Skull and Bones Review: It’s a pirate’s life, but not for me

Yo-ho and I just need a little bit more.

The Golden Age of Pirates is alive in video games, but it doesn't really shine in Skull and Bones. It has its moments, but they are tarnished by the fact that the game just feels incomplete—especially if you compare it to other pirate games.

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Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

The World of Skull and Bones is huge. From Patamyar Mountains to Lake Bwawa, there are so many places that you can explore. Or that's what it looks like at first glance. The game starts off promising, letting me explore the Sainte-Anne outpost and then the sunken Exeter. Both seemed very limited, with Exeter almost fully empty of anything to interact with other than the cannons. Instead of asking me to explore the shipwreck, the game could have just asked me to take a walk.

Related: All Commodities in Skull & Bones and how to get them

Visually, it's a very stunning game. I loved customizing my ships. I gasped the first time I stepped on the beach in Kaa Mangrove. It is so beautiful that I was in photo mode for a lot of my playtime. The problem with the world of Skull and Bones is that it is visually appealing but lacks depth. Almost every aspect could have been better with just a bit more added to it. And we've seen other games do it, so it's quite confusing as to why Skull and Bones didn't do the same.

World: 3/5


Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

I enjoyed the sailing quite a bit, and if I hadn't been afraid of getting destroyed by other ships, it would have been a lovely voyage on the sea. I also enjoyed the sea shanties of the crew, as it really set the mood for the sailing. However, I didn't like that you were stuck at the helm and weren't able to explore your ship at all. It felt like I wasn't part of the crew.

When it comes to exploring, I was very grateful for the Codex in Skull and Bones. With so many islands to visit and oceans to navigate, it really isn't feasible to go on the hunt for Blueprints and materials without any help whatsoever. The fact that I could select a material, and it would show up on my map even in areas that I haven't explored yet, was extremely helpful.

I was the least impressed by the battles in Skull and Bones. When I think of pirates, I think of pillaging and boarding ships, fighting with my crew for the treasures of the enemy. Instead, I got a cannon fight that felt more like I was shooting a gun in an FPS and a cutscene when you board the enemy ship. While boarding does give you more loot, I didn't even see the point of doing it after the fifth time I watched the cutscene. I'd rather watch the ship sink, thanks.

Gameplay: 2/5


Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

To make up for a lot of empty space and the inability to get off at any beach I want, the game does have a lot of things to do. Apart from the main story contracts, there are side contracts, investigations, and treasure hunting, which I've enjoyed the most. The Sea Merchant and I have a special connection, and I'll find any and all Sea Relics she wants me to find.

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Other than contracts, you can start Investigations and take up Bounty hunting from the board in Sainte-Anne. The bounty hunting was definitely enjoyable, and I loved the challenge, though I did bite off more than I could chew quite a few times. Sometimes, just brute strength isn't the answer; you have to come up with strategies. I definitely wouldn't have been a Captain if I had been a pirate in real life.

Quest: 4/5


Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

There are a lot of crafting options in Skull and Bones, from ships to tools and weapons. You'll need Blueprints for a lot of these, which is where the Codex comes into play. It will give you clues about where you can find them, which I appreciate since I don't want to be on a wild blueprint chase. The same goes for materials that I need to collect. This adds a fun and challenging aspect to the crafting, never knowing if I will make it back to a safe port with all of my loot.

However, I didn't particularly enjoy the harvesting mini-games, either for materials or when checking and unlocking shipwrecks. It just felt like a poor replacement for what it could have been, which is actually getting off the ship onto the beach, collecting, and exploring. I enjoy survival games and don't mind chopping down a tree or two; I do mind sitting on the ship for most of the game and somehow magically collecting the materials I need.

Combat: 3.5/5


I did enjoy playing Skull and Bones, especially at the start. However, my issue was that I had the most fun in those moments when I didn't remember that there were other pirate games. Skull and Bones has been in development for a long time, and we all just expected a lot more from it. For now, my Jolly Roger isn't flying, but maybe it will again in the future.

If you want to know where to go in the game, check out all Skull and Bones Map Points of Interest on Pro Game Guides.

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About the Author

Hristina has been a full-time Staff Writer at Pro Game Guides since October 2023. She has a Master's degree in English Language, Literature and Culture from the University of Belgrade. She's used her love of English to write blogs, anime quizzes, books as well as work as a Content Editor before starting at PGG. She lives for the horror genre and you'll often find her playing Dead by Daylight, Lethal Company, and Phasmophobia. Hristina's comfort games are Outlast, Last of Us, and Until Dawn, which she has played or watched other people play more than 10 times each.

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Skull and Bones Review: It’s a pirate’s life, but not for me

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