soon feel like pulling the plug.

Ubisoft
© Ubisoft

Conclusion: 6/10

Do you enjoy modifying ships and experimenting with weapons? Then the game “Skull & Bones” will provide you with hours of fun. Are you looking for more content or are you a long-time “Assassin’s Creed” fan? Then we recommend taking a different course. More than ten years after the launch of this concept, we have to conclude that time has somewhat stopped. We may have found this game an enjoyable introduction in 2013 with a new PS4 or Xbox One, but in 2024 our expectations are higher.

Ubisoft
© Ubisoft

Specifically, because these expectations may have been incorrectly set, we still give the game a six out of ten. The battles are simple, but still engaging. In fact, “Skull & Bones” feels like a basic game that needs to have additional components added to it to give it some excitement. Let this be the conclusion: Back to the drawing board with “Skull & Bones” and hopefully it won’t take ten years to come back with a better, more mature hacking game. In the meantime, we’ll put our eyepatch away again. Yo hoo yo hoo…

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Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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