Skull and Bones PS5 Review – Take Over the High Seas in This Authentic Pirating Adventure


Skull and Bones PS5 Review

After six separate delays, Skull and Bones has finally found its way to release. Several different concepts were made to walk the plank before Ubisoft finally brought us the long-awaited release.

Set mainly around the 17th century Indian Ocean, this online RPG defiantly feels like a lot of fun to play, or at least it did until you delve a little deeper..

Skull and Bones PS5 Review

Skull and Bones PS5 Review – Yo Ho Ho and away we go.

Skull and Bones PS5 Review
Skull and Bones PS5 Review

So, when you do delve a little deeper into the game it does start to feel a lot like playing Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag when you are controlling your ship through the treacherous waters. The physics and battles are very, very familiar. This is not such a bad thing on the surface, but it does start to wear and get a little monotonous after a few hours. The problem is that sailing your ship takes up 80% of the game whilst being on land completing some basic quests take up the other 20%.

When it comes to open world RPG games, Skull and Bones is quite unique in the grand scheme of things as there are very few that I can think of set on open water. The game requires an online connection as you will see other users pillaging on the high seas at the same time as you. You can set sail alone easily or can also team up with two friends to create a small fleet of ships. The game gives you the chance to upgrade your ships as well as the weapons that you carry and use, but to do this you will need to reap the spoils of plundering other ships which can get very repetitive fast.

All that being said, this naval based RPG does play a lot better than I was expecting. The start of the game can feel a little underwhelming especially when you are given your first ship, but once you get used to being able to upgrade as well as unlocking and building even better ships to suit your playstyle the naval combat does become quite fun and well thought through. The challenge starts when you start to attack higher levelled areas of the game.

Skull and Bones PS5 Review – Why is the rum always gone?

Skull and Bones PS5 Review

One major issue I found with the game is the lack of a real storyline to it. There is one there that focusses on two NPC’s which steer you toward a few missions thanks to some questionable dialogue. After a few of the said conversations the game will come to a boss fight against a tough boat and then they basically tell you to get lost and go and do your own thing. There are other NPC’s that you will encounter along the way, but these serve as nothing more than vendors and minor quest dispensers.

In Skull and Bones, your attention is directed toward the constant combat on the high seas. Blasting through enemy ships, grabbing the loot dropped and constantly upgrading. Yes, these battles do start to involve some strategy as well as co-operation from other player ships in the area at the time and a good aim. As an example of this when you start trying out the higher levelled areas, you may want to focus your build for toughened close range attacks and have your friends builds deal damage from a distance. I certainly struggled going in headfirst on my own until I realised it would make sense to go in in numbers.

Skull and Bones PS5 review – The boring stuff

Skull and Bones PS5 Review

Well, I say the boring stuff, but you do need to upgrade and build new ships. Crafting these new ships and trying out different builds on them does start to become quite fun and compelling. You will never have the perfect build! This is because when you think you do have an ideal attack vessel you can some come across new blueprints for your defences or attacking cannons and then it’s off to the next area of the world to attack enemy fleets to plunder the items needed to build these upgrades. Also, the vendors can harbour new schematics which will need certain items to unlock. The possibilities do feel endless to a certain degree.

It can take hours to gain the items needed to unlock some items, but the rewards do feel fun. One of the best pieces of kit to attack your enemies with is without doubt the mortar. This gives you the chance to rain down hellfire from the skies on enemy ships. It does feel like calling in an airstrike in a more modern game and the visual results are stunning.

In the later stages you can unlock some items that do feel like they don’t belong in the 17th century such as a flamethrower that fires deadly blue flames to burn other ships to the depths and rocket launchers that fire numerous projectiles to devastating effect but for me I would rather have authenticity to a game like this. Others will probably love these items.

Skull and Bones PS5 Review – It’s a sailor’s life for me.

Skull and Bones PS5 Review

Throughout the map you will come across Trade Routes and after a while on the High Seas you will start to understand these more. These show the supply and demand throughout the world and adds an interesting economy management tough to the game. After the game you will gain access to the Black Market via the helm of your ship rather than visiting NPC’s. This is a way to be able to build and manage underworld businesses by creating your own Trade Routes to be able to deliver embargoed goods such as Opium. Of course, this is a great way to line your deep pockets.

Skull and Bones PS5 Review

This gives a slight management sim addition to the game buying low in one place and selling high in another trading both legal and illegal items. Later in the game you can capture coastal towns forcing them to start manufacturing your items to sell. The thing is that to add settlements to your own collection you will need to take part in Skull and Bones PvP events, and these don’t appear until later in the game. The problem here is that during these events, game crashes become a lot more frequent, and your hard-fought gains will be lost forever, something that is extremely annoying and needs addressing.

Skull and Bones PS5 Review – Endgame

Skull and Bones does feel like a follow on to Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag in a lot of places, but it does stand apart from that series of games in its own right which will disappoint those who were hoping for a tie-in of some sort. The game we have been given is surprisingly good if not a little repetitive. It doesn’t live up to what Ubisoft promised us along the way, but that is easy to see why when they scrapped so many ideas that were under way.

Sailing around the Indian Ocean firing at enemy ships with your upgraded weapons and ships can make you feel like the king of the world but outside of the seas there isn’t much else involved. With little story to mention and a rather quick endgame a lot of people will feel like they have been plundered of a decent game that this could have been.

AIR Entertainment



Story - 7
Gameplay - 7
Graphics - 9
Sound - 9

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